Most NZ firms want co-working space

6:18 PM Wednesday November 21, 2018 Colin Taylor

Co-workers mingle socially in a shared common area at the B:Hive in Smales Farm. Photo / Supplied

A major new survey reveals that most commercial property occupiers in New Zealand would prefer to be located in a building with a co-working centre.

“Demand for shared meeting and event space is high,” says Gergely Gaspardy,  Associate Director of CBRE Research, which has released the report entitled Pacific Corporate Co-working Survey: The Future is Flexible.

“Eighty-one per cent of New Zealand occupiers say they would choose to occupy a building that offers shared facilities – an indicator of the importance occupiers place on maximising their commercial real estate objectives,” Gaspardy says. “And 53 per cent of office occupiers in New Zealand say they would prefer to be located in a building with a co-working centre.”

The CBRE survey questioned 60 large occupiers across New Zealand and Australia on their current and future planned use of flexible space, with a focus on co-working.

“Over the next two years, 47 per cent of New Zealand occupiers plan to reduce their traditional leased office space,” Gaspardy says.

He says co-working is ‘less evolved’ in New Zealand than in Australia reflecting a greater interest here in relocating to buildings that offer shared facilities. 

“In New Zealand, 23 per cent of office occupiers are currently leasing flexible workspace versus 40 per cent in Australia.”

Gaspardy says the uptake of flexible space will accelerate as more corporates capitalise on the opportunity to have greater workplace flexibility.

“Our relationship to work has changed entirely, underpinned by revolutionised working methods via advances in technology. In response to these changes, flexible workspaces are becoming the point of reference for companies reassessing their commercial real estate requirements.

“Flexible space is no longer viewed as being the exclusive domain of entrepreneurial, start-up companies. The survey findings highlight how many corporations are harnessing flexible working to decrease their exposure to long term leases – a trend that is anticipated to accelerate significantly over the coming years.” 

The survey also reveals differences between industries in relation to using co-working spaces.

“Finance and insurance companies value portfolio flexibility as a key reason for using co-working but give access to a collaborative environment, a lower score.

“In comparison public sector occupiers place a higher emphasis on the ability to access a collaborative environment and less so on meeting and event space.

“Technology companies were, unsurprisingly, found to be the highest users of flexible space, and were motivated by the ability to adapt to changes in business processes.”

Nicole Fitzgerald, CBRE’s Pacific Director of Workplace Strategy, says the survey findings highlight there is potential in the market for operators and landlords to provide greater diversification in co-working space to meet the different needs and preferences of industry groups.

“Niche flexible workspaces are emerging and continue to experience rapid growth,” Fitzgerald says. “These specialised facilities range from industry specific spaces and biolabs to workspaces for mothers; and ultimately appeal to groups who aren’t interested in traditional co-working offerings.

“Landlords have the opportunity to adapt their office space to meet the evolving needs of their tenants. Flexible workspaces are becoming the point of reference for companies reassessing their commercial real estate requirements, and landlords need to understand this, and adapt or risk being left behind.”