By Paula Gomprecht

Permanent Shift to Remote Work & Hybrid CRE Strategies Spawn Innovative On-Demand Workplace Offerings

For an estimated 67 million Americans, working remotely went from an idealized curiosity to a way of life almost overnight. Now, after 9 months of working away from their traditional workplaces, 72% of employees want to continue to work remotely at least 2 days a week, according to a December 2020 report by JLL. Employers are already responding with plans for hybrid corporate real estate strategies that allow employees to choose whether to work from home, the main office or from an array of suburban satellite office ‘spokes’ close to where employees live. The less frequent use of the company office also allows companies to reduce the size of their central hub office as it transforms into a drop-in space used for meetings and for promoting collaboration, connection and company culture.

Employers face a profound new challenge, as 72% of employees report they want to continue working remotely an average of 2.4 days a week post-COVID.

The corporate move toward hybrid workplace strategies is gaining acceptance as 85% of those working remotely report higher productivity levels compared to when they were commuting to traditional office space. This is despite the distractions and stresses of working from home through the COVID pandemic, according to December 2020 research by the University of Chicago. Post COVID, the trend toward distributed and remote work is expected to continue. Upwork now projects that 28% of the U.S. workforce, or 38 million people, will continue to work remotely through 2025, representing a potentially enormous new market for workspace on demand.

Although some office building investors have begun to anticipate a windfall of suburban leasing growth from the demand generated by distributed work strategies, new office lease commitments for suburban corporate satellite offices may not materialize. Michael Berman, Managing Director at global real estate service firm JLL explains, “As companies face uncertainty about their medium and long-term business requirements, they are seeking more flexibility and lower capital commitments.” Berman adds, “Clients can be unclear about how much office space they will really need going forward as workstyles include more remote work, so we expect that an on-demand workplace program from a trusted suburban coworking provider can be a good alternative.”

Companies are supporting new hybrid workplace strategies with on-demand office plans offered by coworking firms, avoiding new office lease commitments and capital expenditure.

In response to increasing demand for safe, inspiring alternatives to working from home or commuting, coworking firms are adding creative, on-demand workplace offerings that address the need for occasional use by remote workers, instead of solely offering workspace memberships on annual contracts.

International flexible workplace provider Serendipity Labs has launched Worktopia™, a pay-as-you-go program for daily use of private office space across its hub and spoke network of urban, suburban and secondary market locations. The Worktopia plans include the ability to book meeting rooms and private day offices in any Serendipity Labs location.

“After several months of working from home, I needed an escape, and a safe place to meet with my team. My Worktopia plan for occasional access to Serendipity Labs’ suburban New York network has allowed me and my team to maintain momentum.”

James M. O’Brien, Chief Financial Officer, Cognition Therapeutics, Inc.

Serendipity Labs CEO, John Arenas adds, “Corporate occupiers can create customized Worktopia plans to support remote teams or an entire workforce, while ensuring safe, secure and compliant workplaces, all without lease commitments or capital expenditures. That’s ideal. That’s Worktopia.”


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