These days, “flex space” is becoming a bit of a buzzword, especially when it comes to warehouses. It is a concept that has risen in popularity over the past few decades and seems to hold great appeal for the generation of millenial workers, who are known for their rethinking of traditional ways of doing business. But flex space is not just fashionable – it’s a very practical arrangement that can maximise profits and workplace efficiency for all involved. In this post, we explore what exactly flex space is in the context of warehouses, and how it can be leveraged for business success.
Quite simply, as implied by the first word, flex space is space that can be used for multiple functions or purposes. It is flexible. In homes, a flex room might be a space that can be both a bedroom and study, or a home gym and band practice room at different times. In industrial settings, flex space refers to buildings that can be used in a multitude of different ways. For example, a warehouse, traditionally used for stock storage, moving and packing, can be converted in whole or part to accommodate office or other space. You are no doubt familiar with this; the repurposing of warehouses is a current trend in most cities.
Warehouse space is often used as office space by start-ups and small businesses, and operating premises by panelbeaters and mechanics, sports clubs and even churches and night clubs. In some cases, an area of a warehouse that otherwise continues to operate in a traditional way may be partitioned off as flex space, and in others the entire building may be used – especially if it is standing dormant.
The use of warehouse space for other purposes is sound business practice. It helps bring in extra income for the warehouse owners. It also meets the demand for office and other business or community space – and very effectively. Warehouses tend to be spacious, with high ceilings and robust structures that can support airconditioners and other comforts. They also generally provide ample parking, and are far enough out of city centres that they offer users a sense of calm and a feeling of being away from the hustle and bustle. In addition, warehouse space is relatively affordable – almost always much more so than typical commercial space.
Converting some or all of a warehouse into flex space is a tried and tested way to maximise the use of the premises. It turns what would otherwise be dead, unproductive areas into hives of income and productivity. It is also an environmentally-friendly approach to meeting the needs of businesses and communities, as no new buildings need to be erected. What already exists is simply tweaked and re-used.
There are a multitude of ways in which to make flex warehouse space work. It could be a combination of office, light industrial and typical warehouse space, or even feature retail or other functionalities. Provided that permission is obtained from the relevant zoning authorities, warehouses can be given a wide range of new leases on life. Flex space has already blurred the lines between work spaces and looks set to be part of the future of doing business.