One thing is certain is that after more than a year of debate on the impact of Covid-19 on the office market, flexible workspace is likely to be in increased demand and the establishment new hybrid working models is more than likely. What has not been mentioned so far is the role that universities and higher education institutions could play in providing and / or exploiting some of this space.
Flexible Offices: A New Trend
The use of flexible workspaces was obviously a major trend before Covid-19. Office operators with services like WeWork and IWG actively sought out large corporations as clients, leading more traditional owners to also offer some of their office space on a flexible basis to tenants. For large businesses, flexible spaces respond to many of the challenges that preceded and emerged from the pandemic.
While universities themselves can consider accommodating some of their staff in these flexible spaces to reflect new working trends, the greatest openness for them lies in the possibility of becoming workspace owners themselves. flexible.
When these offices are permanently or temporarily underutilized, especially outside of class periods, their short-term rental to third parties can provide additional income.
Universities: A New Coworking Space?
There are a number of solutions that universities can explore to offer spaces in the market, ranging from renting a flexible workspace operator to operating on their own as a flexible operator. In the latter case, there are a growing number of companies which “label” the space so that the university appears as the final owner, but which take care of all the mechanical aspects of the layout, the maintenance. rental and management.
Another benefit for universities, and for all tenants who choose to occupy the space they could provide, is knowledge sharing and community. Historically, the higher education sector has been at the forefront of providing incubation spaces on campuses, science and research parks around the world. Many private sector organizations would appreciate the ability to work close to students and academic staff, and the ability to rent space on campus where idea sharing could be facilitated would be an exciting new option for many businesses.
Some companies already offer such space on their own campuses: Facebook, for example, offers an incubator space in its offices to start-ups and innovators with whom they would like to work in the future.