Case Study

Work Better: Giving clients technology that works

A High-End Alternative

The Work Better technology platform is something that we pride ourselves on. We provide a higher end alternative  to several of the purely community focused coworking spaces, with a significant focus on high-value services and the provision of a superior technology platform. We were one of the first companies within the market to introduce redundant sources of bandwidth, introduced PoE switching, gigabit speed infrastructure, and Wi-Fi. We have continued to be at the forefront in that regard through the years, most recently with our migration to Essensys.

Over the last 14 years, we have had to make our business significantly more agile — creating the ability to be proactive and reactive simultaneously. In 2003, we were ahead of the game in providing flexible solutions. But, that flexibility was always seen relative to the next best alternative, which, at the time, was traditional workspaces leased for a minimum of 3-5 years by a landlord that would take anywhere from 3-6 months to negotiate and source.

flexible-workspace-31-01-20
HOW WORK BETTER DIFFERENTIATE TO DELIVER AN EXPERIENCE

Office Links, our old brand name, was part of the move that changed this paradigm. However, as the re-branded Work Better, we have to compete in a shared-workspace and serviced office environment against companies that understand the demand for agility and flexible contracts. To respond, we have had to take things to the next level.

Essensys originally reached out to us about two or three years ago. Our existing technology solutions and infrastructure provider wasn’t cutting it anymore. We had gotten away from having a simple means of managing our technology infrastructure and were not capable of being as agile and solutions focused as we wanted to be. It got to the point where we were working with over a dozen different vendors, including different service providers and ISPs. The migration to Essensys allowed us to grossly simplify the day-to-day management of our technology systems and our business.

In making this choice it would be an understatement to say that we did our due diligence. We had our technology team do a deep dive into Essensys’ platform and make sure it was capable of handling not only our needs, but those of our customers and members. We then allowed our operations team to spend a couple of months doing demos to make sure that it was a universal improvement on our existing platform and possible competitors.

“essensys’ ability to supply smart technology allows us to focus on the services that define our businesses”

A PARTNERSHIP THAT WILL ONLY GROW

In making this choice it would be an understatement to say that we did our due diligence. We had our technology team do a deep dive into Essensys’ platform and make sure it was capable of handling not only our needs, but those of our customers and members. We then allowed our operations team to spend a couple of months doing demos to make sure that it was a universal improvement on our existing platform and possible competitors.

We undertook this change in order to allow our teams to focus significantly more time on servicing our client’s needs and avoid troubleshooting issues and dealing with vendors for a myriad of different technology platforms.

I believe that our partnership with Essensys will continue to grow as they are dedicated to advancing their platform and product within the marketplace and retaining the level of commitment to our business that we saw during the migration. The transition process was one of the smoother, if not the smoothest technology migrations of that scale that we have ever done. These things are never as easy as you think. The difficulty of a transition, along with maintaining and running a business, begins and ends with the quality of people that are on your team. I would consider Essensys as a partner to that end.

Long term, I am quite bullish about the industry and the business overall. I see the macro trends within the marketplace pointing towards more businesses wanting the kind of flexibility and scalability that our industry and business offers them. In the short term, I see some challenges surrounding the large number of inexperienced competitors creating oversupply, among other things. However, in time, a lot of that should even out. It is my opinion that the ability of a company to effectively compete in this industry is going to become less about their ability to market and brand themselves, and more about how well they — as a business — are able to execute on their bundle of promises.

A number of general advances in software, technology, demand in the marketplace and growth of awareness regarding flexible workspaces are allowing us to build the business that we envisioned 5-7 years ago. The world seems to have finally caught up with our vision. We are now at a point where we can actually start to focus on building and growing the business in the manner that we have always wanted to. If I had to summarise my position in one word, it would be: excited.

We are currently at 6 locations. At a minimum, we hope to triple that business over the next 2-3 years — possibly expanding into new markets. Within a shorter time span, we are looking to open 3 new locations that will allow us to test a few theories that we have around what the future of this industry and workspace design will look like. We are undertaking a certain amount of measured growth to prepare the business for another round of larger and more explosive growth beyond that. I want to make sure that my team is fully enabled, empowered and capable of executing on the growth in a manner that is highly scalable and repeatable.

A workspace that enables its members to work better

We have gone through a full transformation — that includes technology, but also the business itself. That was a significant purpose and reasoning behind our decision to rebrand. Work Better, to me, means a business that enables its members to work better — office space and desk space is only one aspect of that. Office Links was a business that was very much rooted in bricks and mortar — rooted in physical space alone — whereas we want to be better aligned with the success of our members. It is a broader mandate.

I think that technology will continue to play a significant role in our ability to provide products and services. The whole world of business, and the world in general is evolving in that direction. However, we are, at our heart, a people business. Technology can only enable the delivery of that service. Essensys’ ability to supply technology allows us to focus on the services that define our business. I would say that Essensys is the single best technology platform for our industry that I have seen in my 14 years of experience. I feel strongly about the platform we are building, the vision that we have already established and our ability to execute on both moving forward.

“The transition process was one of the smoother, if not the smoothest technology migrations of that scale that we have ever done”

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