To reach around-the-clock revenue, spaces need to fulfill the promise of the category name and remain flexible — reimagining product offerings based on the unique needs of the individuals using the spaces.
• In industries ranging from gyms to hotels and airlines, the challenge of monetizing downtime is not a new one.
• Saturdays see higher space utilization than Fridays, hinting at a potential shift in hybrid work dynamics.
• When pricing your subscription products, account for underutilization to create compelling bundled rates. Look at your working product with fresh eyes.
In the evolving landscape of work, we are seeing a notable shift away from the traditional five-day office model and settling into a well-defined three-day-a-week zone. Insights from The Workthere Flexmark 4.0 Global Flexible Office Benchmark indicate a decline in the frequency of employees working two, four, or five days a week in the office — accompanied by a substantial rise in those opting for a three-day workweek at the office.
Studies indicate that hybrid work is great news for business profitability and employee productivity and well-being. At the same time, the decline in space utilization is challenging for flexible workspace providers and landlords who seek to monetize space that is currently empty.
In industries ranging from gyms to hotels and airlines, the challenge of monetizing downtime is not a new one. The question at hand is simple: How can we establish a 24/7 workspace and generate revenue around the clock?
To explore this, Thomas Proctor (Founder/CEO at NCG and NCG Energy), John Allen (Digital Director at Bruntwood), Jane Sartin (Executive Director at the Flexible Space Association), and I got together to explore solutions.
Tom presented a compelling insight from NCG network data: Saturdays see higher space utilization than Fridays, hinting at a potential shift in hybrid work dynamics. Perhaps we are settling into a hybrid work rhythm where individuals are more inspired and producing better work on Saturdays vs. Fridays.
Examining spaces like Aldgate Tower in London, he shared the story of a language school operating from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., challenging traditional usage patterns. Moreover, technological innovations are reshaping the hybrid work landscape, with platforms tailored to align space and usage. One platform offers space ranging from barber spaces to music video studios and schools, emphasizing a departure from generic workspace offerings.
As Digital Director at Bruntwood, John’s contribution focused on the power of technology to better service individual users. He explained, “I believe the industry needs a change of mindset. A big idea. For me, that big idea was shifting away from B2B-centric, and property-centric space conversations to conversations with customers, and more importantly end users.” The challenge the category faces is that, unless you’re doing a one-to-one transaction with a small business, you don’t have insight into who is using the space, and you don’t know who is in the space in real time.
John sees an opportunity to build a one-to-one personal relationship with real people in real-time. By understanding the behavior of that individual, you gain insight into the products to put in front of them that are appropriate to their need, adding value and delighting each person on every experience.
Boost occupancy, win more deals, and achieve a greater NOI by giving corporate occupiers the flexibility
they need. Expansive operates 3.7 million square feet of flex workspace nationwide. Partner with us to bring
this agility to your property.
John underscored that technology is truly at the core of enabling this shift. Onboarding the concepts of customer relationship management is key in addition to the systemizing of inventory. Bringing these two components together enables the business to create compelling product solutions that are more attractive to people based on their needs on a given day and time. Additionally, these systems will enable the buyer to purchase according to their comfort level, whether it be online, in person, or a combination of the two.
Ultimately when providers measure behavioral response, they make better decisions that enable the combination of services and experiences to build recipes for new products, John concluded.
As Executive Director of the Flexible Space Association, Jane brought a broad perspective to the discussion, having worked with just about every flexible workspace provider in the category! Jane referenced a study conducted by Landmark stating that 51% of those surveyed remained tied to their traditional working day. “That means that nearly half aren’t, so the way people work is changing and it’s not just within those nine to five,” she said.
She noted that flexible workspace providers are implementing innovative solutions to accommodate the shift. “One of our member companies, Desk Lodge in Bristol, has a product which offers a private office for one, two or three days a week, and they are treating those customers just as they do any others and they’re part of the community and have access to events and private day offices.”
Jane highlighted the growing demand for event space, with providers extending hours for 24/7 programming and offering special event packages. There’s a rising trend of companies securing flexible workspace for filming, with providers now registering on platforms that manage space bookings for documentaries, television shows, and music videos. Jane concluded by noting that, “flexible workspaces is flexible, and I think people are becoming increasingly imaginative about how it can be used and that there are endless ways of doing things. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all, as there are opportunities for everyone in different ways.”
To reach around-the-clock revenue, spaces need to fulfill the promise of the category name and remain flexible
— reimagining product offerings based on the unique needs of the individuals using the spaces.
I find inspiration daily in reimagining our product. During our session I introduced four ideas:
1. Much like gyms, which capitalize successfully on downtime by offering different memberships, we can do the same in the flexible workspace industry. Many providers are offering coworking memberships. But there is more opportunity to offer subscription, recurring revenue products.
When pricing your subscription products, account for underutilization to create compelling bundled rates. Look at your working product with fresh eyes and consider only offering a five-day-a-week product. If you have not already, consider introducing subscriptions for dedicated desks, meeting rooms, network, and content packages. Just as with gyms, we can use subscriptions to optimize usage and pricing to make the most of underutilized space.
2. The second point underscores Tom, Jane, and John’s points to reimagine the space. Break down the constraints of brick and mortar and invest in high-impact, low-cost space changes that enable a greater variety of use cases for the space.
3. Be thoughtful about discounting strategies; instead focus on right price, right time. Products like day passes respond well to discounts. Discounting meeting rooms may result in the same number of meetings only at a reduced rate.
4. And finally, measure everything. Start with the end in mind. Use technology wisely to track those key performance indicators where you know you can pull a lever to impact change, and commit to continuous optimization.
The workspace revolution is in full swing and the results on business and human performance are positive. Flexible workspace providers hold the key to enabling and enhancing work and human performance. The resounding message from our thought leaders is to reimagine the product offering based on the unique needs of the individuals using the spaces. Draw upon technology to inform and enable change, and fulfill the promise of our category name and remain flexible.