Coworking but not as we know it – what other options do flexible spaces offer?



By Courtney Guthridge – Director, Workthere – West Coast

Organizations across the country are evaluating their return-to-office transition and, due to much uncertainty, many are utilizing flexible office solutions as part of their strategy. They’re of great utility for companies seeking to provide a productive environment for their workforce, without a long-term commitment. However, some employers are apprehensive to rent a flexible workspace due to concern over communal spaces and cohabitation with other companies. This is reasonable given the present circumstances but, coworking providers have gone above and beyond to implement health and safety protocols to ensure their members wellbeing. Additionally, there is a common misconception that all serviced office spaces are of the traditional coworking model with shared kitchens, conference rooms, and breakout areas.

The industry has evolved dramatically in the last few years and offers many alternatives to the standard coworking or executive suite layout. Many are perhaps familiar with Knotel or WeWork enterprise team suites but, there are other options that are managed and turn-key, while also providing a private and controlled environment. The following list is a sample of providers offering self-contained private office suites and products that can potentially accommodate occupiers’ current health concerns, is flexible and an alternative towards a common construct of what constitutes 'coworking' space.


Breather is a unique flexible office space provider that offers businesses the opportunity to rent standalone dedicated office suites that are fully furnished and all-inclusive. They have 500+ locations across 10 cities worldwide and can be rented on an hourly, daily, or monthly basis. Find out more about this workspace here.

Novel Coworking

Chicago-based Novel Coworking is an owner operator with 38+ locations. Their SmartSuites provide dedicated workspaces, ranging in size from 800 – 11,000 SF, that feature a combination of private entry, offices, personal kitchenette and conference room. The suites can be fully customizable and rented on a 1-2 year term. Find out more about this workspace here.


Industrious’ Canvas Suites are designed to accommodate teams of 20-200+ seeking private, move-in ready space that is personally branded. Canvas by Industrious is a quick and efficient solution that also provides high-design space with on-the-ground operations support and services. Find out more about this workspace here.


In addition to their Studio coworking product, Tishman Speyer launched an additional offering called Studio Private. These fully turn-key and dedicated workspaces are a great flexible office solution, especially for companies seeking private amenities and all-inclusive services. Find out more about this workspace here.


CommonGrounds Workplace has an in-house design team to help businesses establish branded working environments with flexible terms. HQ Suite allows for a customized workspace within an existing location using their demountable wall system that can be reconfigured quickly and with minimal cost. Find out more about this workspace here.

The current climate has without a doubt generated copious amounts of sublease space in every major market, as well as more term length leniency among landlords. Some would argue that a sublease or short-term direct deal could provide the same flexibility and private alternative to coworking as the options listed above. However, there is something to be said about the ease and efficiency that a flexible office solution provides from both a financial and operational standpoint. With respect to upfront capital spend, a flexible workspace requires minimal move-in costs and deposit in comparison to traditional transactions thus, freeing up funds or company credit for further growth. As it relates to the administrative side of things, the review time of a license agreement is limited in contrast to a lease, services and furniture are already in place, and all facilities management is covered.  A company can be fully functional in their own dedicated suite within a few weeks if need be.

If you’d like to further explore and compare traditional versus flexible office solutions, please get in touch. Workthere, in tandem with Savills, specializes in providing robust tenant rep service to organizations regardless of the format (sublease, direct lease, or flexible office).