In my capacity as a National Sales Director at Expansive, Real Estate and Workplace Directors often ask me, “how do we adapt to a hybrid work real estate strategy while preserving our corporate culture and a consistent work experience for our employees?”
With as much change as this industry has seen over the past two years, it’s not a surprising question. Companies of all sizes are grappling with how to adapt to changing needs fast. JLL reported in December 2021 that 41% of tenants expect to increase their use of flex workspace. By 2030, they project it to represent 30% of the commercial real estate market. There are a lot of layers to be unpacked with this question.
There are many reasons why so many corporations are considering flexible workspace right now. Let’s unpack the three I hear most often:
The turnaround time to get up & running in most coworking spaces is 24 hours. This is a big advantage and effective strategy for companies looking to launch business operations in a particular market quickly without a tedious long-term build-out.
Why sign a 5+ year lease when you don’t have a adequate grasp of the growth trajectory for the team in that city? Beyond the benefit of a shorter lease term for GAAP liability reasons, flexible office space alleviates the frustration of being locked into a long-term lease with no option to upsize or downsize as employee demands change.
Employees thrive in shared environments as there are other companies to network/interact with, a variety of areas offered for activity-based work, and additional amenities like a free coffee cafe and lounge, happy hour events, etc. which can enhance employee happiness.
Now, there are four topics I’ve found Real Estate and People Directors pay the most attention to in considering this transition: the employee, network security, space design, and ongoing resources.
PEOPLE are, hands-down, their number one focus.The pressure on leaders to care for their employees and provide all the necessary resources is on display now more than ever before. Just as a company takes the care and time to onboard employees properly from day one, this same care needs to go into their orientation to a new work environment, whether it’s coworking or a traditional office. An on-site Community Manager, IT support team and Sales Manager are three key success factors of a seamless transition. While flex workspaces are meant to be turn-key concepts, on-site staff are there for a reason as the go-to resource for their clients.
Expansive, for example, offers a range of products tailored for different employee needs – from a part-time workspace Access Pass to dedicated suite space which includes a private kitchen, furnished conference room and smaller collaboration spaces like huddle rooms.
It’s nothing new to hear a corporate client ask what IT solutions are available to ensure their private office suite is fully protected. Cybersecurity is incredibly important to all companies in this day and age. Flexspace operators should all offer the infrastructure in place for a safe, secure and fast working environment, with a staircase of off-the-shelf packages on hand to cater to specific needs. These might include variations for different levels of dedicated bandwidth, private VLANs, private WiFi, on-site coalition (rack space), and more. At Expansive, these enterprise-grade solutions can be purchased a la carte or as a bundle.
Each company has its own unique, carefully curated brand and company culture. It is critical that these brands shine through at any “owned” location where their employees and customers might do business with them. This is why Expansive ensures the company’s brand is front & center. From the logo on their office door to the directory at the lobby entrance for their employees, clients and investors to see, to the decor in dedicated offices or suites. We encourage clients to live their brand! Painting the walls, hanging custom art and fixtures, bringing personalized furniture, and transforming the space into the formats and productive spaces needed to drive their business – Expansive supports all these actions to make space your own and tether a new workspace to the mothership visually and culturally.
It’s been important for corporate clients to recognize that though shifting to flexible workspace is a change, they are not alone in making the transition. Well-established operators like Expansive have additional in-house resources available to assist, including a Workplace Design & Development team for custom build-out requests, in-house IT Support to address the items mentioned above, a Property Management team, and Corporate Events team for corporate retreat, onboarding, and training gatherings.
We help leaders who love being nimble in the face of change but hate not having the support and data to implement these changes. This is where flexspace can truly shine by helping ease organizations into a hybrid work real estate strategy without sacrificing a positive work experience. Sure it’s a change, but it should be an enhancement with advantages that you wouldn’t necessarily think about or have in a traditional office space – win/win.
For more insights on how our locations can inform your hybrid success, contact us or visit Expansive.com/enterprise