Last edited 18 Sep 2020

Workplace as a Service WaaS

Contents

[edit] Introduction

Workplace as a Service (WaaS, also referred to as coworking) allows individuals or organisations to rent space for a short period of time (typically in monthly slots). Sometimes several individuals from the same organisation will cowork at the same location.

[edit] History

The concept of Workplace as a Service has existed for many years. Its informal origins are linked to computer hackers in the 1990s. This paved the way for tech incubator, Sunshine Suites, to launch a more official version of the concept in 2001.

Workplace as a Service became became more widely available in the mid-2000s, when growth in the tech sector escalated with the emergence of numerous startups. As small (sometimes one person) companies were established, the demand for full service workplaces on a smaller scale grew. In a short period of time, WaaS increased in popularity and organisations - not just individuals - began to consider it as part of their corporate real estate portfolio strategy.

[edit] The need for flexibility

Numerous vendors offer WaaS for an agreed upon monthly fee, which includes whatever services are both available and required. This may include:

Since it does away with the need for a long-term agreement, this arrangement appeals to startups and entrepreneurs. It is also an attractive option for small- to medium-sized enterprises. These firms may have less money to spend on offices and have less certainty of their office needs in the near future.

Larger corporations can see the Workplace as a Service model as a way to provide flexible and tailored options for employees, It may be suitable for employees who work remotely but require appropriate accommodation when on location with a client or during a visit to the headquarters or another satellite office. It can also be useful for independent contractors, outside consultants, telecommuters and other offsite workers. It may also offer an option for temporary expansion, when long-term needs are uncertain.

As workplaces respond to changing requirements caused by COVID-19, some facilities managers may look to Workplace as a Service when they design reconfigured facilities for the return of staff. Additionally, some employees may wish to change their work from home routines (which may include distractions) by requesting WaaS arrangements with other coworkers, particularly if there is a need for in-person collaboration or concerns about isolation.

In addition to Workplace as a Service models for offices, there are industry-specific offerings emerging, for example in the event and retail sectors.

[edit] Most active markets

Global adoption of Workplace as a Service has not been consistent. Asia has been most receptive to the concept, followed by the United States. Europe ranks third, although the U.K. - and London in particular - has been an active market.

Its rapid growth has been seen as a possible way for city planners to address the decline of high street retail in urban centres.

In the UK, WaaS has been used to foster collaboration for the Government’s One Public Estate programme, which was launched in 2013.

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