Flexible workspace is becoming more and more popular due to the shorter rental periods. The Netherlands now leads the way in Europe with the supply of this type of office. Amsterdam and Eindhoven have become the flex capitals of the continent. The expectation is that the share of flexible workspace will grow to more than 10% in the next ten years.
"Ten years ago, restaurants, hotel lobbies and coffee corners were full of working people with a cup of coffee and a laptop," says Robert Kok, head of office rentals at Colliers. ''Nowadays, this mainly happens in flexible workspace. It's not just the self-employed and business travellers, but increasingly the larger companies that rent workspace there.''
Netherlands largest flex market in Europe
The real breakthrough of the flexible workspace came after the credit crisis from 2007 to 2011, when companies no longer wanted to commit to a fixed rent for several years. Providers of flexible workspace jumped into this gap by offering more room for manoeuvre in their lease contracts, for example a shorter duration and more opportunities to grow or decline in office space. Although 'only' 2.5% of all Dutch offices are now flexible workspace, this still means that the Netherlands has the largest European flex market.
With 6%, Amsterdam even ranks first among the 43 European cities surveyed by Colliers. Eindhoven follows closely with 5.9%. There are many startups and scale-ups in the tech sector here. Especially the Strijp-S area has a lot of flexible workspace. Utrecht marks the fastest growth of the five largest cities in the Netherlands. Over the past two years, flexible workspace providers have been responsible for 13% of the newly filled office space there.
The chaff is separated from the wheat
Flexible workspace providers that have entered the market in recent years, opened new locations too quickly or are very heavily financed with external capital, are hit hard by the corona crisis. For some, this could mean bankruptcy. Those gaps are quickly filled by one or more stronger providers.
The popularity of flexible workspace is increasing as a result of the corona crisis. ''Companies want to be able to move with the economy'', explains Robert Kok. ''That also fits in with the broader social trend in which we move from ownership to use. Rather a monthly subscription that can be cancelled than one large investment.''
Changing needs of Dutch workers
Large companies also want more flexibility. Not only because of the current financial uncertainty, but also because of the definitive breakthrough of working from home. For example, they opt for a smaller offices and rent extra (flexible) workspace at peak times. This means that the proportion of flexible workspace will go to double digits over the next ten years.