UAE seeks 'flexible' office space to manage financial risks

The demand for 'flexible' commercial real estate is growing as the UAE's businesses look for ways to cut costs amid 'volatile' market conditions, a new study has found

Businesses are looking to flexible workspaces in the UAE as they seek cost-optimisation [representational image].
Businesses are looking to flexible workspaces in the UAE as they seek cost-optimisation [representational image].

UAE businesses are found to be opting for ‘flexible’ real estate as ‘volatile’ market conditions increase their operating risk and reduce cost-efficiency.

A study by International Workplace Group (IWG) found that 91% of its 18,000 respondents believe flexible working “helps them to grow their business and maximise profits”. Meanwhile, 84% of the UAE’s business leaders said flexible workspaces helped them “mitigate against […] financial and strategic risks”.

Additionally, 84% of the study’s respondents said flexible working helped them better manage “volatile markets”, and 87% believe it would help with cost-optimisation.

Commenting on these findings, Vassilis Bazinis, country manager in the UAE for Regus – part of IWG – said: “Business leaders are starting to recognise the strategic and financial benefits that workplace revolution brings to them. Risk managers are paying close attention to their property portfolios and are now realising that the new weapon in their arsenals – real estate.

READ: New UAE laws may spur growth in Dubai's office market

“Companies can save significant costs on real estate that they outsource, sometimes as much as 50% or more. Reducing long leases, capital expenditure and overall costs provides a financial boost that helps financial risk.”

Workspace flexibility is not new to the Middle East, or even the GCC, where employees are said to seek greater ease in their working environment.

In May 2016, more than 75% of respondents told the Middle East Office Productivity Survey that needed more flexibility in their working environment to be productive.

Of those surveyed, 40% said that they suffer from noise disturbance and over half (51%) reported feeling seriously impacted by interruptions.

More than two thirds (37%) of Middle East respondents said a lack of environmental control – including access to air-conditioning settings – negatively affected their productivity.

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