Demand for temporary office space should remain strong in 2017

Traditionally when businesses first begin, entrepreneurs eventually have to find somewhere to set up their companies.

For startups, the cost of renting or buying a space can be costly with the addition of monthly utility bills and maintenance.

The rise of temporary office space, co-working space and virtual offices has given many startups a more affordable option when it comes to occupying an office in the city.

Firms like Regus, which currently has an Alabama footprint, provide temporary office space to businesses, which enables them to focus on running their companies and not the costs of maintaining their own building.

Regus, and other companies like it also offer more long-term options for companies.

“We have a lot of clients that use us long term,” said Jamie Smith, area manager of Regus in Birmingham. “We have some clients that have been us with ten, even twenty years because they enjoy the amenities available in a shared office. It’s a common misperception that we only help clients that have temporary or small needs.”

According to Regus, the firm offers different office space options, such as traditional “offices,” “part time-offices” and “day offices.”

These option gives the client the flexibility of how often they will use the space. Also Regus offers a furnished work space, office cleanup, 24/7 security and utility costs are included in the price plan.

Regus’ international presence shows the demand for office space, and that has transferred to markets like Birmingham and others in Alabama.

According to Smith, Regus has five locations that occupy 86,000 total square feet in Birmingham.

In addition, the company has recently added new locations in Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile.

Smith said leasing flex office space also brings a diverse clientele.

“Regus works with businesses of all sizes,” Smith said. “From the Fortune 500 firms to start-ups and entrepreneurs, Regus has been helping businesses identify and secure workspaces that are tailored to their specific needs. In Birmingham, we have a mix of clients that reflect the growing sectors in the region, including health care, professional services and technology.”

In regards to office space trends, people prefer open space offices and use less square footage. Smith said this has had an impact on the demand for office space.

“Modern work habits have changed dramatically over the past decade,” Smith said. “People expect flexibility in every facet of their day  . . . and office space is no exception. Locally we have seen an increased interest in co-working options and programs to support remote workers.”

Smith said she does not expect to see a slowdown in the demand for temporary or flex office space anytime soon.

“We expect demand for shared office space, co-working space and virtual offices to continue to be robust. With 1.3 billion people globally working on-the-go, the office is becoming decentralized,” Smith said. “No one is ever offline. Workers need to be in touch with customers and colleagues. As a result, they need access to space and technology on-demand.”

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