“Our point of view is we’re pretty maniacally focused on our customer, and our sweet spot has been this long and strong customer: long-term leases, strong credit,” [Boston Properties Executive Vice President Bryan Koop] said. “As we continue to focus on that, there will be changes in how we work with them.”
Boston’s surging real estate cycle is driven by tech, both by traditional technology tenants like Rapid7 as well as companies with an increased digital presence like General Electric. With every company increasingly thinking of themselves as a tech company, plug-and-play connectivity and less lag time between lease signing and move-in are rising expectations, forcing landlords to take a more active role in their tenant experience.
Coworking office space in Boston by geographic location, courtesy of Xconomy:
Andy Palmer, a Boston serial entrepreneur and angel investor, ‘thinks Boston would be best served by a series of spaces spread among different neighborhoods along the subway system’s Red Line, which touches the city’s busiest startup hubs, including Kendall Square in Cambridge and the Seaport District and Downtown Crossing in Boston. And if you look at the map, that strategy seems to be playing out…Boston’s neighborhoods “all need good, solid coworking spaces because they all have startups and founders that want to do startups in these areas,” Palmer says. “It’s healthy to have these short-term lease options in every one of these areas.”’
Office space is used far differently today than 25 years ago. Production is no longer measured by how much time you log in a seat at your desk, but rather what is accomplished by the day’s end. Some jobs still require sitting in a specific seat — lab technicians and receptionists are the two that come to mind — but those restrictions are becoming less and less applicable to the majority of professions. At our company we offer a wide variety of options for our team members, much of which is a direct result enhanced virtual desktops. Only a few years ago, you had to sit at your desk in order to access your computer and critical electronic files; now your electronic desktop can follow you.
An article from MBAcentral on coworking spaces observes “the changing nature of business and the workforce [noting] 4 in 10 U.S. workers…will be temps, freelancers or contractors, 8 in 10 Large corporations [are] planning to increase use of flexible workforce, Nearly 90% of businesses have already adopted some cloud computing. [and] 80% of companies offer flexible working arrangements, including telework.”
A nature walk has something for everybody and the concept of winter gardens should be embraced by all. The rentable square feet per employee is shrinking and collaboration space is growing.
According to the GSA’s “Washington headquarters is completed in 2013, the building will accommodate 4,500 workers — almost 2,000 more than a year ago — because of shared work spaces and telecommuting. GSA Headquarter office will average approximately 80 USF (92 RSF) per person of workspace.”
Coalition is the latest to enter the shared workspace environment, opening in Downtown Crossing at 101 Arch Street.
Coalition opened in Boston’s Downtown Crossing neighborhood in February. “The setting is no doubt part of Coalition’s charm. At 101 Arch St., the 7,060-square-foot office boasts a fantastic view over The Hub and no shortage of restaurants and bars nearby for post-work winding down. (The area has also attracted collaborative working spaces in the area including WeWork, Techstars and even CIC Boston/Space with a Soul.),” according to an article on Bostinno.Streetwise.co. “Coalition aims to differentiate by partnering with MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge and other similar organizations to give young entrepreneurs the chance to work with seasoned local professionals. It’s a pretty impressive community, too, with venture capital and private equity investors and veteran entrepreneurs (with two to four founded firms under their belts) alike.”
What is co-working space and is it the correct fit for you and your team? Well, if you can play nice in the sandbox and share, it is a great tool as your company grows. Planning is key, meaning, if you require private conference rooms, you will need to plan and reserve them. Don’t expect that they will be waiting for you.
Weigh out the pro’s and con’s and then make your decision.
If you still need some help deciding, Bisnow.com notes its bottom line, “coworking providers have democratized space and turned it into a liquid asset as technology and tech entrepreneurism explode and startups seek collaborative offices with flexible lease terms instead of the growth-hindering “corner office” route.”
Bring the walls down and let’s see and hear each other. That is the new norm is office space, gone are the vast array of private offices. Today’s office layout is vastly different than just 10 years ago; today’s employees can expect to work in a benching platform, sitting very close to their coworkers. Their work station would have very little is any actual storage space and in some case may not even have land line if the role of that person is non customer related. The big delta is common space, this looks more like a large family room.
In an interview with Boston.com, Swedish architect, Gert Wingårdh, said “his [newest] design is aimed at improving company communications, a problem many businesses identify with. ‘Usually our surveys tell us that communications is lacking all over the world,’ said Wingårdh. ‘When employees have the same space to share, it enhances their sense of one another.’ With no walls between workstations, Wingårdh says employees will become aware of each other. At EF, even the CEO works in an open workstation.”
Looking for a new office? Thinking you simple want private offices because that’s what you have always had? Well, have a look at how that has changed for some companies.
According to the Harvard Business Review, a working ‘office experiment’ was carried out by The Bridgespan Group in its Back Bay offices, to determine what impact an open, shared workspace would have on employee collaboration and production. The HBR article includes the following:
At the end of our design lab, we handed off to our architects a “radical” plan which they built out over the next few months.
an open café, where staff bump into each other making coffee, or making sandwiches and catch up or take care of business
a “laboratory” space with tables, sofas and white boards at the heart of the office, where teams meet and discuss work previously done in closed conference rooms
a large, closed-off library space with lots of natural light that we call the “quiet car,” where people can work without interruption
several small comfortable seating clusters throughout the office for small-group conversations
a bank of small private rooms for people to use when they truly need privacy for meetings, phone calls, or individual work–but no private offices even for the most senior staff
sitting and standing work stations where people can park themselves day-to-day
glass-walled conference rooms so most meetings are seen by everyone, even if they aren’t heard
background noise masking, so that conversations in the open are heard as mild hubbub rather than distinct, distracting words
lockers in which staff can keep personal items
Six months in, we continue to be amazed at how differently we work in the new space and how much the spirit of our office has changed. We used to make appointments to see each other; now, we often just run into each other, and all kinds of new ideas emerge from these unplanned collisions of two or three or four people….Formal meetings are routinely held in the open areas, where it’s easy to bring in someone else on the spur of the moment—just because they’re passing nearby, or sitting in view.
Mobility seems to be the cornerstone for the general population. Be it a smart phone or a tablet, we are on the phone and don’t wish to be tethered. The same is true for office space; CEO’s today are looking for flexibility with a collaborative environment, not a long-term lease. Desk and office rental is the solution. Pay for exactly what you need, when you need it.
The wait is over. Boston businesses now have a new, dedicated outlet for desk rentals and office space: WeWork. According to the Boston Herald, “what separates WeWork from other “co-working spaces” is the sense of community they build…there is a sports lounge in the basement of WeWork Seaport in Fort Point, complete with arcade games, a pool table and kegs. Members also get access to WeWork companies across the country for possible partnerships.”