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Corporate occupiers’ attitude to flex space in the post-Covid environment

Cooke, H. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3309-7921, Fiorentino, S., Harris, R., Livingstone, N. and McAllister, P. (2022) Corporate occupiers’ attitude to flex space in the post-Covid environment. Journal of Property Investment and Finance. ISSN 1463-578X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1108/JPIF-02-2022-0011

Abstract/Summary

Purpose This paper investigates how large UK corporate occupiers perceive the potential role of flexible office space in their office portfolios in a post-pandemic context. Design/methodology/approach The research methodology is qualitative and applied. For a longitudinal survey, convenience sampling was used to obtain co-operation from 11 corporate real estate managers with responsibility for managing large corporate real estate portfolios spread across a range of business sectors and countries. Semi-structured interviews were selected as the core research method to seek and to optimise the balance between discovery and generalisability. Findings Although the pandemic has led corporate occupiers to fundamentally re-appraise where and when different work tasks are performed, it is not yet clear whether this has major implications for the flex space sector. The flex space model, with its blending of various occupiers and activities, is perceived to be poorly aligned with an increasing emphasis on the office as a core corporate hub facilitating connection, collaboration, enculturation, learning and creativity. Since most flex space is concentrated in central locations, it is also not well positioned to benefit from any decentralisation of office functions. However, as the flex space sector evolves in response to structural shifts in employment and working practices and business change, its various products are likely to be a continuing requirement from corporate occupiers for short-term solutions to demand shocks, the need for rapid market entry, accommodation for short-term projects and access to desk space in multiple locations. Practical implications Understanding occupiers' drivers in their decision-making on selecting the method of occupation will assist investors in how they might adjust what they offer in the marketplace. Originality/value Whilst there has been a substantive number of surveys of corporate occupiers' perceptions and intentions regarding their office portfolio, this paper focusses on a specifically on the flex space sector. Whilst previous research has mainly been extensive, this research study is intensive.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Henley Business School > Real Estate and Planning
ID Code:104941
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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