At the beginning of the year, it seemed that many coworking centres or shared offices could not survive the measures associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. It was on shared workspaces, whose philosophy is based on meeting, personal communication and cooperation, that the constraints were felt very hard. However, as the results of the June analysis by BNP Paribas Real Estate show, most of the operators of coworking and serviced offices felt a new wave of interest this spring. In selected cases, demand even exceeded the pre-covid period. Thanks to these results, the offer of flexible offices, which currently amounts to almost 106,000 m2, will grow throughout this year and next year. In addition to Prague and Brno, the expansion is also being experienced in other cities.
According to the most important players in the flexible office market, recent months have shown the stabilisation and gradual growth of this segment. New companies are appearing amongst their clients. These are often larger corporations, which are an important source of income for many operators, given the length of the lease and the size of the leased space.
The return, or arrival, of larger companies to coworking centres, also means greater diversification of the membership base for most operators of these spaces. The share of corporate clients, i.e. companies with more than 500 employees, varies from operator to operator. For example, IWG, which operates Spaces centres, and WeWork, confirm that large, often multinational, corporations currently account for 60 - 75% of leases.
"Other operators, such as HubHub and WorkLounge, continue to build their business on small and medium-sized companies, and often individual-freelancers. This group can often make up to 90% of their members, and requires real flexibility in rental conditions," says Kamila Breen, Head of Consulting and Market Research at BNP Paribas Real Estate.
All of the largest players consulted agreed that their clients and users have also come up with new requirements on the basis of lockdown and pandemic measures. If closed offices were popular before the first wave in spring 2020, demand for them has now risen sharply. At the same time, a completely new trend is the rental of single-seat offices, which surprisingly also applies to the aforementioned corporations.
There is further agreement on technological innovation. Operators are investing in even more comfortable reservation systems, video conferencing facilities and other self-service processes. All improvements lead to even greater flexibility in terms of operation and rental relationship between the operator and the client. "Customers currently require as few metres as possible, the shortest possible rental period and as few commitments as possible. In this way, coworking offices still have a great advantage over the classic form of office rental," concludes Kamila Breen.
Most coworking centres are located in Prague (35), with a total area of 45,900 sq m. The second most important coworking centre is Brno, with 14 centres and a total area of 9,500 sq m. The offer of flexible spaces is complemented by serviced offices, of which there are 30 in the Czech Republic, with a total area 42,580 sq m.
The recently published plans of some developers are proof of the continuing interest in flexible workspaces. While CTP has already opened its Clubco coworking centre (2,000 sq m) in the Vlněna business centre in Brno, the developer, PasserInvest, which owns flexible and coworking spaces called FLEKSI, with a total area of 3,000 sq m, will only open its Prague project, BB Centrum, in November this year.
At the beginning of July, Skanska announced the closure of its Business Link coworking centre which, thanks to a strategic partnership, was taken over by Scott.Weber Workspace. As part of their plans, they aim to operate 13 centres, with a total area of more than 35,000 sq m, by 2023. Equally interesting news is the expansion of the Impact Hub chain. Together with NWT, they are preparing the opening of the seven-storey Silo II centre powered by Impact Hub, with an area of 5,000 sq m, in Zlín in the autumn of this year.
Please download the detailed analysis from the Attachments section below.