Workers in Savannah, Georgia, are rejecting the traditional notion of extended leaseholds and are demanding a change in how space to work is acquired and used.
We’re always one to embrace and champion new developments in the office space market, so we’ve been following the growing coworking projects in Savannah with great interest.
Flexible space multinational Regus turned their attention to the possibilities of coworking and hot desking solutions in the mid-2000s, opening their business lounge facilities to professionals on any budget, for as long or short a period as required. A bold step that served an increasingly agile workforce, Regus saw a viable solution and ran with it.
“The new entrepreneurs that are surfacing are working off their laptops, working out of their home, working mobile — about a third of the workforce is moving in that direction,” said Mark Edwards, general manager of the new Regus on Bull and Broughton. “We’ve really found that niche because we are the largest provider of that type of office.”
Similarly, coworking specialists ThincSavannah offer space to business professionals looking to experience coworking for low costs, on a subscription basis. For ThincSavannah, it’s all about giving local businesses a cost-effective solution where they can thrive.
“We started this because no one else did,” said Ashley Bowersox, co-founder of ThincSavannah.
“Five or six years ago everyone was saying, ‘We gotta have a business incubator,’” said Bowersox. “I thought, ‘How can I make this work?’ And we just happened to have a building that didn’t need much work.”
The average amount of space office space per employee was reduced from 225 square feet in 2010 to 150 in 2013, acording to CoreNet’s Global Corporate Real Estate Survey. This is expected to continue to fall.
“It’s turnkey. You don’t have to invest in desks, filing cabinets, telephones, getting your medical insurance for employees — you don’t even have to hire employees or a receptionist because we’re already here,” said Edwards. “You just walk in and concentrate on what you need to do: Build your business.”
Caleb Parker, CEO of our partner site MeetingRooms.com, makes an annual trip to Savannah, so has had plenty of time to get to grips with both coworking spaces. Caleb’s usage highlights another reason a growing number of professionals find hot
desking so attractive: as touchdown space.
“Having a professional environment to work from helps me stay productive when I’m away from the office, which enables me to go home to Savannah and spend more time with family for the holidays every year without sacrificing productivity,” he said.
Irrespective of reason for usage, flexible hot desk space is a trend that’s showing continued growth. It’s a trend that’s reflecting in other areas of the office space market too, with less square foot per employee becoming commonplace.
“The market is trending toward less square footage per employee,” said Ashley Smith with Colliers International, which leases commercial office space in the Realty Building on Drayton Street.
“It’s technology that allows you to operate in a space that’s smaller and more compact,” Smith said. “I’m a Generation X, not a millennial, but I get it. People do want to be more social where they work.”
A recent study by Regus found that 73% of business people reveal that they would choose one job over another similar one, if it offered flexible working. The study said 75% confirm that flexible working also improves staff retention. With figures as stark coming out of the workspace ether, it’s hardly surprising that such solutions are becoming more commonplace.