​Should All Businesses Use Flexible Workspaces?

​Should All Businesses Use Flexible Workspaces?

Posted on 18 April 2024

What is a flexible workspace?

In the UK, a Flexible Workspace, or as some may call it a “flexi space”, is an all-encompassing term used to describe the many different types of workspaces. Each type of workspace is designed in a way that provides employees with spaces that suit their working styles and needs.

The term “flexible” is used as these spaces are typically temporary and are much less of a commitment as there are primarily monthly rolling contracts compared to traditional lease which are signed for years.

Serviced Offices

Serviced offices in the UK are a flexible workspace that offers private spaces that are already set up with the essentials ready for you to move into. They come with things like furniture, internet, printers and photocopiers, AV equipment, kitchen facilities, cleaning services and security services.

Serviced offices also offer additional amenities, either these are included in the rent, or they are a pay-as-you-need basis. These amenities include Meeting rooms, bike storage, a gym and shower facilities etc.

Man working at desk with group working in background

Shared Offices

Shared offices are flexible workspaces in which the spaces and facilities are shared with one or more businesses. Typically, in the UK these workspaces are used part-time, a business could rent the private space for 1-3 days each week and then another business rents the other 2 days. They are sharing the space but not at the same time, so privacy remains.

Coworking Spaces

In the UK Coworking spaces are becoming more and more widely used. Coworking spaces are flexible workspaces that can be set in a shared office-style space, business centre and even cafes.

These spaces have features that are required to work efficiently, like a desk/table, chairs, outlets, and other facilities that are needed.

Coworking spaces are very flexible as they are a pay-as-you-go service, these spaces can be booked by the hour, day, week or even longer if needed. There is no contract or commitment required so you only pay for what you will use.

Why have Flexible Workspaces become more popular?

There is an increasing demand in the UK for businesses to offer flexible workspaces, this desire has grown significantly in the past 3-4 years, and for good reason. The main drivers of this growth are:

Flexible workspaces in the UK offer a more cost-effective opportunity for businesses that aren’t ready to commit to a long-term lease. This could be because they are a startup or small business or they aren’t able to predict how much growth they will see in the future, and they do not want to be burdened with a long-term commitment to one space.

Flexible workspaces offer a wide range of pricing options, and different workspace styles and businesses can choose an option that works best for their requirements.

Businesses need to be able to be agile and to respond appropriately to changes in the market or within their business. This means that the option to have a flexible workspace is growing in popularity as businesses can scale up or down when they need to without the financial and logical implications of moving office spaces.

Flexible workspaces can be found in a variety of locations from city centre to suburban areas in the UK, this means that a business can choose a location that suits their needs. This also means that there is more opportunity for employees to work remotely as they can still remotely work from an office-style space.

Another driver of the growth in flexible workspaces in the UK has come from the increase in businesses wanting to create opportunities for collaborative work. With a flexible workspace, there are opportunities for better teamwork and collaboration as there are more amenities to enable this behaviour. Such as breakout spaces, and meeting rooms are ideal spaces for organic conversations and can book team morale, bonding, and productivity.

Companies that offer Flexible workspaces


Google is one of the biggest companies that offer flexible workspaces to their employees. They are known to offer their employees the opportunity to work 3 days in the office and 2 days from a place of their choosing, they can apply to work remotely only for 4 weeks each year, they can easily transfer locations and they also have the opportunity to apply to work remotely full time.


In 2022 CEO Brain Chesky announced that employees would be able to now work from anywhere in the world without experiencing any sort of pay cut. This approach to flexible workspace has set Airbnb as a truly flexible workplace that values its employees the same amount as if they were working from a traditional office environment.


Canva has no strict requirements for their employees to work from a traditional office space, they believe in offering a flexible workspace for everyone. There are 3 categories for working based on what works best for everyone:

Hybrid: Working from a Canva campus office, from home, from wherever works best for the employee.

Permanent Remote: Main residence and workplace are outside of the Canva campus office.

Onsite: Spending most of their time at one of the Canva campuses.

Canva recently unveiled its plans for its new Sydney campus. The new campus will be centred around creating spaces that are communal and encourage employees to create the best work of their lives. The new office features areas for collaborative work, individual work, cafes, bars, outdoor spaces, and event spaces. It also will have child-friendly zones, a gym, bike parking, e-charging stations and areas for meditation. Canva’s head of vibe, Chris Low said, “We’re incredibly intentional about building magical physical spaces for our teams.”

Benefits and Challenges

There are many benefits to flexible workspaces in the UK:

Minimal Commitment

Flexible workspaces offer short-term contracts to no contacts at all, this means that businesses can adapt quickly to any changes that may happen.


As you are paying a set fee each month, budgeting workplace finances is easy. Businesses know what they owe each month and there aren’t any unexpected charges added on, like a high-power bill, maintenance fees etc. Flexible workspaces give businesses more control over their cash flow, and it allows them to focus on more important matters.


Flexible workspaces in the UK allow businesses to be agile when they are in the position of needing to change things quickly due to the rapidly evolving markets. Due to the minimal commitments with flexible workspaces, businesses can adapt if they grow, move, shrink, move to remote work etc. It allows them to feel a sense of safety when thinking about the future and changes they cannot predict.

There are also some challenges to having a flexible workspace in the UK:


In a traditional workspace, businesses can customise the space to their brand-specific requirements. With using a flexible, coworking office space, businesses are unable to decorate, brand and customise their space.


With some flexible workspaces like co-working spaces privacy is a concern. This may be a problem for information that is sensitive and can’t be heard or seen by people from outside of your organisation. When in a co-working space employees need to be aware of the information they have opened on their computer screens, papers and on phone calls as you never know who is listening or looking over your shoulder.


A flexible workspace with the absence of assigned desks and dedicated spaces for teams and their leaders can generate a feeling of disconnection among employees. These feelings can negatively impact engagement, trust and quality workplace relationships as employees can feel a sense of absence from their colleagues as they are often not together as a team in proximity.

Flexible workspaces in the UK offer a range of benefits over a traditional office environment, from cost-effectiveness, the ability to change and adapt and access to spaces that suit their specific needs.

With the rise of remote working in the UK and the need for more agility in the workplace, the future of UK office spaces needs to be flexible otherwise businesses will fall behind, and employees will find elsewhere that offers them the flexibility they require.

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