The Changing Face and Hybridisation of Serviced Offices in London

London office market skyline

In the face of tight availability and consistently increasing demand for serviced offices in London, all the signs suggest that this corner of the commercial property market is set to continue its impressive upward swing.

Trends in the Market of Serviced Offices in London

In 2015, we learned that the market of serviced offices in London has expanded by a massive 67% over the past decade. Add to that, research by Savills revealed “a significant rise in the number of serviced offices in traditional and prime central business locations”, citing 288% rise in take-up by serviced office providers across Central London compared with the long-term average in 2014. Meanwhile, take-up for Q1 2015 alone equalled that of the whole of 2013.

All this points to a very healthy outlook for the industry of serviced offices in London. But just like every successful and fast-growing market, change is afoot.

One of the most notable trends we’ve seen over the past few years is that of co-working, which has taken the flexible work space sector by storm. Co-working spaces are typically vibrant, shared open-plan offices featuring various desk and work space configurations to accommodate freelancers, startups and mobile workers on flexible gym-style memberships.

We Work Bishopsgate serviced offices in London

Of course co-working isn’t for everyone, and it’s generally not considered a long-term solution.

A Hybridisation of Serviced Offices in London

Companies habitually outgrow their co-working spaces and move on, often to serviced offices in London. As a result, we’ve seen a distinct ‘hybridisation’ of spaces, as many traditional serviced office operators have threaded co-working-style work space options and memberships into their office space packages to offer greater variety for their clients.

This ‘hybridisation’ of serviced offices in London is flourishing and it’s all centred around the growing need for work space flexibility.

Tagwright House serviced offices in London Shared Space

But we’re not just talking about freelancers and small businesses. Flexibility has become a top priority in businesses of all sizes, from funded startups and growing SMEs right through to FTSE 100 firms, triggering many large-scale corporates to house project teams in serviced offices in London and even co-working spaces.

What’s driving this trend? A combination of factors, including high demand for commercial property in London and subsequent tightening of availability in the most sought-after locations. That, plus a thriving startup scene in London that’s creating new ‘hot spots’ – think Tech City and Silicon Roundabout – which is in turn developing its own startup ecosystem.

Writing for Workplace Insight, Paul Goodchild commented that co-working “thrives particularly where there are clusters of start up businesses“, particularly TMT (telecoms, media and technology) startups, and goes so far as to suggest that “the new world capital of co-working may well be London“.

Coinciding with this is the latest Global Coworking Survey by DeskMag, just released, which boldly claims: “This is the year we’ll see over 10,000 co-working spaces open by the end of 2016.” In addition, the report claims that 62% of co-working owners want to expand their spaces this year, suggesting that the co-working market has plenty of mileage left in the tank.

Serviced Offices in London Become a Second Home

It’s not just co-working that’s taking the flexible work space market by storm; it’s the way companies approach office space that’s changing dramatically, too.

Serviced offices in London have become a place not just to work, but also to live and play.

As noted by Alistair Subba Row in Property Week (29th January), businesses of all shapes and sizes are looking for spaces that accommodate not just work space, but “in-between spaces” for cafes, lounges and meeting areas designed to encourage collaboration and knowledge-sharing between staff. He cites flexible office providers The Office Group, Workspace Group and WeWork as current examples of how operators are challenging how we perceive and utilise serviced offices in London.

Wimpole Street serviced offices in London Relaxing Space

The death of the fixed office has been grossly exaggerated,” he wrote, “but it is no longer simply where we go to perform our jobs: it is a hub where we can meet, speak and share ideas. Talent cannot thrive in isolation. The best ideas originate through the collision of thoughts, viewpoints and personal communication. The office serves as the laboratory where these innovative ‘chemical reactions’ can occur.

Large firms are re-designing their work spaces to reflect these needs, while smaller companies and startups are turning to serviced offices in London and co-working spaces for their collaborative fix and clash of ideas. It’s no wonder the London serviced office scene is changing to reflect these needs. It’s not just positive change, it’s evolution in the works.

If you want to be a part of this exciting new landscape, contact the team at LondonOffices on +44 (0) 203 826 8139 for help finding the perfect serviced offices in London.

Whether you’re looking for office space that’s fit for a startup, short-term project space or a longer-term corporate solution, contact us for free expert advice on serviced and managed work space in London.

Image source: Rob Bye, London