Presented By: Industrious
Why Enterprise Companies Are Switching to Flex Space
In the era of hybrid work, flexible space solves for so much more than simply a company’s space needs. The right flexible space provider can help a company foster collaboration and engagement, as well as furthering that company’s culture. Flex space provider Industrious has put their expertise in the field to work for enterprise companies such as Spotify, Compass, Skillshare and more. Partner Insights spoke to Lisa Cations, Senior Director, Enterprise Sales for Industrious, about how enterprise companies are flex’s fastest-growing client base, and how Industrious serves their evolving needs.
Commercial Observer: What are some notable trends you’ve seen of late regarding how enterprise companies are making use of flex space?
Lisa Cations: Enterprise companies are learning how they can provide more flexibility and choice to their employees. Flex is a sort of testing ground for them to adopt newer work styles, and a way for them to have the space they need in the moment without losing the ability to scale their space as their needs change. That’s possible in part because there isn’t the long-term commitment that’s typical in a traditional lease. With flex space, these companies have a way to navigate the uncertainty of returning to work – such as how many employees will come back to the office and how often.
CO: Who is the average customer for Industrious?
LC: At the moment, a large percentage of our customer base consists of small- and medium-sized businesses from a range of industries including media, fintech, professional services companies, pharma and more. We’re also seeing a shift towards enterprise customers – companies with over 1,000 employees. So it’s increasingly mature businesses, and companies growing at scale with a need for a quick market-entry strategy.
CO: What sort of arrangement is Industrious’ average enterprise customer looking for?
LC: Some need short-term solutions, such as when a big company is building their headquarters and needs space to bridge the gap. But more and more we’re seeing enterprise customers strategically adopting flex when scaling up teams, or opening an office in new cities.
Enterprise clients also solve for uncertainty by using flex because people are not coming to the office all the time, so they need a space that easily accommodates variability. They are also looking more for MSAs – master service agreements, or global contracts with pre-agreed terms that help speed up execution across a portfolio of deals, so that more time can be spent on developing flex solutions rather than negotiating the terms.
CO: How does Industrious help support its enterprise customers in embracing hub-and-spoke?
LC: Let me give you an example. Recently, a client approached us because they wanted to give employees in one region the ability to go hybrid. While some of their employees were relatively centralized, others were more spread out — which meant that having a single office would discourage the employees who lived farther away because of the commute involved.
The answer was to create a hub-and-spoke workplace. The hub office could be customized to reflect the company’s brand. Soft seating and open spaces were also incorporated into the design in order to facilitate collaboration and team-bonding. Because the hub is set within a flexible workplace instead of a traditional long-term lease, the company can easily re-evaluate its space needs if it grows or if more employees start coming into the office more regularly.
Employees who live farther away can make use of Industrious’ national network and book a desk at an Industrious location near them. Because they’re still working from an Industrious, they have access to the same kinds of workplace resources and experiences that their teammates have at the hub office. At the same time, they have the option of commuting to the hub location when there’s a reason to come together with the larger team, such as a quarterly planning session or to meet and bond with new hires.
Another client wanted a branded headquarters where some of their employees wouldn’t come to the space all the time, and therefore needed another space close to where they lived. We created a headquarters space for them in a central location with more open space, soft seating, and collaborative space. But also, employees who didn’t want to come to this hub could go to any Industrious location close to where they lived. This allowed the company a consistency of experience through Industrious.
CO: Talk about the hospitality aspect of Industrious’ offerings.
LC: Industrious’ mission is to create great days at work for our members. There are hospitality teams on the ground all day for whom this mission is their sole focus. Complimentary breakfast is served every morning. There are events within the space that every member can participate in. Our hospitality team learns from member feedback to ensure we have a superior onsite experience.
CO: How do companies like Industrious have a role to play in helping companies develop or further their company’s culture?
LC: We create a bespoke experience for our clients’ employees. Their brand is our priority. We can customize their space by incorporating their name, logo, and color palette.
We also work with their senior decision makers to understand what sort of behaviors and business activities they want to promote within the space, so that we can then design an office that facilitates those needs. For example, a sales team might prioritize soundproof phone booths for making calls, while a team of engineers might require well-lit spaces with lots of desk room.
CO: How does Industrious help client companies foster teamwork and collaboration?
LC: A number of companies that went remote during the pandemic no longer have a central space where teams can gather. We can help them create a suite that not only provides their teammates with the option to come into the office, but also is designed to foster collaboration and team bonding. These companies are also likely to have a great deal of hybrid collaboration — that is, meetings in which some team members gather in person while others are remote. We help facilitate those experiences with A/V-equipped meeting rooms and phone booths designed for video calls.
Some of the companies that went virtual first don’t have any space for large team meetings. We’ll provide a suite so they can all be in one place, and then we’ll set up the environment: soft seating, catered food and beverage, etc. We’ll arrange a meeting room for the size of their meeting or event, and enable the room with an AV system. It can be a fully in-person experience, or a hybrid, with people joining digitally through Zoom. They focus on meeting and collaboration, and we look after everything else.
CO: How does Industrious help companies deal with the uncertainty regarding how many employees might come to the office on any given day?
LC: A company can take the minimum amount of space they anticipate using, then we can provide extra space within our shared space if there is a spike in demand. We give a lot of flexibility to our customers to flex to bigger space with us, or to reduce space if there’s not enough utilization. For example, we recently developed a core and flex solution for a financial services client to accommodate 5,000 square feet for client meetings and functions on a long-term basis, and another 5,000 square feet on a shorter-term basis to be used for desktop or focused work all on a contiguous floor. This space can flex up and down and can also be used as overflow if more people return to the space than anticipated.
CO: To sum up, why should enterprise clients look to Industrious for their flex space needs?
LC: The pandemic has shown us just how critical it is to have a workplace that can accommodate uncertainty. We believe that enterprises will increasingly look to flex as the smart way to navigate their changing workplace needs. We believe that enterprise is in the flex arena to stay, and that long term, enterprise clients will be the fastest-growing segment of the industry. As a company, we have a great opportunity right now to be the workplace provider of choice for enterprise and SMBs alike because we have very strong fundamentals. We have an incredible investor base, especially with the $200 million investment from CBRE earlier this year, so we have the backing to scale both nationally and internationally. We also have an incredible set-up with landlords, with management agreements that give us the agility to sustain ourselves throughout different economic conditions, which in turn gives clients greater confidence in us. And as far as being able to provide different set-ups for our customers, because we have the skill and a great understanding of our customers’ needs, they know they can come to us to create and provide a solution for any challenge that comes their way.