91% of corporate real estate executives have a co-working plan of some sort.
Co-working business models and offerings will need to evolve if they expect to meet the increasing demand and requirements of large corporate enterprise tenants.
“A shift is occurring as enterprise occupiers are now in the full adoption phase of flexible space. The co-working models in place for the last ten years will not work today,” said Jacob Bates, CEO of CommonGrounds Workplace (CGW), who gave a keynote address at the Future Offices Spring Conference in Austin.
The two-day conference, which attracted corporate commercial real estate directors across a wide range of verticals, addressed topics and trends shaping the commercial real estate sector today.
While 91% of corporate real estate executives plan to use some kind of co-working service as a part of their overall strategy, and 60% indicate a willingness to pay a premium for custom space, the needs and requirements of enterprise occupiers are significantly different, according to Bates.
Founded in 2016, CGW is a start-up which offers workplace-as-a-service (WaaS) and creates highly customized workplaces for large companies.
Traditional co-working originally emerged as a workplace alternative primarily for entrepreneurs and freelancers. This type of co-working environment is very different from the needs of enterprise tenants aiming to increase workplace productivity and employee retention, says Bates.
A recent survey by CoreNet found two-thirds of corporate real estate executives identified workplace productivity and employee engagement as the most important factors driving their workplace decisions. Interest in this area has increased 200% in the past year.
As the popularity of flexible workplace arrangements grows, and the global workforce becomes more mobile, technological innovations such as evolutions to the cloud, digital mobility, IoT, virtual reality, and augmented reality are all poised to play a significant role in the transforming requirements of enterprise WaaS offerings in the future, according to Bates.
More than 85% of employees have some kind of flexible working arrangements, and most employees request an average of 2.5 days per week of flex work.
These changes are making it even more critical for co-working and WaaS providers to create environments that enhance workplace productivity and drive occupant experience.
“Corporations are looking for activated assets with enterprise-grade technology and security,” Bates said.
As more enterprises look to the WaaS business models to fulfill the need for an increasingly mobile workforce, factors such as data security, employees’ physical security, business fit and alignment, and needs assessment are critical to their consideration, Bates added.
To ensure that enterprises attract and retain top talent, the WaaS experience must be seamlessly aligned with the employee experience at the enterprise’s offices.
If employees in a WaaS or co-working environment don’t perceive their workplace as being seamlessly integrated and on-par with the experience of workers at the enterprise’s office locations, it can have a significant impact on the organization’s retention numbers. For this reason, maintaining the enterprise’s brand identity and workplace culture through design and technology is integral for winning corporate occupiers.
“The enterprise opportunity for WaaS is to figure out how to create on-demand, collaborative, productive, and innovative workspaces through human-centric design. Nobody’s actually perfected the ability to do that yet,” said Bates.