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UK market for flexible workspace grows 11% in 12 months, review finds

Demand for serviced offices increased by 21% across the UK last year, according to the annual review of the UK market by The Instant Group.


The UK market for flexible workspace has grown 11% in the last 12 months, the review found. According to the company, this growth in supply is being driven by London, which has the biggest increase of space at 16% but double digit growth has also been seen across the regions. 


While the growth in number of centres offering flexible workspace was highest in London, which saw a 16% increase and now represents a third of the whole UK market, occupier enquiries for London grew at the slowest rate (9%).


Suburban locations have seen some of the UK’s most aggressive growth in terms of workstation rates and enquiries, despite a 12.5% increase in supply, as occupiers have chosen cheaper locations with good transport links over the highly competitive market in central London. The survey revealed that the supply of flexible workspace in London has outstripped conventional office space by some margin in the last year and this trend seems set to continue into the future. 


Tim Rodber, CEO of The Instant Group, said, “Growth in what might be considered secondary locations in the fringe and outer fringe of London have been driven by occupiers seeking more competitive workstation rates in a booming market. 


“This trend will continue through 2016 to 2017 with new locations such as Camden, Hackney, Clapham, Waterloo, Soho, Stratford, Marylebone and Vauxhall coming to the fore.  


“There is still high demand in traditionally popular areas with strong transport links such as Kings Cross, Euston, London Bridge, and Oxford Circus but operators are struggling to acquire the right floor plates at competitive rates that would facilitate increased supply.”


While enquiries for flexible space were up 21% for the UK in total and 39% in the regions, the growth in non-flexible office enquiries was up only 15% (according to data from Estates Gazette). 



Increase in Enquiries





Birmingham (City)














Manchester (City)



According to the Flexible Workspace Review – UK 2016 the total number of business centres offering flexible workspace grew by 11% across the UK in 2015/16 and now totals 3,290 centres (including co-working specific spaces).


  • Growth in enquiries for outer London was almost ten times that of inner London at 25.9%.
  • Workstation rates across the whole of the UK are rising above the rate of inflation with the South East seeing the biggest increase in prices at 10%.
  • Workstation rates and demand has fallen in Scotland where increased supply has not been matched by demand in Glasgow and Edinburgh, while the struggling oil and gas economy has hit the Aberdeen market.
  • Serviced offices that provide co-working as part of their offering rose 22.9% in the last year.
  • London now represents 32% of the total flexible workspace in the UK.

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