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The UK’s Coworking Spaces Are The Emptiest In Europe


Workers are returning to the UK’s flexible offices more slowly than in other European countries, new data shows.

Building occupancy in UK flexible offices is just 23%, according to survey data from Workthere, the flexible office advisory division of Savills. That compares to 35% in Spain, 43% in Ireland, 55% in Germany and 57% in the Netherlands. The survey looked at the proportion of people turning up to occupy their space up to mid-July.

The findings mirror data on the return to the office in the UK more generally. Analysis from Morgan Stanley showed 34% of British workers had returned to the office by the start of August, compared to an average of 68% in Continental Europe. 

Workthere’s data showed the UK flexible office sector lagging European peers in other metrics. Almost a fifth (19%) of members had not renewed their contracts, the highest nonrenewal rate in Europe, ahead of Spain at 16%. In the Netherlands the figure is 8%. 

Just over a third (35%) of members of UK flex office operators had asked for rent relief, lower than the 36% of members in Ireland and Spain, but higher than the 8% and 9% in Germany and the Netherlands, respectively. 

But to some degree the UK is in better shape than European peers, because it started from a higher base. Even with its higher cancellation rate, the UK’s operators are expecting a contracted occupancy rate of 71% at the end of August — even if people aren’t coming in to the office, they are still paying their rent. That is the second-highest figure in Europe after the Netherlands at 74%.

And 88% of the UK operators surveyed by Workthere said they were feeling confident about the next 12 months, again behind only the Netherlands.