How can building owners start their flexible journey?
Starting your flexible workspace journey can feel daunting. There are great rewards to be had by utilising this type of space within a portfolio’s product mix, but there are things to understand and assess before delivering a flexible workspace.
First things first – what are the different types of flexible spaces?
- Co-working space – shared workspace that can be used by employees from different companies.
- Spec suites – fully furnished space where employees just need to plug in to be connected.
- Amenity space – common areas from the lobby to the roof garden.
- Multi-tenanted offices – building in which several companies are located and rent office space.
Secondly, how a space looks, and the amenities offered are important, but connectivity is fundamental in building flexible workspaces.
Without connectivity (whether that be wireless or wired networks) a flexible workspace would not run.
It is the foundation required to deliver a connected tenant experience throughout a space. It enables WiFi, access control, the booking of rooms and amenities and tenant experience apps (for example) to work in a seamless way.
In today’s office market, enterprise-grade connectivity is demanded by occupiers but they are willing to pay a premium for it. In addition to the occupier experience, a connected building means the ability to efficiently scale propositions within a building or portfolio-wide.
Now we’ve covered the basics of flexible workspace, it’s time to start mapping out your flexible journey. James Lowery, Chief Customer Officer at essensys, shares some tips below:
Be clear on why you are looking at flexible space and what you are trying to achieve.
The world of flex is a vast one, with flexibility meaning different things to different people. It can be about providing flexible amenity space in a larger building, or across a campus to drive value. It could mean letting smaller flexible spaces that might otherwise sit vacant, or it could mean building a new co-working brand for example. It’s important to understand exactly what type of flexibility you want to deliver, and why it works for you and your customers.
Understand what capabilities you have in-house. Delivering flexible space takes resource.
As you start to build out your strategy, it is important that you look at where you have gaps and how you can fill them. This can be anything from whether you use technology to remove operational complexity, through to who will run the space. The details matter, for example, the development capability for building office blocks is different to fitting out flexible space – so you should make sure you are prepared in the right way.
Commit to your plan.
It takes focus, drive and support from across all parts of the business to bring flexible space to life. It is best to start small and test your assumptions, and then execute on your growth plan from there. Spec suite space is a great starting point, as it is less operationally complex than a fully flexible co-working space, so that is an option for those looking to take the first steps to reaping the benefits of flex.
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