CO-WORKING IS BACK: WHAT THIS MEANS FOR CRE
With the need for full-time work-from-home declining, many professionals are seeking out new co-working spaces and are bringing new expectations and trends with them. Commercial real estate experienced rapid changes in the last couple of years, and some developers failed to adapt to these changes. Commercial real estate property managers need to be aware of these changes to create a space that attracts the best tenants.
What can be done in office spaces and commercial real estate options to take advantage of the return of co-working, and can it be done profitably?
Keep reading to learn how to leverage the newest co-working trends to increase the profitability of your commercial real estate space.
What’s Changing in Co-working?
As predicted by many experts, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the future of commercial office space. Now, we can see those changes in more exact ways. What exactly is happening as co-working returns to the scene?
Freelancers, Owners, and Full-Time Employees
A co-working space is a shared professional setting where people from different companies can work. There’s a common misconception that the only people using co-working spaces are those that work freelance or own their own business, but that’s far from true. As we see more individuals working remotely full-time or doing hybrid working models, we also see those individuals entering co-working spaces more than ever before.
Some individuals that are now working fully remote miss and appreciate the amenities provided in an office setting, so they may seek co-working space to balance their work environment in a way that works for them.
New Types of Co-working Spaces
Co-working spaces were first adopted by industries like tech, business consulting, and other similar fields. One of the most notable developments within co-working spaces in the last few years is the shift from these commercial spaces expanding their amenities to accommodate new industries.
Fitness and health professionals seek co-working spaces to run their yoga programs, fitness consulting, and more. While less common, co-working spaces that share fitness equipment rather than desks and internet connections are gaining popularity.
Another significant difference in co-working spaces today is that there is more competition than ever when advertising spaces. The COVID-19 pandemic caused many changes in office culture across the country, which led to many CRE owners and developers seeking unique ways to lease out space.
Co-working spaces are more prevalent now than ever before; what can your business do to stand out? It’s simple: learn what tenants expect and ensure you can provide those things.
What Do Tenants Expect in Co-working Spaces?
Co-working spaces are constantly evolving, and that is important to keep in mind while developing in the coming months and years. Individuals and businesses renting co-working space expect the latest work-friendly space and technology, so commercial real estate property managers must keep up with expectations to thrive.
What are leasees looking for in a modern co-working space? Every individual need will vary, but having some idea of the overarching themes will help you make a suitable investment, development, and marketing choices when managing CRE.
Flexible Technology Options
One of the most extensive needs in co-working spaces is flexible technology. Gone are the days of providing free Wi-Fi and a place to charge laptops. Instead, some individuals may want to provide their own internet service; others seek specific VPNs and ethernet hookup options. Be prepared to problem solve and make adaptations to bring in business.
Ideally, create a space where the technology remains adaptable, and IT support is on-par with what you could get in a more traditional office environment. This will provide the security and peace of mind needed to attract more tenants.
Proven Reservation Systems
Co-working tenants expect to smoothly reserve and utilize meeting rooms and other private spaces as needed. If they cannot, it is unlikely that they will become long-term supporters of your co-working space.
Investing in on-site management and organizational software will increase the productivity of your tenants and make them likely to stay longer.
CRE professionals must remember that many remote employees of large companies may be coming into their spaces, sometimes even in small groups. Knowing how to link up with the company to create space and opportunities to bring in more remote employees will help encourage more tenants and leasees to use your services.
Is Investing in Co-working Space Development The Right Choice?
Co-working spaces in major cities like Minneapolis draw businesses into empty office spaces left unused in the transition to hybrid and at-home working models, but is it the right time to invest in explicitly developing co-working spaces?
It’s best to balance the risk of co-working profiles with other types of CRE investment. The demand for co-working spaces is growing, but options are also available. Dedicating a certain amount of space to flex working spaces can provide flexible options for your business. Develop with flexibility for the best success rate as you expand into more co-working options.