How CREs Are Saving Costs with Flexible Workplaces

by Glenn Hicks on January 24, 2018

In today’s unpredictable financial climate, enterprises no longer have the luxury of updating their operations when it’s the most convenient for the business. Reactivity simply isn’t an option; being proactive, and using flexible workplaces, is the only way an organization can hope to be successful.

CBRE’s 2017 Global Occupier Survey Report demonstrates how corporate real estate leaders (CREs) have begun to embrace this paradigm shift by concentrating more on space agility and less on space efficiency. Specifically, CREs are moving away from traditional office environments and toward flexible workplaces.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the insights from CBRE’s report.

An Emphasis on Agile, Flexible Workplaces

In CBRE’s 2016 report, nearly 80 percent of CREs claimed space efficiency was the key to cost management. However, in 2017, this number dropped dramatically, to just below 60 percent.

Based on CBRE’s data, many CREs have shifted their focus away from space efficiency strategies, such as redesigning the workplace and reducing space occupancy. Instead, it seems as if respondents are researching other opportunities in their portfolio to improve cost-effectiveness – specifically, space agility.

Forty percent of participants are actively pursuing space agility as a way to minimize risk in their real estate portfolios. In the face of an unpredictable future, CREs desire a way to quickly and confident make decisions regarding space utilization.

Creating A Flexible Workplace

In order to achieve flexible workplaces and decrease operational risks, CREs have begun adopting agility in three main categories:

  • Leasing structures. CREs are negotiating for shorter lease terms as well as additional flexibility regarding renewals.
  • Workplace design. Companies have begun implementing activity-based working environments.
  • Workplace offerings. Organizations are offering various desking options such as a traditional office and coworking spaces.

The appeal of the shared workplace is growing. It offers businesses inherent flexibility, and most CREs expect their company to increase the use of shared workplaces by 2020. Of the five categories of flexible workplaces included in CBRE’s report (overall shared workplace, service/furnished offices, innovation center, coworking space and business incubuator or accelerator), serviced offices and coworking spaces are the most widely used and rank first and second, respectively. However, by 2020, the use of coworking spaces is expected to surpass that of serviced offices.

While 45 percent of CREs cited reducing costs as the primary reason they planned on adopting a shared workspace strategy, 41 percent reported their motivation was a need for increased flexibility in leasing terms.

However, despite the large percentage of respondents claiming their interest in a shared workplace strategy is motivated by a desire for flexibility, “Cost will still influence real estate decisions,” according to Ada Choi, Senior Director, Asia Pacific Research at CBRE.

The key to effectively reducing costs and increasing workplace flexibility is with real estate management software. Real estate management software consolidates all of the necessary tools CREs need – including lease management, space utilization data and space management – into one flexible, mobile platform.

Learn more about how iOFFICE’s real estate management software can help your organization save costs and work more efficiently.


Glenn Hicks

A member of the Business Development team, Glenn has years of experience with business process improvement on the Commercial Real Estate and Facilities Management sides.

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