Workspace

Is there a timeshare opportunity for flexible offices?

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17/08/2020

The idea of a timeshare holiday home is nothing new, but the concept of a timeshare flexible office is a more recent phenomenon. It’s rare for companies to take timeshares in flexible offices, but, if it catches on, the future opportunities could be huge.

So how does it work exactly? Let’s say you have two companies: Company A and Company B with one private office. Company A might choose to take the space on Mondays and Tuesdays, whilst Company B uses the space from Wednesday until Friday. This can be done in various ways; companies can alternate weeks, split by morning vs afternoon or you can even have more than two companies sharing an office.

Usually the cost is split proportionally. If the total monthly office cost is £5,000, the company taking the space for two days a week would pay £2,000/month and the company taking it for three days a week would pay £3,000/month.

This is different to a standard private office desk membership agreement in a flexible workspace, where typically a company or an individual leases a set number of desks for a certain period of time and the space is not shared with other people. It is also different from hot desking in a coworking space, where desks are taken on a first come, first served basis and hoteling in a coworking space, where assigned desks are booked in advance but on a much shorter term basis than a timeshare. For example with hoteling, you might book a desk the night before for use the following day.

Pros of timeshare flexible offices

The main advantage is that companies can have greater flexibility with their office costs. We expect workers to value flexibility, particularly in terms of working location, even more so in a post-COVID-19 world. A recent Savills survey found that 34% of workers would like to work from home two days per week. A timeshare flexible office can bring some kind of structure to remote working arrangements – you have a guaranteed working location for a set time period.

Timeshare flexible offices can cater for a number of working preferences and reduce offices costs significantly for companies that would have otherwise paid for a whole office themselves and ended up with vacant space on the days that their employees worked remotely. Whether you are a freelancer, a five-person startup or a corporate, saving costs on office space is an attractive proposition, particularly at this current point in time when  many companies have seen lower sales and reducing costs is a necessity.

Another advantage is that there are environmental benefits. The fact that space is used more efficiently and resources are shared can have significant benefits for the environment.  In a world where the focus on sustainability is ever increasing, this is key.

Cons of timeshare flexible offices

There are challenges that come with this set up too though. There can be legal issues, especially when it comes to dilapidations. For example, if a wall is damaged it can be difficult or impossible to know which company was responsible for the damages. There are similar accountability issues that can arise from stolen belongings. One way around that is to have a similar policy to coworking spaces where people remove all their belongings and clear their desks at the end of the day for a brief inspection. Lockers can be provided to prevent people having to take all their belongings home at the end of the day.

The other disadvantage is that you have to find a companies that have inverse office needs i.e. if Company A wants the office space on Mondays and Fridays, the other company will need to be happy using it on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. This is particularly difficult because the concept of a flexible office timeshare is fairly new and not many companies know about it, although this could well remedy itself with time as it becomes better known.

Whether the timeshare trend will take on permanently is yet to be seen, but the concept is certainly an interesting one that would complement the existing variations of renting flexible office space.

If you are interested in a flexible office timeshare opportunity, please get in touch with us at hello@workthere.com.