SOURCE: Global Workspace Association (GWA)

April 25, 2012 09:00 ET

Alternative Workspace Offerings Fostering Small-Business Growth

Citing Strong Growth, On-Demand Workspace Providers Are Enabling Small-Business Growth Despite Challenging Economy

IRVINE, CA--(Marketwire - Apr 25, 2012) - The popularity of virtual offices and other on-demand workspace facilities is soaring as innovative small-business owners -- keen on capitalizing on current market conditions -- leverage flexible workplace strategies to accelerate growth plans.

"Technology advancements, the omnipresence of the online market place and mobility over the past decade have permanently altered the way small businesses operate," said John Jordan, president of the Global Workspace Association (GWA). "Evolving workforce and meeting-place considerations driven by the need for agility and financial flexibility are steering more small-business owners away from long-term fixed costs for office space and operational infrastructure."

Serving companies of all sizes, the shared or serviced workspace sector has grown by 10 percent annually for three years running, according to a July 2011 report by Instant Offices Ltd., a global broker serviced offices and executive suites. Contrastingly, traditional office space occupancy remains weak, according to Reis Inc., which, earlier this month, reported that the sequential office-market vacancy rate dropped just 0.1 percent to 17.2 percent as of March 31, still well above the 12.5-percent mark in 2007.

Although confidence in the current economy among small-business owners rose in February to the second-highest level since December 2007, it is still hovering near historical lows, according to the Small-Business Optimism Index produced by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). The report indicates, however, that innovative entrepreneurs believe that now is a great time to expand and gain market share.

This mix of economic sentiments and the need for truly flexible work environments are fueling the growth in the alternative workspace or so-called workspace-as-a-service industry, which has seen occupancy levels improve, according to the GWA, which represents hundreds of business-center operators and alternative workspace providers globally.

Additionally, GWA members reported strong growth in virtual office services and meeting space reservations, which have particular appeal to mobile and cost-conscious small-business owners requiring physical business addresses, phone and mail services, and on-demand office and meeting-room space. Based on the GWA's most recent survey, year-over-year virtual-office revenue increased by 13.8 percent as a category. Meeting room and day room revenues nearly doubled in the same period.

"Increased market awareness and evolving business models are driving high demand for virtual office services," said Martin Senn, COO of Davinci Virtual Office Solutions, a global provider of virtual offices and meeting space. "New sign-ups grew more than 50 percent in 2011, and the first quarter of 2012 suggests comparable growth going forward."

About the GWA
The Global Workspace Association (GWA) is an international, nonprofit trade association representing business-center owners, co-working facilities, mobile workforce service providers, virtual office operators, managers, support staff and third-party vendors engaged in delivering on-demand, variable-cost, fully serviced office space on flexible terms by the hour, day, week, month or year. For more information about GWA, please visit www.globalworkspace.org or contact Executive Director Richard Meyers at (949) 260-9023 or at rmeyers@globalworkspace.org.

Contact Information

  • Media contact:
    Greg Jones
    (for GWA)
    Email Contact
    (916) 934-3484