Demand for flexible SME working spaces set to soar

71% of SMEs expect shared and flexible working space to be a top priority in the future
Over two fifths (42%) rate space flexibility over location when looking for new premises
SME growth hindered by costly and time-intensive conveyancing process

New research from the UK’s leading network of solicitors, QualitySolicitors reveals that demand for flexible co-working space is set to soar, with 71% of SMEs predicting this to be a top business priority.

The survey of 250 SME decision makers across the UK shows it’s no longer location, location, location: over two fifths (42%) rate having a flexible and adaptable space where they can grow as more important. Additionally, almost a fifth (18%) of SMEs say it’s important to be able to interact and collaborate on ideas with other businesses in their premises, with 39% looking for a workspace with networking opportunities.

It’s not just the space that needs to be flexible however; over half (54%) want flexible, short term lets when negotiating their lease and 53% would demand a break clause to prevent them from being tied down if the space is no longer practical.

The study also indicates SME growth could be hindered as a result of the complex conveyancing process. Almost half (47%) admit they have been put-off or stopped looking for a new premises as a result of the cost and time associated with moving premises, with 30% pinpointing the process of finding the right kind of space and location as being the most challenging aspect for them.

Michael Sandys, commercial property conveyancing expert at QualitySolicitors comments: “It’s clear from this research that the traditional, one size-fits-all approach to commercial property conveyancing is no longer valid. SMEs now want a different kind of workspace, which offers flexible space and networking opportunities to boost efficiencies and maximise the space. They don’t want to be tied down, so we’re seeing more and more businesses demanding shorter, less restrictive leases to give them the freedom to move around if they need to.

“Unfortunately, it seems the increasingly complex needs for modern SMEs is putting many off the commercial property conveyancing process, which is in turn impacting their business growth. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Whether you need advice on a flexible leasing agreement, the right location or a negotiation on your lease, we’re committed to offering practical advice to make the conveyancing process as pain free as possible.”

Top five things SMEs look for when negotiating a lease:

  1. Repair works covered by landlord
  2. Right to renew the lease when it comes to an end
  3. Cost of shared services and facilities
  4. Flexible, short term let
  5. Break clause

QualitySolicitors has produced some top tips to help SMEs through the commercial conveyancing process, available here:

About QualitySolicitors:

  • Launched in 2010, QualitySolicitors is a group of law firms across the country working as part of the QualitySolicitors brand. Only one firm per local area is selected to become a QualitySolicitors partner. Customer feedback forms an integral part of the selection process.
  • QualitySolicitors’ national network of lawyers consists of over 100 branches across England and Wales.
  • QualitySolicitors lawyers are experts in their fields dealing with both consumer and SME legal matters. QualitySolicitors offers a personal, local service but with the assurance of a recognised national brand.
  • QualitySolicitors’ website address is
  • In 2011 QualitySolicitors secured equity investment from Palamon Capital Partners, a private equity house with a £700m fund.

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