Shared workspaces not just for Millennials

shared workspaces photo

by Dan Rafter

Shared workplaces can help companies save a significant amount of money, especially in the priciest office markets in the country. Because of this, commercial real estate brokers should expect more of their clients to at least investigate office-sharing.

Those are the findings from a recent report from CBRE Group, a report that helps debunk several myths about shared workspaces and about which companies rely on them.

As the report says, shared workspaces aren’t just for entrepreneurs and small tech businesses. The users of shared workspaces aren’t just millennials who have recently graduated from college. The CBRE report says, too, that shared workspaces aren’t always priced at premium levels, either.

“There are a number of ways large occupiers can use shared workspaces to meet their needs,” said Julie Whelan, head of occupier research for the Americas for CBRE. “Contemporary shared workplaces can be powerful tools to enhance the culture and values of an organization. Whether it be to promote innovative thinking or access a better work experience for employee retention, contemporary shared workspaces offer diverse ways to support the needs of occupiers of all sizes.”

Many users mistakenly believe that the rents at co-working spaces are higher than those attached to traditional office space. But the CBRE report said that co-working spaces can actually be quite cost-effective. The report cites the example of a 10-person office space in Washington, D.C. According to CBRE’s numbers, companies using shared workplaces can save more than 15 percent when compared to traditional office leases.

CBRE reports that the average annual cost for a 10-seat requirement in a co-working space is from $52,000 to $84,000. For traditional leased space that annual cost ranges from $72,000 to $92,000.

Co-working spaces also don’t cater only to small businesses and start-ups. A recent CBRE survey of large global occupiers found that more than 40 percent of respondents are using or considering shared workplaces, with a small but growing segment focused on co-working specifically.

“Co-working spaces give optionality in location and flexibility in lease term, while also embracing a more progressive approach to design,” said Lenny Beaudoin, senior managing director of workplace strategy for CBRE. “Their focus is on integrating what’s new and cool — inspiring common areas and sought-after amenities — with highly functional space to get work done.”

The CBRE report also quotes Chris Wally, an occupier service specialist in the Kansas City market, who says that a growing number of users in this Midwest region are seeking shared workspaces.

“Current workplace design trends increasingly mimic the design of shared workplaces,” Wally said. “Initially, it was a solution driven by needing space immediately. But shared workplaces have become increasingly attractive to clients who realize that the mission of a business unit may actually be enhanced by locating in a shared workplace.”

Don’t believe that the only workers who are thriving in shared workplaces are young, either. CBRE found that about 63 percent of users in shared workspaces were 31 to 50, with a median age of 40.

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