Co-working, flexible office space, serviced and shared offices, flexible working, space as a service… These are all terms which have recently been appearing both in real-estate research and in the press – and which turn our understanding of today’s office world on its head. With the digital transformation in full swing, the sharing and gig economies on the rise, and communities of digital natives applying networked, cooperative ways of working, the various new office concepts reflect the reality of these disruptive times.
At the same time, this global co-working / serviced offices phenomenon is not quite as new as it might seem at first sight; in fact, the predecessors of these models go back as far as the late 1980s. The Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO) sums up today’s developments as “knowledge workers with a high degree of independence coming together to work flexibly at a common, institutionalised space with a hierarchy-free social network which opens up a broad range of opportunities for those involved to cooperate”. It’s a model which has been enjoying a global boom in the last ten years, and in Germany, too, there is considerable hype around new ways of working. Nevertheless, there is every reason to expect this trend to become an established part of the commercial real estate market.
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