Will the flexible office sector continue to flex its muscles?

The flexible office sector has certainly been in the headlines in recent times, with news following the travails of WeWork, one of the largest players in the sector and the largest private sector office tenant in both London and New York.

This latest barrage of news began with question marks over WeWork’s valuation, culminating in the resignation of co-founder and chief executive Adam Neumann, and then news that plans for an IPO have now been scrapped.

But is this a sign of wider problems and is the flexible office sector now losing some of its clout?

Our view is not yet, but like any sector in commercial property, the flexible office market needs to remain clearly focused on the financials, market demand and the changing needs of tenants.

The growth figures for flexible work spaces remain impressive, with reports that the sector made up over a third of commercial property transactions in London last year, despite only representing around 6% of the total office supply in the capital. Looking nationwide, there are now reportedly over 6,000 flex space centres across the UK. These include co-working, serviced offices and hybrid centres that offer both private offices and shared working, accounting for more than 85 million square feet of the UK office market.

As the London market and indeed other major cities have become more saturated, flexible office players have been looking further afield for opportunities. This is an area we have been working in, recently securing office sites in towns across the South East on behalf of a client.

From a location perspective, the higher office rents (and desk rates) of UK major cities are seeing businesses of all sizes look at alternative locations across the country, the vast majority of which are currently under-served by flex space providers. This is now being fully recognised by providers, with the UK’s regional flexible office market now one of the fastest growing in the world, according to recent research by Instant Group.

We are seeing this on the ground and expect flexible providers to continue to seek new opportunities in potential growth locations across the UK, focusing on high quality buildings, with good parking and close to local amenities.

For these smaller cities and towns, the favourable commercial terms and growing demand for flexibility mean that there are still many unearthed opportunities for providers to capitalise on.

What Our Clients Say

“For my demanding and often complex clients, high professional standards from my trusted network are mandatory, but James and his team really do consistently offer flexibility, speed and crucially additional emotional intelligence. A pleasure to engage and include in my client work”
Jeremy Hill
Senior Private Banker, SG Kleinwort Hambros Bank Limited
“In a short timescale De Villiers were able to secure a very competitive deal in some excellent offices at one of the best building at Canary Wharf"
Mark Iannotti
Director, Savannah Petroleum Plc
“The fit out at Croxley Gateway on our new HQ was completed on time and we were very pleased with the senior and highly responsive service that De Villiers provided”
Michael Lee
Property Manager, Beko
“De Villiers have always been very approachable. They offer everything a lender could expect from a firm of chartered surveyors – and that little bit extra, too”
Mark Posniak
Managing Director, Octane Capital Limited
"I have found De Villiers Commercial to be very knowledgeable and professional. We started working with them in 2015 and they now manage all of our real estate matters across the UK. Their advice has helped us in negotiations and saved us money. I have found De Villiers to be very responsive and when something is needed quickly they move fast to meet the deadline"
Matt Brown
Finance Director, Eon
"De Villiers Commercial provide property and estate advice across our UK, ROI and International portfolio for Britvic PLC on a number of wide ranging property issues and we have found De Villiers’s support and advice extremely useful and commercially astute"
Clare Thomas
General Counsel and Company Secretary, Britvic PLC
“De Villiers consistently provides a highly professional and prompt service at a reasonable price”
Alpa Bhakta
CEO, Butterfield Bank
“De Villiers are totally focused on customer service and satisfaction, nothing is too much or too difficult for them, they are always friendly, courteous and willing to go the extra mile”
Colin Sanders
CEO, Tuscan Capital Limited
"De Villiers deliver everything a bank wants and expects from a valuer and when asked for something above and beyond the normal then the answer is usually “yes, that’s no problem”. "
Richard McAdam
Head of Residential Lending, Ahli United Bank (UK) PLC
“De Villiers offers an extremely professional and thorough report combined with efficiency and speed of service. De Villiers are always accessible and accommodating, working with tight timescales at very short notice and communicating with the client and their agents at all times”
Caroline Roberjot
Partner, Harbottle & Lewis
“Judgement and advice you provide Precise has never been questioned and is never in any doubt"
Richard Lawton
Head Of Short Term Lending, Precise Mortgages
"De Villiers Commercial acquired our new head office in Pall Mall, Central London in a very tight timescale and they were able to match our very specific brief. We would not hesitate to recommend their property services"
Dogan Korkmaz
Chief Financial Officer, Tüpraş Oil

Stay Updated

We would love to keep you updated occasionally with our news and views.
You can unsubscribe at any time.


* indicates required

We will use the information you provide on this form to get in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing information. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at anna.svandova@dvcommercial.co.uk. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

© 2022 De Villiers Chartered Surveyors

Web Design by Make it Seen Media