Flexible Working Solutions Demand Continues to Rise

Flexible Working Solutions Demand Continues to Rise

A new report released by Instant Office reveals that UK workers have made a rising number of requests for their workplaces to begin offering flexible working solutions.

The report also details that flexible working solutions and coworking spaces have almost doubled in both popularity and availability over the last five years.

Currently, flexible workplaces now account for nearly 7% of the total office space utlilised in the UK.

An increase in interest of using more flexible working solutions is being put down to businesses being urged to place a greater focus on work-life balance.

What was once a type of flexible working solution mainly adopted by small businesses and startups, is now becoming more common for larger businesses too.

As a result, employee requests for access or permission to use more flexible working methods have soared across the country, particularly in more traditionally higher value areas.

Areas of the UK With the Most Demand Growth

Instant Office’s research evidences the increased demand growth for flexible working solutions in the UK through a results table.

The table, as featured below, lists the 10 areas in the UK that have seen the most requests from workers for flexible working solutions submitted between 2017 and 2019:

Area of the UK Demand Increase (%)
Harrow 433%
Bromley 230%
Luton 146%
Milton Keynes 144%
Cardiff 136%
Derby 106%
Nottingham 93%
Middlesbrough 84%
Glasgow 81%
Leeds 60%

Experts argue that the increase in requests for flexible working solutions for businesses based in the UK could likely be due to current economic conditions.

Both workers and businesses themselves may also be preparing for what is still currently the unknown when it comes to Brexit and the lasting effects on businesses.

And research indicates that nearly 70% of companies in the UK have not yet got a strategic plan for when or if Brexit is to take place.

Businesses Encouraged to Take Notice of Increase in Demand of Flexible Working Solutions

With suggestions that the traditional office environment may no longer be suitable in the current climate, CMO of the Instant Group, John Williams explains further on how the sector needs to react to the increase of demand in offering flexible working solutions.

“It has been a remarkable year for flex space.

In line with our predictions from 2018’s report, we are seeing a proliferation of choice, with client demand forcing operators and landlords to aggressively evolve their models to differentiate and specialize.

Now that commercial real estate as a whole has started to wake up to the needs of the end-user, the sector will have to become smarter at finding and using big sets of data to assess in details where this demand is coming from and how it is going to change over time.”

The Link Between Open Plan Offices and a Decrease in Face-to-Face Interactions

Another factor that may come into the equation which is linked to increased flexible working solutions demand is greater opportunities for interaction and communication.

Whilst many current office environments have been designed to allow for more face-to-face communication in the workplace, an experiment by Harvard Business School and Harvard University proved that the opposite was occurring.

They determined that in the average open plan office, the amount of time colleagues would spend collaborating face-to-face dropped by around 70% on average.

Attempting to explain how this effect was occurring in modern open plan workplaces, a spokesperson from the research team commented:

“Whilst it is possible to bring chemical substances together under specific conditions of temperature and pressure to form the desired compound, more factors seem to be at work in achieving a similar effect with humans.

Until we understand those factors, we may be surprised to find a reduction in face-to-face collaboration at work even as we architect transparent, open spaces intended to increase it.”

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Sam Rose

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