Though there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are strategic ways to think about offering a flexible working environment for tenants and their employees. Below, we walk you through four major questions to align your goals with the best results across your entire portfolio.
Who Will You Serve?
When it comes to flexible workplaces, there are generally two main customers for landlords and property teams: tenants and the general public.
In terms of the tenant customer, flexible office space enables property teams to add value to existing leases. This retains the leases you already have, while allowing you to generate more income on new leases. Flexible space also enables tenants to support hybrid work while reducing their footprint — a footprint that can be leased at a higher price-per-square-foot due to the added value of flex space.
Additionally, you might want to create flexible workplaces for the general public. This approach can bring immense value to property teams; by preventing the disintermediation of third-party coworking companies, operators and owners of real estate have the unique chance to create an additional stream of revenue and enhance their property’s branding.
What is Your Offering?
Generally, there are four types of flexible workspace: coworking, shared amenity space, private suites, and enterprise offerings:
- Coworking: Perhaps the most well-known version of flex space, coworking is where companies and individuals can work alongside each other in a neutral space. They can work independently or collaborate, but most importantly, they can use communal resources and benefit from shorter-term contracts. Though it still encourages flexibility, the downside of a true coworking model is that members are tied more directly to the company facilitating the coworking space than the building’s landlord.
- Shared amenity space: Shared amenity spaces merge the traditional workplace with the coworking model, consisting of features like bookable desks, different-sized conference rooms, lounges, and more. Companies using the space can still retain their company’s identity and branding, but they can also reap the benefits of optionality from a more hybrid work environment. This model also brings to question the needs of your specific business. For example, some office owners may limit flexible amenity centers to the tenants of their building. For those thinking more long-term, they may want to open up their amenities to the public to increase building engagement and attract future tenants.
- Private suites: Another popular flex option is private suites. These are dedicated, fully-fitted out and pre-furnished spaces of varying sizes that occupants can lease for short periods of time. Leveraging a flexible lease can help tenants who need temporary work environments as they determine their next move — all while still benefiting from an office building’s conveniences such as internet access, catering, resources, and more.
- Enterprise offerings: This kind of flex space is similar to private suites but on a much larger scale. This category is broad, and can include the following: shared rooms or floors within a larger building community, individual satellite offices, and even larger hub-and-spoke models. These options enable employees to work flexibly — in the office, in work-near-home locations, and even remote. By giving new life to previously underutilized space, landlords can increase tenant engagement with their building through empowering workers to use open space, seating, and amenities throughout their assets.
How Will You Structure Your Offering?
There are many different ways property teams can structure their flexible workplace offerings, which can be determined with the help of a flex space provider or partner. Some examples we’ve seen at HqO include: branded managed space, complete with pre-furnished suites; using flex space technology services to bring traditional tenants and flex tenants under the same unified experience; creating membership opportunities for tenants leasing with a certain landlord by connecting select properties in their network with shared amenities and experiences; and even providing portfolio-wide benefits to tenants through complete cross-building flexibility.
How Will Tenants Use This Space?
Flexible workplaces need to bring value to your tenant companies, and thus you need to make sure that your goals align with their goals. Not only will flexible office space support the hybrid workforce, but it will help tenants reduce their office footprints and — in some cases — help tenants explore and enjoy other properties across your portfolio under a shared, enhanced experience.
Once you’ve gone through the process of determining what your flexible office strategy is, it’s time to figure out how you will execute this strategy. One of the most efficient ways to quickly get up to speed is through workplace experience technology, which can also serve as the key behind supporting and differentiating your flex offerings.
Want to learn more about creating flexible, competitive workplaces? Download our latest industry guide today.