Why organisations must give people the space to do their best work

The days of one-size-fits-all office spaces are up. Fora, London’s leading premium and flexible office provider, explains how to build a successful workplace

Hw Fora

London’s office vacancy rates remain nearly double the long-term average, yet against this backdrop, premium flex office provider, Fora – which is part of The Office Group – is bucking the trend. It’s investing in new city centre spaces and actively growing occupancy across its 3.2 million square foot of prime office space. 

Enrico Sanna, CEO of The Office Group, explains: “The office debate seems to have become one of those polarising topics and is often categorised into a discussion over whether or not workers are sitting at their desks. At  Fora, we have long championed the belief that one size never fits all, and that conformity has always led to compromise. 

“By offering high-quality, flexible spaces that match individual work styles, we are providing choice on when and how our members focus, collaborate, learn, socialise and rest.” 

Fora has recently rebranded following a merger to become London’s leading provider of premium flexible workspaces. Today, it has more than 70 premium workspaces across London, Cambridge, Reading, Bristol, Leeds, Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg, and has opened five new workspaces in the last year alone. True to Sanna’s commitment that one size cannot fit all, each is tailored to reflect both the local character and universal needs. 

“Each business is different and the needs of one might vary wildly from the other, which is why at Fora we work closely with each of our customers to create space tailored for their specific requirements,” he says.

“Yet, while each of our workspaces has its own unique character and is tailored to both the local neighbourhood and individual business’ needs, we also know that our members seek similar facilities that give them the autonomy to choose how they work throughout the day. That’s why in our largest space, Chancery House, we dedicate over a quarter of our space to shared amenities, such as a fully equipped gym and fitness studio, as well as breakout areas and focus booths.”

Chancery House has proved to be the perfect workspace for premium lifestyle apparel brand Pangaia. It was on the hunt for a location which could not only meet the immediate needs of its team, but easily scale as the business grew. The array of meeting spaces, wellness facilities, café and rooftop terrace all amplify Pangaia’s commitment to work-life balance, sustainability and environmental responsibility, matching the beliefs and real needs of its team.

Research carried out by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) on behalf of Fora reflects how important it is to match the workspace to the real needs of workers. Some 44% of office workers in the UK feel their performance is being compromised by their current working conditions, rising to half (51%) of those under 35. 

Each of us works in different ways and our work styles are as individual to us as our lifestyles

Enrico Sanna, CEO of The Office Group

A quarter of those studied by the IES highlight that their employers misunderstand their individual workstyle, with workers requiring flexibility and different facilities through the working day and working week. This appears to support Sanna’s assertion that the workspaces of today need to cater to every mode of work, with areas to focus, collaborate, learn, socialise or rest.

“Each of us works in different ways, and our work styles are as individual to us as our lifestyles,” Sanna comments. “Sometimes we need space and quiet in which to focus, other times we need to burn off some energy and bounce ideas around with colleagues away from our desks. We often talk about the office in terms of the physical, the desk and chair, but I believe this is far less important than the overall experience. At Fora, we give individuals and teams the freedom to work in ways that support their individual style, empowering them to manage their wellbeing and creating a more balanced and meaningful work experience for everyone.” 

Giving people the freedom to perform at their best

Fora is trusted by clients such as Ocado, GSK and KPMG, which recognise that the office is not a commodity, but a vital element in creating communities, sparking innovation and collaboration, and fostering employee wellbeing. It works to help progressive business leaders provide extraordinary experiences for their employees that elevate the working day, boosting productivity, efficiency and job satisfaction.

Employers choosing a premium office approach like Fora’s get to offer the flexibility of multiple locations and premium facilities to their team from day one, with the opportunity to book extra meeting rooms, presentation spaces or workspace on demand.

One such business at the cutting edge of modern lifestyles is the British Fashion Council, which worked with Fora to redefine the working experience for its employees and embrace flexible working in the post-pandemic era. It’s prime Central London location in Fora’s Broadwick Street workspace delivers a vibrant community, top-notch amenities and an engaging atmosphere in the heart of Soho. The move into Fora has exceeded the British Fashion Council’s expectations, providing a dynamic and inspiring setting that sparks creativity and innovation among its employees.

It’s not just employees demanding more of a workplace, as businesses are increasingly demanding tailored solutions that scale up or down depending on their evolving requirements. 

Sanna says the flex office sector is particularly effective at providing businesses with the opportunity to adapt as their business needs change, through flexible terms and a collection of spaces they can tailor. According to Re-Leased, 10 year leases, which were considered the norm 15 years ago, now account for less than 5% of leases and Sanna says, in terms of costs, flexible arrangements needn’t be more expensive.

“Signing an agreement for three years or less that maximises your use of space and can grow with you is often a more attractive financial proposition than a 10-year lease where space either lies empty for years, or colleagues are crushed into spaces that hold back their success,” he explains. 

“For most of our clients, we’re actually providing a cost saving when compared to the traditional leases they had before, as our fee includes everything from utilities and insurance, to our concierge service and tech support.”

Sanna’s ambition to grow Fora is palpable and, having already built the business into London’s largest provider of premium, flex office space, he has clear plans for the future. “By leading, challenging and setting the standard for what the workspace experience should be, we are empowering people to create their best work in their own unique way.

“We want everyone to feel inspired by their place of work and are looking forward to a future where we all work in dynamic workspaces that accommodate our individual work styles. It’s the only future I see.” 

For more information, please visit foraspace.com