The months of confinement and the new security and social distancing measures have cast doubt on this model. However, experts believe that ‘coworking’ will continue to grow in Spain.
Coworking and flex spaces have been experiencing significant growth in Spain for several years. The arrival of the pandemic and measures of social distancing have questioned this office model based on open spaces, shared areas and job rotation.
However, the experts who have participated in the online Observatory Office Market: everything is transformed, promoted by BNP Paribas Real Estate and ESCP Business School, they assure that the model will continue to grow strongly in our country and could even come out stronger from the crisis .
In recent months we have experienced a rather complicated situation: At the billing level, this crisis has greatly impacted all operators, both large and small, which unfortunately many could disappear.
Until now. the meeting rooms are not used and there are no reservations for the coming months. In addition, the common areas have had to be severely restricted and the spaces have had to be rehabilitated.
But despite the new situation and the challenges they must face in the day-to-day business from now on, flexible spaces and coworking will continue to grow. Surely from the last quarter it will grow again, since it is a very attractive solution to uncertainty.
In the market, it is heard that there may be a certain reduction in the growth of these companies, but really, it is thought that it is a sector that is going to grow a lot.
Companies will continue to have their headquarters, but they will have to make it compatible with flex offices. The introduction of teleworking during the months of confinement has meant that companies have seen, during these months, that it is perfectly possible for their employees to work from home in an efficient way but, in the future, it is not believed that we are working from our houses. There will be a very important flexibility in office hours and also in spaces, and the flex office sector can provide tremendous flexibility by providing meeting and work points for employees closest to their homes.
Coexistence of both models.
More than competition from the great traditional office owners, you have to be partners. Even getting to work together and do joint ventures. Certain teams are going to be made much more flexible and people are going to be given more options to work, not only to work at home, but also to telework in other locations. This flexibility cannot be offered by a traditional office headquarters that has a single location. It is about contributing to the business market: multi-location, immediacy and flexibility.
The offices will continue to be necessary, but they will be a space to share and to humanize the relationship with colleagues.
We will continue to use long-term offices in those cities that need it and in countries where we are in a phase of implementation or high growth we will continue to use coworking. The models will coexist as they have existed until now.
We are a digital solutions company and, therefore, we already came with a very technological culture, because the truth is that this goes from the culture of each company.
The offices will continue to be necessary, but I think they will be a space to share and to humanize the relationship with colleagues. In the offices of the future there will be more common spaces and fewer tables, there will be no reduction in square meters, but there will be a transformation of that space to meet new needs.
Everything will be used on demand, so the buildings must have high connectivity and sensorization. People will go to the office at times and will have to warn, so that buildings can be opened by areas and consume less energy and resources, closing spaces that are not being used at that time. The future of offices involves highly technological buildings, highly modular and in which shared and different spaces can be defined.
In fact, that future is no longer so distant, since this type of digital transformation tools has been requested. This trend is unstoppable, it is a digital transformation and also the work model, since digitizable workers will be able to do part of their work at home, in offices or in coworking spaces. The digital worker model can also generate important advantages for the employee and also for companies. In an assumption in which an employee works three days from home and two days from the office, a 60% reduction in the physical presence of this employee in the offices is being generated. In addition, these workers would be saving two hours a day in transportation and on time, which in a 40-hour workday is a 15% reduction, which would increase productivity and also birth rates.
Flexibility, in addition to schedules and offices, is also expected in contracts. It is still early to know what will happen, but it is true that more and more companies have difficulties in defining what their real and medium-term real estate needs are.
Before, contracts were rigid, but after the 2008 crisis we have learned to make negotiations with an owner more flexible, with measures that did not exist in Spain in the past, such as deficiencies, contributions to the establishment of companies. Before Covid, we saw difficulties for companies in defining their real estate needs in a period of more than five years. Now they are not clear that their current contracted area is correct and they cannot define what it will be, in the long term, so it is possible that we will see some flexibilities that go in that direction, in flexibilizing mandatory contracts.
However, this flexibility in some cases meets an important barrier, financing: rental contracts are usually rigid, because there is a debt behind that the owner has to pay, and this debt is usually rigid and it is what is not allows flexibility of contracts. But how could the contracts be given greater elasticity ?: By imposing a minimum income, to satisfy this debt and a variable part, which would be the premium that the shareholders would take.
At a time like the present, rents can be accommodated and renegotiated. But the truth is that companies continue to need offices and we are focused on that section of the market where not as much flexibility is needed.
With a fairly obsolete office park in both Madrid and Barcelona, ??the commitment of developers to the development of new buildings and the comprehensive rehabilitation of buildings is key to being able to meet the new demands of tenants and large corporations, which since a few years ago they have drawn up global implementation plans based on efficiency targets. New projects are a clear opportunity for the market. Companies are becoming more aware and want to be in offices with certifications that demonstrate their efficiency.
All the new projects that we see in the market are in line with the trends and, also now, they have the opportunity to adapt to the new post-Covid demand. These developments will not have occupancy problems, although obsolete buildings will have more difficulties in absorbing the meters that are empty.