A new generation of flexible office space is spreading into cities across the UK as a growing number of businesses review how their workspaces can better meet the needs of modern working life. “We will see further growth in larger UK cities because all the main London operators are looking at these markets and that’s creating more competition,” says Elaine Rossall, JLL UK’s Head of UK Offices Research. The standout deal of 2018 was Birmingham City University taking 118,240 square feet of space at Belmont Works for a centre targeted at STEM companies. Across the UK, the tech and creative industries are key drivers of demand for flexible space, but corporates are increasingly joining start-ups in a growing variety of set-ups from both traditional office landlords and coworking operators. Rossall warns not all urban office markets will offer flexible space on the same scale. The shift to flex means investors and landlords are being forced to consider what it means for their space and how they ensure it remains relevant to deliver the best returns. Despite these its rapid growth, flexible space still accounts for around only 5 percent of all stock in the UK. “The UK market is in a period of evolution,” says Rossall.
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