The Fundamentals of Flexible Workspace

By Stormy McBride On March 18, 2021 In CoworkingSpeakersConferenceCoworking TrendsCoworking Events

Photo of People Coworking

The day has come. We knew it was on its way. Coworking and flexspaces are headed into the spotlight as many companies begin to let go of their own leases in favor of shared workspaces and flexible options for their teams.

Companies like Netflix, Schneider Electric, Paypal, Facebook, Amazon, Google and SalesForce have already announced their departure from the corporate cubicle life. It is only a matter of time until more follow suit. The pandemic accelerated the inevitable timeline of companies’ work from anywhere policies. The choice of workstation within the workplace structure is now in the hands of the employee and research shows they favor flexibility.

  • 80% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part time post pandemic
  • 47% of company leaders will allow employees to work from home full-time
  • 78% of company leaders agree that remote collaboration is here to stay
  • 65% want to be full-time remote employee post-pandemic
  • 31% want a hybrid remote work environment
  • 96% who desire some form of remote work
  • 27% of workers say that the ability to work from home is so important to them that they are willing to take a 10% to 20% pay cut to work remotely
  • 81% say they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options
  • 35% to 40% of remote workers are more productive than their in-office counterparts
  • 51% of remote workers report being more productive when working remotely
  • 49% – 50% of working parents say they are more productive working from home

Data Source

Now that the spotlight is on our industry, many landlords, investors, developers and budding entrepreneurs are looking to shift into the flexspace market. Is this good for our industry? It could be… if the new players enter the arena with a quality offering.

Much like the double edge sword of Wework entering a city, the giant was able to do the marketing and educate the masses on the benefits of “coworking” but also seemingly taint the name of coworking while offering cheap jam packed spaces that were not reflective of the industry as a whole. This new wave of flexspace offerings and operators will be much the same if not shown differently.

This is where we lean into our collaboration over competition roots and offer up our expertise. Rising tides lift all ships. The coworking world is a community with the interest of our members at heart, we want to make sure that the industry keeps community and collaboration at its core which is why we have set up a course to educate the new comers.

Our new offering: Fundamentals of Flexspace

It is not too far off from the course we offer for creatives looking to break into the industry, called Camp GCUC. However, this version, Fundamentals of Flexspace, is more in depth and has been adjusted to fit those entering the industry with Real Estate backgrounds.

The details:

The 4 week Fundamentals of Flexspace course is led by industry professionals who will teach the critical learnings for Flexspace design, management structures, technology, operations, partnerships & community building.

We’ll show you how to build, operate and succeed in the flexible workspace landscape.

If you are a:

  • Developer
  • Investor
  • CRE Professional
  • Landlord
  • Entrepreneur looking to open a coworking or flexspace

This course was designed for you.

This will be a month long course with four modules, each led by experts in those categories. This course is practical not theoretical. Unlike other courses, Fundamentals of Flexspace was designed by the GCUC team who has over 15 years of hands on experience in the coworking and flex space industry. We know what it takes to run a successful space and we’re sharing it with you.

Mod One: Management agreements, Partnership or Go it Alone

Taught by: Giovanni Palavicini, Principal – Flexible Office Solutions, Avison Young

Understanding how to structure the deal is imperative to the foundation of your flexspace. Whether you assume the risk and go it alone or seek out a partner to operate your space under a management agreement you will need to understand what is different about flex.

The objective of this session is for you to understand a management agreement structure and some possible scenarios. At the end you will have a good understanding of what a partnership agreement could look like and how it will differ from a management agreement. Finding the right partner can be complex, we will give you some things to think about and look for in a coworking/flex operator partner. Location is different in flex/coworking. We will talk about what you need to know and how to maximize your business.

This course will be taught by Giovanni Palavicini, Principal of Flexible office solutions at Avison Young. He consults flex operators and landlords with their overall business strategy, with a specialization in flexible workspace.

Giovanni has been in commercial real estate for over 18 years and is passionate about working with companies to understand their real needs, creating a strategy and helping them implement targeted solutions. He values being an extension of his “clients” team.

Before joining Avison Young, he was the Founder and President of Fronteras Commercial Real Estate, where he completed more than 70 transactions totaling more than one million square feet and $200 million flexible workspace transactions. Prior to that, he spent five years as the Regional Real Estate Director for Regus, where he first applied his retail knowledge to the flexible workspace segment. His experience with creating and implementing a real estate strategy helped him complete over 55 deals for Regus across the country. He has worked with brands like: Southwest Airlines, Brinker, Darden, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Gloria’s.

