With a pivot towards flexible office space seemingly inevitable for commercial landlords, the question now changes from “when” to “how.”
And recently, I’ve seen a notable uptick in the volume of inquiries I’m receiving from commercial landlords wondering what they need to do to get into the flexible office business.
When you’re looking to get into flexible office space, the first step is to get familiar with the industry as a whole and with the competitors and operators in your own market.
Tap Your Network
At Launch Workplaces, the transition into monetizing our flexible office space model by selling it to other landlords started by solving our own challenges and tapping into our network (for more on this, check out our blog article on the topic).
We originally implemented it in our own properties as a means of increasing tenancy. It was only when we started getting noticed by our counterparts in the industry that we made the step to formalize our process and sell it as a service.
We had a ton of other building owners and property managers asking us about our new-found business model and, as a result, we realized an opportunity.
This showed us the strength of our network and demonstrated how willing people are to talk to one another.
So, if you’re looking to get into the coworking business, I’d recommend that you start by talking to your friends or peers in the industry — the ones who may already have a coworking presence in their building or portfolio.
I’d suggest that you simply ask them a lot of questions — who did they partner with? Why? What was the model they selected and how did it work out? What was their expectation going into this undertaking and how did the result live up to it?
You can learn a lot from these people and I’d say it’s a safe bet you can expect honesty from them.
Go Out and Get a Lay of the Land
I’d also recommend getting out and exploring the coworking spaces near you. They won’t be hard to find.
As I said previously, most of the coworking operators I’ve met will be willing to speak with you. So, the best advice I can give to anyone who wants to go out and see coworking spaces first-hand would be to just be honest.
Make an appointment. Tell the person who’s giving you the tour that you’re a building owner and that you’re thinking about putting flexible office space into your building and that you want to see the competition and how they run their businesses.
Do this rather than acting like a secret shopper. You’ll get a lot further this way.
Take a Look Online
If you don’t feel comfortable doing in person tours (which I expect may apply more widely during the pandemic), you can also take some time to look around online at the different coworking operators in your area.
There are also organizations you can join that can help you get plugged into what’s going on in the coworking business. I’d recommend checking out the Global Workspace Association.If you’re ready to learn more about how to activate your building with flexible office space, you can read a bit about our management process or get in touch with us.