What is Flexible Space?

By Becca Chiaravalle

As the business world continues to modernize, we hear a lot of terms like “shared space,” “coworking,” and “flexible space.” We hear about how brilliant the shared economy is, but what does it mean for commercial space? What’s the difference between the three terms and to whom does each apply? I know it can get confusing, but the shared economy is definitely something to get on board with. So let’s break down the meaning of these terms and who they’re beneficial for.

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Flexible space, shared space, and coworking—what are they?

Coworking is when multiple people and/or businesses work in the same area. This is great for startups and freelancers, as it typically offers both open and private space. It tends to cultivate an environment that values collaboration and community. Coworking memberships can be pricey, but they typically cost less than leasing commercial space.

Shared space is nearly synonymous with flexible space. These options are slightly more private than coworking spaces, as it doesn’t usually feature shared spaces where people work together but independently like coworking does. To imagine shared space, think about an extra room in a church; it can be used as a business’s office space, art studio, therapist's office, or even a preschool. The space is empty but flexible, ready to be used by someone with ideas and a need for space.

Now that we’ve gone over the shared space definition, let’s talk about the specifics.

Types of flexible space

There are many different types of space that can be used for alternative purposes, to name a few:

  • Gyms
  • Churches
  • Offices 
  • Studios
  • Commercial Kitchens

Now, it’s time to get creative.

  • A regular gym can be used by freelance personal trainers, coaches (powerlifting, Olympic lifting, martial arts), or fitness classes (kettlebells, yoga).
  • Churches have an abundance of flexible space to include gymnasiums, offices, empty rooms, and kitchens. This opens up space for communities of bakers, chefs, entrepreneurs, team sports, church plants, and coaches.
  • Offices have the ability to offer coworking space or private space for developing businesses, or even artists, looking for a studio. 
  • Studios can work for dancers, yoga instructors, and much more.

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Purpose of flexible space

The belief that every business needs its own building is changing. Buildings are being abandoned, leaving cities with empty buildings and no one to take care of them. 

No one needs their own personal library (though some of us would enjoy it), so why do all businesses need their own space? If every business had their own space, cities would become even less sustainable.

Flexible space combats this issue of abandonment, as many businesses are able to use the buildings for however long they need and move on when the time is right. This directly addresses sustainability in cities, but it also does a lot for the individual (or business).

Using a flexible or shared space allows business to use space while avoiding a long-term contract they may not be ready for. Instead of signing a five-year lease in the beginning stages of a business, sharing space offers a more financially sound option that decreases risk.

Space sharing isn’t just for new businesses. Growing businesses everywhere are getting into space sharing for the flexibility, community, and sometimes, even the collaboration. Instead of being separated into different buildings, many businesses are benefiting from the ability to share ideas and work together.

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Before you go

Consider the benefits of utilizing flexible space, as it may be the perfect solution for you and your business. We can help you find the perfect space that you might not have ever considered. Let SpaceTogether help you by signing up here, or click the little blue circle in the corner with any questions.

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