Monday 24 October 2016

Space on Demand research

Workspace of your own . . . wherever you are . . . whenever you need it. Office space for your company . . . wherever you are . . . by tomorrow. Meeting space . . . wherever you are . . . this afternoon. This is space on demand. Workspace becomes a service, not a property transaction.

Coworkspaces and ‘space matchmaker apps’ could revolutionise the way in which office workspaces are accessed and used. This is one of the main findings from a new British Council for Offices research report “Space on Demand” launched last week. AMA’s Alexi Marmot led the research project and presented its conclusions at WeWork’s South Bank office.

‘Space matchmaker apps’ and ‘space on demand’ (terms coined by the authors) describe a growing set of technology applications and platforms that match people seeking space to spaces seeking people. 

‘Space on Demand’ reviews the growth of both coworkspace and space matchmaker apps, and examines the underlying reasons for their growth. The report identifies the scale of change to date and identifies the impact of space on demand for property investors and developers, for urban planners, corporate occupiers and office space users.

One million people are predicted to be members of coworking spaces globally by 2018. The rise of coworking can be explained by growing demand for office space coupled with the power and ubiquity of digital tools and data, and the rise in flexible working.

Coworkspace is a way for companies to outsource their requirements for space, infrastructure and its management. It often comes bundled with other services. Sociability, connection with others, flexibility, and a cool, non-corporate atmosphere, design and layout are all part of the appeal and the marketing.

Matchmaker apps allow customers to find and book space and operators to manage the space. They also help coworkers in a particular community to engage with one another for business or social reasons.

The report argues that these are disruptive innovations. Companies providing digital platforms that enable peer-to-peer exchanges are, in some cases, outstripping traditional market leaders. The potential benefits of better using property resources, and reducing time and energy wasted in unnecessary commuting, are profound. Yet the sustainability benefits offered by coworkspaces and space matchmaker apps have been little noticed or understood.

Alexi's presentation was followed by a lively panel discussion featuring Cal Lee of Savills, Nigel Fuller from Legal & General and Leesman's Chris Moriarty, ably chaired by Steve Lang of Savills.

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