The wavering uncertainty around a full-time return to the office and the desire to retain remote working has changed the way tenants and landlords approach office space. Tenants and occupiers are looking for less commitment on leases and greater flexibility. On the other hand, landlords are seeking ways to reduce their void periods and increase the NLA of their assets. This has created new demands in the way that space will be taken going forward.
Super Flex is currently leading the way in an era of uncertainty and rapidly changing plans. With greater flexibility for tenants, Super Flex space fills in the gaps that more established flexible space has struggled to tackle.
The new workspace at Hyphen in Manchester is the latest project designed by Oktra, in partnership with property developer, Boultbee Brooks. Having previously delivered a project with them in Reading at The Brickworks, the latest scheme sits across multiple floors in the building, providing tenants with a new working landscape in the heart of the city.
Super Flex space offers short-term, flexible leases which is like the leases offered by coworking and serviced office providers but Super Flex leases provide tenants with a greater level of ownership and flexibility within their leased space.
Rather than leasing desks or offices, tenants have full ownership of these units and come equipped with furniture, meeting space, tea point and workspaces. The tenant’s space is fully brandable, reconfigurable and private from other tenants. This is one of the defining features of Super Flex space compared to coworking or serviced office space.
Super Flex has been designed in recognition of the changing market and fluctuating needs of tenants. The idea is for companies to take a unit within a Super Flex space and then add to that unit as they grow or release space to accommodate changes in the business. This type of space is designed to keep companies within the space and support their growth within the property.
Technology plays an important role in making the spaces easy to navigate and operate for each tenant. Access control and personal lockers are controlled through a mobile app. Each unit has access to a comms facility and power so tenants can move in and start working straight away.
The flexible office market has experienced huge growth in recent years and now, with more businesses adopting remote and hybrid working models, the working landscape is primed for Super Flex space.
One of the key differences is that Studio Space in the Hyphen building is owned and managed by Boultbee Brooks, which allows them to offer premium office space at affordable rates. This is different to other managed spaces that offer ‘all inclusive’ packages as it ensures greater transparency on costs for tenants.
These small adaptations give Super Flex tenants the same flexibility as they would expect from coworking or serviced space but with the additional control of their leased space.
In recent years, space like this has been labelled as start-up space and targeted at trendy, young companies but the market has shifted and the demands of traditional businesses have evolved.
One of the key operational features of Super Flex space is that it is designed to work for companies of any size, from any sector. The units have been designed to be modern and stylish without polarising sectors. This approach is reflected in the stylish look and feel of the space as it transcends different sectors to be a more inclusive.
Units vary in size from 600 sq ft up to 2,500 sq ft which enables companies of different sizes to take the space they need, rather than paying for standardized floorplates. Super Flex is primed to support companies with a hybrid work force, so businesses can operate from a space that reflects the headcount occupying it. There is a range of unit sizes available, from smaller units for start-ups to larger units for more established companies.
While hybrid working and flex space has been gaining in popularity, new long-term strategies are being developed. Flexible working has worked well for some companies but there is now an opportunity for a total refresh in the way businesses occupy space.
Hyphen, in Manchester, is the flagship project for Studio Space with the view to eventually rolling out Super Flex to other properties within the Boultbee Brooks portfolio across the country. We are currently developing projects for them in cities across the UK as more tenants start to search for a physical office.
MD of Oktra Regions, Mike Murray played a key role in delivering the project in the Hyphen building. He describes, “as a concept, Boultbee Brooks and Studio Space have created a niche offering that is suited to work/living. The flexibility allows you to take smaller spaces within the property and still have everything contained within that space. It’s exciting that we have created something relevant and new that responds to the current demand.”