Thursday 6 August 2020

Katerina Manou

Flexible workspaces vs. conventional offices

DUBAI, July 30, 2019

By Katerina Manou

The cost of setting up a new office is one of the largest expenses a company incurs. According to a report, the price of just equipping a new office can range anywhere between Dh36,000-Dh46,000 ($9,800-$12,520), while simply renting the space can cost between Dh350-Dh3,500 per employee, per month. In the UAE, the costs start from approximately Dh45,000 per year.

The range of potential costs is also quite extensive. In addition to the initial outlay for items such as computing equipment, broadband infrastructure, printers, and maybe even servers, desks and business stationery, there are also ongoing expenses such as insurance, heating and electricity, as well as maintenance.

When selecting a new office, another key consideration is location, and this is decided by how close the business needs to be geographically to its suppliers and prospective clients. It is important for companies to be able to access workspace and meeting facilities that are convenient and lend themselves to strong business relations. Unfortunately, the best facilities may not always be for rent or sale when the company needs them. So, finding the right office space, when you need it may not always be easy.

Location also plays a key factor for employees. According to a report by Deloitte, millennials want a better work/life balance which can be achieved by locating the office where there are great facilities and a buzzing atmosphere with restaurants and leisure spaces, or where their commute is more practical and affordable. One of the alternatives for businesses that look to minimise these start-up costs and provide a better work-life balance, could be flexible workspaces.

The UAE has a vibrant community of young entrepreneurs and start-ups that are looking for vibrant, well-equipped and conveniently located office spaces to address their business and client requirements. Flexible workspaces can be an effective solution. Companies now offer fully serviced offices with everything included, from high-speed internet, to office furniture and utilities. Those using these workspaces can benefit from the latest technologies, such as conferencing call options, audio-visual equipment, secure business-grade internet, wi-fi, phone handset and lines.

With the rising popularity of mobile working, people are seeking professional places to meet clients or contacts. There is a rising demand for flexible and modular office spaces and, as businesses become more mobile, the demand for flexible workspaces is increasing. Digitalisation is changing how people work, with 53 per cent of professionals across the world now working remotely for at least half of their working week.

Flexible workplaces come with many advantages that make them a far more competitive option as compared to conventional office spaces. Overall, they can boost productivity for the company saving the employees many hours of commutes, providing peace of mind in terms of being fully equipped and hosting a pleasant work environment, hence boosting employee retention.

With such spaces, the modern workforce gets to experience a healthy and open working atmosphere. They can access flexible working through the pleasant office environments taking advantage of all elements that the flexible workspace model embraces. Above all, the comfort and happiness of staff is well catered for, and facilities such as a communal kitchen, business lounges and breakout areas help create a sense of community and drive productivity among employees.

It is clear that the flexible workspaces are going to continue to gain momentum, as more businesses start to turn to flexible working to reduce capital and operational expenditure, or choosing flexible working locations to help them shed unnecessary assets, manage risk and consolidate their portfolio.

About the author

Katerina Manou is vice president at Regus Regional, a provider of serviced offices, virtual offices, meeting rooms, and videoconferencing facilities.


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