Demand for flexible office space increases by 37% in H1 2021

Demand for flexible workspace in the UK is up by 37% for the six months to 17 June 2021, when compared to the same period last year. The data from The Instant Group also shows that suburban markets are currently outperforming London with demand up by 39%. Up until the end of 2020, demand for the flex market in London was still declining following the pandemic situation but the capital is bouncing back and demand is 32% higher than it was in June 2020.

According to Instant’s proprietary data, demand in secondary markets is back to where it was pre-pandemic. As employers look to bring workers back into the office, demand for flexible office space is increasing, particularly in regions that offer a better work-life balance with reduced commuting times. Instant’s data shows that key secondary markets are showing considerable growth compared to last year with enquiries for flex space in Uxbridge topping with the bill with a 214% increase. Demand in Nottingham, Reading, Bolton, Leicester and Dartford are also up:

Increase in number of enquiries for flex space
UK 37%
London 32%
Suburban / secondary 39%
Uxbridge 214%
Nottingham 118%
Reading 69%
Bolton 40%
Leicester 33%
Dartford 27%

Demand for flexible workspace has steadily increased over the last decade as more organisations seek greater agility with shorter lease lengths and the ability to contract space depending on business growth. This trend looks set to continue with average lease times dropping from 10.4 months in June 2020, to 8.9 months in June 2021 as organisations take a shorter term view of their real estate portfolio.

John Williams, Director, The Instant Group, said: “A lot of what we’re seeing in the market right now is being driven by SME’s who by their very nature tend to be able to move and react much faster. Larger corporates tend to be more cautious taking a look, see and assess approach. But from the increased activity we are seeing in London it’s clear that confidence is building and after a period of stabilisation at the beginning of the year, the Capital is now seeing growth again.

“The agile lease terms offered by flexible workspace is much more appealing to organisations than the traditional route and allows them to keep up with the speed of business. While we’re still not back to pre-pandemic levels, we are much closer to the trajectory we were originally predicting pre pandemic with a significant uplift in all areas.”