Giovanni is also passionate about his family, friends and giving back to his community. Through his work with Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Discovery Training, Valiant Hearts, and any other organization he can help, he has become known in his community for his big heart, generous spirit and never-ending desire to serve others.

Mod Two: Design

Taught by: Vince Pan and Brooke Helgerson, Analogue Studios

The difference between a well designed and activated space and just another space that looks good but isn’t buzzing like a hive is make or break. It’s not all spec suites and it most certainly is not all open workspace. Let’s talk to some architects who have been designing award winning space for years.

The objective of this session is for you to understand how flexible/coworking space design is different from just designing a space that looks good. You will have a new understanding of the importance of wellness and why you need to invest in and how you can monetize it. You will understand some of the new trends and practices coming your way and which ones you can put aside.

This course will be taught by Vince Pan and Brooke Helgerson of Analogue Studios.

Since founding Analogue Studio in 2011, Vince Pan has built the firm into an award-winning architecture and branding practice, with a growing roster of successful clients in the startup, education, and hospitality industries. As the firm’s Principal, Vince ensures that every project — from a brand campaign for a new fitness center to the renovation of a 25,000 square-foot startup accelerator — benefits from Analogue’s interdisciplinary approach and passion for design-based problem-solving.

Analogue Studio creates experiences that foster innovation, learning, and culture. They are an interdisciplinary studio that believes all forms of design have the power to solve problems and unleash possibility. Their projects are more than the solutions they develop; they are the relationships they build. They are fortunate to work with leading innovators, educators, and tastemakers to bring their ideas to life – and They are just as proud of the award-winning workplaces, campus centers, and restaurants that we have designed as we are of the brands, products, and graphics that they have created.

Founded in 2011 by Vince Pan, Analogue Studio has leveraged its unique approach to design-based problem solving in its work with clients including MIT, MassChallenge, Workbar, Legendary Entertainment, Raizlabs, Lumenpulse, Heartbreak Hill Running Club, Republic Fitness, and the Duck & Chicken Restaurant Group. Our firm was named one of the Top 50 architecture firms in the U.S. by Architect Magazine, and our work has been featured in outlets such as The Boston Globe, BostInno, Contract Magazine, Design Bureau, Women’s Wear Daily, and Eater.

Mod Three: Technology

Taught by: Matthew Woestehoff, Director of Technology at Foundation Technologies

You may think you know how to run space but we can assure you that this space is different. The business is complex and so are the systems to run it. Let’s talk about where to invest and where to tread lightly.

The objective of this session is for you to leave with a clear understanding of the product roadmap for flexible space, where to invest and how to pick the right technology for your business.

This course will be taught by Matthew Woestehoff, the Director of Business Development at Foundation Technologies.

Foundation Technologies is a single-source IT services provider that delivers value, expertise and trust. They are here to help so that you can get back to billable work. Their certified techs keep your devices in check and your network in shape.

Mod Four: Member Experience Matters

Taught by: Christine Andrews, Partner at Deco Group & Founder of Acme Works

Member engagement and satisfaction is critical to your success as a flexspace owner. You will leave with an understanding of how the community aspect of coworking and flexspace sets it apart from traditional real estate offerings.

The objective of this session is for you to understand the secret sauce of coworking. You will understand what it takes to build community. You will learn why you need to invest in things like events, services and training that will activate the space, community and eventually your bottom line.

This course will be taught byChristine Andrews, Founder of Acme Works and Partner at the Deco group.

After 20 years with multinational ad agencies, Christine joined CTV, Canada’s leading news network, as Senior Director Business Development for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

She discovered her true passion in 2013 when research on workspace trends led her to coworking. Recognizing the future of work, she opened Acme Works, one of Toronto’s most successful and prominent coworking spaces.

Branding expert, thought leader of Canada’s coworking movement, and unabashed cat lover, Christine has spoken at GCUC Canada and been interviewed by The Globe and Mail, CBC, and Global Radio.

While this course is virtual it was designed to be a truly immersive experience in the industry. Along with the the training lead by industry experts all attendees of the Fundamentals of Flexspace course will also receive the following:

  • (4) Live two hour training sessions in small groups
  • Live Q&A time with the experts and course creators
  • Half hour free consulting with either Avison Young or Deco Group
  • Opportunity to expand your network with dedicated connection time
  • Access to exclusive flexspace slack channel only for course participants
  • Free one year membership to the GCUC Community (individual membership)
  • Course box shipped to your door (US residents only)
  • Industry intros where appropriate

For more information please take a look at the full course outline here. If there is someone you know that could benefit from this course, we would appreciate a referral. Feel free to click the share links below and send it to them directly.