Let’s take a step back, and talk about real estate. Traditionally, we were always faced with one of two options when it came to settling down in a home or new office: rental, or purchase. There was no in between or intermediary. It was either dropping a large-sum of cash (or loan) on a long-term investment, or, shelling out small amounts on a monthly basis on a more short-term space that required less of a commitment since the burden of ownership did not fall on your shoulders.
It was all a question of what best fit your capital and duration needs. Companies and individuals, regardless of their size and specific needs, were forced to allocate significant chunks of time, money, and resources, in order to find, negotiate and commit to long-term leases of office space. And landlords, in turn, needed to deploy significant amount of new capital into their properties in order to attract new long-term tenants every time a space became available. It was a never-ending cycle.
But as of late, the real-estate market has paved a path for a new player in the office sector in the form of coworking. Now, while the flexible/shared office idea is not new, for many years, it was only perceived as a real estate solution that solved the friction between the desire of landlords to sign long term leases, and the short term commitment and flexibility many tenants desired for. People were blind and oblivious to the other benefits that could potentially arise as a result of grouping together a number of largely creative and innovative individuals in close confinement. If they were aware of them, not enough attention was paid to it.
The reality is, that when members of shared spaces are provided with a stylish, welcoming, and inspiring office in the heart of a beating city, and given access to dozens of weekly and monthly events, lectures by leaders and mentors, and a strong, fun community of like-minded people, a chain-reaction of unpredictable discoveries is revealed. Companies collaborate, network and do business with each other – they become each other’s best critics, go-to product-testers, and most promising potential customers. It gives rise to a spillover effect in which a drive to win and succeed lifts the productivity of every individual and of the community as a whole. Professionals are able to hone their focus on the most important tasks and not on the background noise (since the burden of overhead costs and menial concerns is lifted off the shoulders of company decision makers, and taken on by those who run the coworking space). CEO’s suddenly find that hiring talent is not as difficult as it was pre-coworking, since a shared workspace gives them access to a much larger pool of potential recruits. And, let’s not forget, that employee satisfaction and self-development is booming.
On the organizational side, a second derivative of unpredictable discoveries comes about. Large organizations from across the globe, looking to protect themselves from disrupting trends, move whole departments and teams into shared office spaces. Suddenly, large and small companies are given the space and place to interact, collaborate, and utilize each other’s sources – whether it be in capital, talent, or innovation. Day-to-day operations are transformed and, while corporate culture is retained, there’s more room than ever for external influences (where wanted).
The model of a shared office space is not merely about real estate. It’s about lifestyle. About making a statement. About building a community with shared values and goals. About sharing a drive to achieve something on this planet that will truly leave a legacy. It is something that will likely carry on and continue to grow exponentially as society continues to move into a collaborative and cross-functional direction. And as long as we accept it with open arms, it will only become even better.
Signing a lease on a large office space and designing it is the easy part. Making the magic happen day in and day out, finding members, and building a tight-knit community, is the difficult part. It goes beyond scouting the right real estate property, and requires in depth know-how, rigorous operations, passion, and innovation. You heard it here first – places like Mindspace don’t just pop up overnight.