When picking a premise for a new business, it used to be about location, location, location. But with cash flow increasingly unpredictable, priorities have now changed and SMEs are increasingly demanding flexible co-working space.
Quality Solicitors, the national network of solicitors, surveyed 250 SME decision makers across the UK and found that 71% of SMEs see access to co-working space as a top priority for the future. According to the research, 42% of small businesses said they prioritise a flexible and adaptable space over location when looking at new premises, whilst a further 18% said it was important to be based somewhere that they could interact and collaborate on ideas with other businesses. Opportunities for networking were also seen as important, with 39% of SMEs saying they look for a work space that would allow them to network with other businesses.
But it seems businesses are also looking for some flexibility when negotiating their leases. Over 54% want flexible, short-term lets and an additional 53% demand a break clause so they are prevented from being tied down if the space is no longer practical. Other priorities for SMEs when negotiating a lease include repair works that are covered by the landlord, a right to renew the lease when it comes to an end and a reasonable price for shared services and facilities.
Michael Sandys, commercial property conveyancing expert at QualitySolicitors, commented: “SMEs now want a different kind of workspace, which offers flexible space and networking opportunities to boost efficiencies and maximise the space. They don’t want to be tied down, so we’re seeing more and more businesses demanding shorter, less restrictive leases to give them the freedom to move around if they need to.”
Clearly then the co-working movement continues to develop apace.