Bacolod among PH’s hotspots for flexible workspace

Erwin P. Nicavera

BEING one of the most competitive locations for businesses outside Metro Manila, Bacolod City is listed by global real property services company Colliers International Philippines as among the hotspots for flexible workspace in the country.

Joey Roi Bondoc, research manager of Colliers International Philippines, Thursday, March 8, said business process outsourcing (BPOs) and knowledge process outsourcing (KPOs) firms planning to enter Bacolod City may start with flexible workspace first then expand to bigger office buildings.

He said the local information and communication technology (ICT) council and local government have also been supportive in fostering an environment that encourages innovation and support start-ups.

“This should propel demand for flexible workspace in Bacolod City moving forward,” Bondoc said, adding that the demand is basically driven by robust business activities.

Colliers defines flexible workspace as any workplace that allows short-term leases, with a minimum size of one seat, fully-furnished and ready-to-use.

These workspaces may be private, shared, or a combination of both, offering scalability. They may also include other services like telephone lines, meeting rooms, and a receptionist, among others.

In the Philippine market, the three major classifications of flexible workspaces are serviced offices, hosted services firms, and co-working spaces, it added.

In its 2018 Flexible Workspace Outlook Report, Colliers said it sees the implementation of the Go Negosyo Act and the National Broadband Deal driving the growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and this should propel businesses.

The company said the enactment of the first package of the comprehensive tax reform program also bodes well for small enterprises as the law simplifies tax filing and payment processes.

“Eventually, the expansion of small businesses’ activities should have a positive impact on flexible workspace demand across the country,” it said, adding that aside from Bacolod City other potential areas outside for Metro Manila for flexible workspace demand include Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao.

Maricris Sarino, associate director for Office Services of Colliers International Philippines, said given the range of end-users in flexible workspace, they expect a wide geographical spread, and operators will likely set up several smaller sites rather than fewer large scale sites due to challenges in transport infrastructure.

For this reason, space within retail malls may be repositioned as flexible workspace, Sarino said.

“We expect international flexible workspace operators to penetrate the Philippine market this year, though given the nuances of the domestic market this will likely be in partnership with local developers or investors, and in some cases via acquisitions,” she added.