Undoubtedly, the business world has been through the wringer since COVID-19, and the struggle continues as businesses figure out when and how they can safely reopen. Even with the current uncertainty, there is a glimmer of good news. As the US slowly makes its plan for opening up and finding its path forward, businesses around the world are largely feeling optimistic, according to recent research from McKinsey & Company. More than 50% of the executives included in the survey expect improving economic conditions within the next six months.
But for that rosy outlook to come to fruition, businesses need to reopen and rebuild. One of the key solutions provides the agility that businesses need today and in the years to come. That’s exactly what flex space delivers. Flex space doesn’t just provide a solid foundation to rebuild, but it also embraces the future of the modern office.
Challenges Posed by COVID-19
The modern office was already changing before the pandemic. However, COVID accelerated these changes and introduced a host of new challenges. Scrambling to get workers acclimated to working from home was only the beginning for most companies as weeks of stay-at-home orders turned into months. And while many businesses initially planned to bring workers back to the physical office in late summer, changing conditions required most to push those plans into 2021.
One of the biggest challenges now is deciding when and how to reopen physical offices. This is a decision that impacts the entire supply chain, creating a ripple effect as every company that services businesses try to plan for the future too.
The uncertainty affects each business in a unique way, posing challenges that couldn’t have been foreseen before COVID, including the ability to rapidly scale up or down and respond to changing conditions. Additionally, results of CORT’s Workplace Survey reveal that the top concerns among businesses include employee health and safety and loss of revenue. The challenges that COVID has brought along with it for businesses require the kind of agility that flex can provide.
What Is “Modern” Flex Space
Flex space is evolving, and it’s going to continue doing so in the future. Historically, flex space was used to describe the offices and connected warehouse spaces in industrial settings. As more businesses discovered the nimbleness that comes with shorter-term leases, flex space was reimagined as a way to represent commercial real estate with leases of three to five years or less. But even this description was changing before the pandemic. And while many may continue to associate flex solely with “coworking,” that’s only one type of flex solution for the modern office space.
Flex space also includes:
- On-demand office space for a full business unit
- Private offices
- Executive suites
It’s also important to note that the CRE industry is only just starting to see many use cases that have potential. As Peggy Moore, CORT’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales noted in a recent interview, “Businesses will dictate what flex space will become based on the variety of short-term needs they will have.”
Businesses Need Agile Solutions
If businesses have learned anything from COVID, it’s that it’s important to have access to solutions that will allow them to react quickly to changing conditions. During this time those on-demand solutions look like dividers, barriers, and movable furnishings to help enforce physical distancing requirements and help employees feel safe while returning to work.
Going forward, this same need for having an on-demand solution won’t change. As more companies re-evaluate their footprints, the need for short-term leases and office space that doesn’t leave them locked into lengthy contracts becomes increasingly important.
Flex Provides a Happy Medium
The modern office has been shifting for a while now, with an increasing number of people working from home occasionally and millions of employees working from home at least half the week. In this post-COVID business world, the majority of employees want the option to work from home. At the same time, most businesses can’t switch to a 100% virtual work environment without risking a hit to company culture.
Flex space provides that in-between solution that bridges the work from home workforce with in-office capabilities. It allows businesses to meet changing behaviors and changing footprints head-on, providing a custom solution tailored to each business’s challenges and goals.
Flex Is the Future
For commercial real estate owners, COVID has presented a different set of challenges. Many are now facing empty spaces and a looming decision to either let these spaces remain unoccupied or find a new solution.
No one knows what the future holds, but flex space does provide options that occupiers and owners need in order to respond to the current conditions, rebuild a solid foundation, and embrace the future. These spaces are suitable for businesses of all sizes for temporary offices, swing spaces, and more. Flex is the foundation to rebuild. Even more, it’s exactly what businesses need to scale their footprints as needed to support their goals while forging their paths forward.
There’s another way to flex — and that’s with furniture. Furniture as a Service™ (FaaS), is the on-call, on-demand office solutions that CORT Furniture Rental specializes in. Discover the power of access over ownership for reimagining the modern office.