It seems that hardly a day goes by when there isn't a headline about a new serviced office concept or a new statistic is released on the increasing expansion of the sector. WeWork has dominated the news following its considerable expansion in the UK. However, there is also a wide range of other providers working across national and local remits. Recently there has been an increase in activity from these occupiers in Bristol and this is expected to continue to rise considerably in 2018.
There are currently around 100,000 sq ft of enquiries in the Bristol market from collaborative working/serviced office companies and we expect to see this rise as the year progresses. This demand is being driven by both well-known occupiers and new start-up companies as the Bristol office market continues to be dominated by a lack of space. At the moment there is an extreme shortage of space for occupiers looking for sub 3,000 sq ft. Successful flexible office providers are able to soak up a lot of this demand.
That being said, there is often a tendency to see serviced offices as being full of small start-up firms, however this is not always the case. There has been an increasing shift towards larger, more established companies taking space in a flexible workspace, including EDF and Barnett Waddingham in Bristol.
This, combined with the smaller companies, benefits the city as it will allow them to grow before moving into conventional space and creates a valuable three- to five-year incubator environment. According to Workthere Bristol sits behind only Manchester and London in terms of searches for co-working and serviced office space on their website.
From a landlord’s perspective, serviced office providers have become more accepted as the provision of flexible workspace has risen in demand. In the last 10 years the sector has undergone a makeover, and is now far away from being the last resort to fill empty space in a property. The serviced office sector now offers landlords a way to diversify their portfolio. High profile providers such as The Office Group and WeWork have made flexible working spaces almost a destination, using décor and furniture to stand out from the crowd and attract tenants.
Bristol’s office market has provided the perfect environment for a rise in serviced office providers. The combination of a lack of smaller floorplates, the increasing demand for incubator space and a growing acceptance of flexible working tenants by landlords means 2018 should be a strong year for activity in the sector.
Read more: Spotlight: Bristol Offices