PROPERTY consulting and management firm JLL Philippines reported on May 21 that 2,000 new seats from flexible workspaces in Metro Manila were completed annually between 2014 and 2017.
Janlo de los Reyes, JLL Philippines head of research and consulting, said that Makati and the Bonifacio Global City are the most preferred locations to establish flexible workspaces because of the heavy presence of businesses in the two districts.
“Although the growth for flexible/coworking spaces is primarily in Makati and BGC, we also noticed a growing demand in the Ortigas and Alabang area, though not at the same scale and pace,” said Lizanne Tan, JLL Philippines head of tenant representation in a press statement.
De los Reyes said start-ups and smaller enterprises comprised of both corporate and information-technology firms are the leading tenants of these new office models. “Close on their heels are BPO and corporate occupiers for temporary or swing space,” he said.
However, JLL pointed out that are some barriers that needs to be hurdled to enable flexible space to expand. De los Reyes said large business put a high value on retaining their brand identity and culture, as well as the need to protect data and secure their IT infrastructures.
In response to growing demand, de los Reyes said JLL has observed that landlords will continue to form joint ventures with coworking operators, or create their own flexible spaces to meet tenants’ needs. Meanwhile developers are adapting to what could be a new standard in property development whereby flexible workspace will be an amenity as essential in a commercial building as food and beverage outlets or a gym.
Susan Sutherland, head of corporate solutions research, JLL Asia Pacific, said businesses in the region are looking toward collaboration among employees and are using shared workspaces as a way to foster innovation through exposure to new ideas and ways of working.
“Some companies have even started their own internal coworking facilities or have incorporated certain features unique to flexible spaces to make the work environment more engaging. This includes activities and amenities to enhance member well-being and promote social and business networking like yoga classes, guest speakers, free lunches and after-work drinks. This helps build a community feel and can be a differentiator when it comes to attracting and retaining young talent,” said Sutherland.
“Given the competitive dynamic of this new sector, we are already seeing consolidation even among the biggest players. Looking ahead, we can expect convergence to continue growing, with serviced office operators developing coworking brands and coworking brands targeting the clients of serviced operators in the market,” Sutherland added.