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Published: 22 august 2019 14:18

Expert: Lithuania is one of the most competitive European countries in the collaborative spaces market

Žmonės dirba kūrybiškoje aplinkoje nuotr. / Coworking

Taxi companies have been challenged by Uber, AirBnB is grabbing an increasing share of the hotel market, and now collaborative spaces have brought radical and seemingly lasting change to the office world. According to Mantas Mikalauskas, an analyst at Darnu Group, this is the fastest growing office trend, and today Lithuania offers some of the lowest office accommodation prices in Europe.

“Research done by the world’s leading real estate companies shows that the number of collaborative spaces in Europe has increased by more than 200 percent in the last four years, and the growth rate is not slowing down. This is the fastest growing trend in the office world today. It is predicted that in the 2030s, one-third of the people employed in today’s business centres will work in collaborative spaces”, says M. Mikalauskas, an analyst at Darnu Group, one of the largest companies in Lithuania that creates spaces for living, work and leisure.

Collaborative spaces are fully-equipped, work-friendly premises that are rented for short or longer periods based on the number of workplaces. Such centres typically offer businesses all the services they need: fully equipped and maintained workstations, high-speed internet, meeting rooms, coffee machines, gyms and even rooms for meditation, massage or recreation. Creators of collaborative spaces are increasingly offering administrative, accounting, legal, and information technology services.

“This alternative should not be expected to displace conventional offices that provide comfort and stability in the next decade. The needs of large, long-established, and moderately growing companies are most effectively met by permanent premises designed especially for them. But changes can be seen here as well. The tendency of internal office flexibility is becoming increasingly popular: business centres are designed in such a way that the companies or individual employees located in them have as much freedom as possible to plan and install their original offices and change their interior,” says M. Mikalauskas.

Lithuania is one of the most competitive in Europe

“The Baltic Sea Region today offers the best conditions on the continent for renting a collaborative space, with our average price matched only by Bucharest. By offering such attractive employment opportunities in our country to both domestic and foreign investors, we have enormous potential for rapid development of this field of rental in the future”, says the expert.

According to Darnu Group, in 2018 alone the supply of flexible jobs in the capital increased by 24.5 percent; and this year the market has expanded by more than 5,800 m² of new space. Supply in Vilnius continues to grow at a double-digit rate.

“Collaborative spaces fulfil a new need for flexibility, rapid response and temporary solutions driven by economic change. A decade ago we had barely one. Collaborative spaces in Vilnius are increasingly offered by newly-built business centres. Part of the space is pre-planned for this purpose. The collaborative spaces established in the cosy Old Town are in high demand, and that’s exactly the sort of solution we are considering”, says M. Mikalauskas. According to him, collaborative spaces are planned in the Paupis area, which is under construction.

In the 2030s, one-third of offices will be collaborative spaces

The evolution curve of collaborative spaces over the past decade has been very steep worldwide. The largest commercial office services company in the USA, CBRE Group, estimates that office space growth is at 13 percent per annum globally. In many European countries, the supply of such spaces has increased by a fifth since the economic crisis, while in the US and the United Kingdom it has increased by 10%. The European city offering the largest choice of them remains London, where there are more than 1,000 such centres.

The total number of centres offering collaborative spaces in the world today is almost 18,000. The number of centres is expected to grow to 30,000 over the next four years. And that’s not the end. According to a study published by another US real estate services company, Colliers International, by 2030, collaborative spaces will account for one-third of the global supply of available office real estate worldwide.

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