The market for flexible office concepts has grown remarkably in recent years, with more and more office operators and a surge in take-up by flex operators (+242%) in the Netherlands over the last five years. Since the rise of flex offices in the early 1960s, the flexible office market has seen significant periods of growth, but these were always followed by periods of decline. In contrast to previous cycles, the flexible office market is now also showing growth during a boom period. This is illustrated in the latest research report "Spotlight Flexible office space: A flight to flexibility", published today by international real estate advisor Savills.
Jordy Kleemans, Head of Research & Consultancy at Savills in the Netherlands, says: “In the past, flex offices were mainly used by landlords in order to solve vacancy problems in periods of economic downturns. When the economy picked up, interest in flexible offices dropped. For the first time since the introduction of flex offices, we see a change in trend. While the economy flourished in recent years, the flexible office market also continued to grow strongly. In 2018, the flex market accounted for 9.3% of the total office take-up; a year earlier this share was ‘only’ 7.6%."
Erik Beekman, Director Tenant Representation at Savills in the Netherlands, adds: “One important driver of this trend is the wider ‘shift to flexibility’ and a change in users’ demand. People now tend to stay with the same company for substantially shorter periods of time and are increasingly flexible in their career expectations. This is resulting in more flexible employment contracts, more home working, more freelancers and, therefore, more transactions involving smaller office spaces. The increase in flex office brands, the continuing professionalisation of this type of product and a broader geographical spread have made flexible offices an increasingly mainstream alternative to conventional office space.”
Potential growth of the flexible office market
The flexible office market will continue to grow in the years to come, accounting for an even greater share of the office market.In Amsterdam, the share of flexible office take-up will, for the first time, exceed 10% this year, and is expected to grow further towards 25% to 30% in the longer term. This prediction of Savills is based on the growth of comparable European hotspots. The frontrunners in this area are Brussels, London West End and Stockholm, all of which already have a share above 20%. Just like these cities, Amsterdam has the same attraction, structure and characteristics. In addition, Amsterdam has strong pulling power for millennials due to the lifestyle and vibrancy the city can offer. This group will constitute 75% of the active workforce by 2024 and is placing more and different demands on their working environment.