5 July 2017 | Marino Donati
The number of workers based in business centres and the turnover of providers increased last year, according to research.
A report by the Business Centre Association (BCA) in collaboration with CBRE, says flexible workspace providers are robust and resilient in the face of increasing levels of competition, changing customer requirements, and the political and economic factors that have made other businesses jittery.
The UK Business Centre Market report provides analysis of the performance of flexible workspace providers in 2015 and 2016 using data from more than 600 businesses across the UK.
It says there was an 11 per cent increase in the number of workers based in business centres last year, with provider turnover up 13 per cent.
More than 70 business centres opened in 2015, up significantly from 2013 and 2014, says the report.
More recent centres were smaller on average, and occupancy was down last year at 76 per cent from 80 per cent in 2014.
The report reveals that 35 per cent of operators plan to increase space for co-working facilities this year. Improving technology is a clear focus, adds the study, with 98 per cent of centres offering broadband last year, compared with 74 per cent in 2013.
The BCA says the type of occupiers of business centre space has remained broadly the same over the four years it took to conduct the survey, with business services occupiers making up the largest percentage (27 per cent), followed by the industrial/distribution (22 per cent) sector. However, there are substantial regional variations, it adds.
It also found that occupying firms are slightly smaller but stay longer, with 39 per cent staying more than three years in 2016, up from 14 per cent in 2013.
The BCA concludes that Brexit would affect the sector to a certain extent, although 62 per cent of operators say the referendum result had either had no effect, or a positive effect on business.