The commercial landlord and coworking operator relationship hasn’t always been such an obvious one. They’ve existed as two dissimilar parts of the office space story: servicing different businesses and meeting different needs. That is, until recently.
The global commercial real estate sector has experienced rapid change over the past few years. Health and safety measures implemented due to the recent pandemic emptied commercial office spaces and incited a worldwide shift to flexible work.
This shift has created much positive change. There are now fewer location-driven limitations, driving a greater work-life balance and contributing to higher productivity.
Employees also now expect more choice when it comes to where, when and how they work. This has led to organizations reevaluating their use of office space, and resisting long-term leases to accommodate hybrid work.
Landlords of commercial office buildings are facing the challenge of providing in-demand amenities, services and spaces to attract quality tenants. Now, as a solution, many are forming partnerships with coworking operators. This means that now is the perfect time for coworking operators to build a relationship with landlords to help elevate the workspace experience such landlords and developers offer.
Here are some of the ways landlords and coworking operators can work hand in hand.
Partner to create a branded workspace offering
For many landlords, leveraging the already strong brand presence of a coworking space is the way to go. This is generally the most common way landlords and coworking operators work together. Often, management agreements signify this partnership. Landlords take on a larger share of the risk – paying for the fitout, salaries, and more – and agree to have their space managed by the coworking operator under the operator’s name.
There are many advantages to this type of partnership. For coworking operators, this involves less capital outlay and less risk, while still expanding their portfolio and increasing revenue.
For landlords, it guarantees some form of occupancy and gives them the opportunity to ‘leave it to the experts’ when it comes to providing the workspace experience tenants and their employees actually want. Ultimately, it results in a positive association between their buildings and the brand presence coworking operators have worked so hard to establish.
Partner to create a ‘white label’ workspace offering
Some landlords may prefer to keep their name on the sign, so to speak. In this situation, coworking operators can offer a ‘white label’ solution.
Much like a branded workspace offering, the coworking provider operates the space. This includes staff, amenities, customer management, sales, and day to day operations. The only difference is that the space operates under the landlord or developers name, instead of being associated with the coworking space.
Landlords who want to enhance their building branding tend to be more interested in this type of partnership, and with good reason. It provides the ideal circumstances to move away from a traditional office model, and leverage the expertise of coworking providers to differentiate their building in a competitive market.
For coworking providers, this is an ideal solution to offer longstanding landlords and developers who have a significant presence in the commercial real estate market.
Offer specialized services, activations, and amenities to the building
Given how much of a focus there is now on wellness at work, and providing spaces that make the commute worth it, many buildings are now enhanced with additional services and amenities to elevate the workspace experience. You’ll notice many coworking providers are now offering these services.
The process is simple: coworking operators create a bespoke offering based on the specific requirements and objectives of the building. This could a mix and match of many things: think a café and bar, dry cleaning service, parcel management, event spaces, restaurant bookings, and business, cultural, and social events. At Hub Australia, we call this offering Building Hospitality.
What results is a workplace that is more than a place to get work done. It becomes a seamless blend of work, wellness, and lifestyle, and allows for flexible work to occur. If I was to make a prediction, I’d say we’ll be seeing a lot more of this form of a partnership between landlords and coworking operators in the very near future.