2015 was a great year for office sharing. More and more businesses began to see the beauty of being able to avoid the long-term commitment of a commercial lease while they focused on growing their company. Over the past year, we’ve seen all sorts of businesses embracing alternatives to the traditional cubicle-filled office like office-sharing and remote work. Here at PivotDesk, we saw a 300% increase in bookings in the first quarter of 2015 compared to that period in 2014.
While the spaces we handle vary widely, we do see certain characteristics that are most in demand. Here’s a look at some of those, and some thoughts on why they’re what a lot of businesses were looking for this year.
Our most demanded spaces were all located in NYC — which is not surprising for 2 reasons. First: It’s New York. In areas such as the neighborhoods south of 34th street, the city has the lowest vacancy rate coupled with the highest increase in rent prices in the entire US. Second: We made a deliberate decision this year to focus our work on the New York market. We found that all of our top locations are in Manhattan, and they are all situated near Broadway and the N/R/Q line. In fact, all of the top 5 properties were within one block of a train stop.
When you consider the demographics for business owners and the employees they’re looking for, this makes a lot of sense. Millennials make up the majority of the U.S. workforce, and they show a preference for working in urban centers, near city amenities and transportation options. And for those companies that employ commuters, proximity to rail stations is key.
Interestingly, while the average cost of a space on PivotDesk increased slightly over the course of 2015, the average cost of the most in demand spaces was lower. This can probably be chalked up to the growth in number of postings overall that the platform manages.
The average price of those most in-demand spaces this year was $490 — quite a bargain when you consider the benefits of office sharing versus leasing. By comparison, consider that the average per employee cost of renting commercial space in NYC is a staggering $14,800. With office sharing, businesses can find ideal space in the location they want without the overhead, fees, and commitment of a lease.
The office spaces in highest demand this year all provided a number of amenities in addition to an individual desk. Again, appealing to the millennial ideal for the workplace, they include desirable features like flexible workspace options, access to conference rooms and kitchens, standing desks and a strong tech infrastructure. These workspaces are also generally dog-friendly, and provide workers with access to snacks and coffee — and yes, beer — right in the office. These extras set the top spaces apart, and they’re increasingly expected in a modern workplace.
We continue to see early-stage companies making use of our top properties, allowing themselves time for growth and building their company culture. Without the expense and risk of a traditional commercial lease, these businesses can focus on attracting and retaining the best possible talent. The characteristics of our top properties are instrumental in making that happen.
If this year is anything like 2015, we can expect an avalanche of new office sharing postings, and those that cater to employee expectations for amenities and location will likely be in highest demand.
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