The flexible office and coworking world has changed so much over the past year and a half as teams that used to work in traditional office spaces start to consider more flexible options for their employees. Although the office space sector has been evolving for decades, the past year has rapidly accelerated the shift to a more hybrid work model.
Our Workspace Partnerships Manager chatted with Laura Kozelouzek from Quest Workspaces to understand more about the trends that she has seen over the past 30 years and how mindsets and lifestyles have evolved.
When Laura first started out in the flexible workspace world, shared workspaces were seen as only for people who couldn’t afford their own office. Employees were tethered to the landline at their desks and they planned to stay there for a long time as there was very little flexibility due to the lack of month to month terms, cell phones and laptops.
Over the years, offices with shared amenities grew in popularity because people couldn’t afford their own fax machines or expensive equipment. Overseeing a few different national spaces, Laura took note of what worked and didn’t work and decided to open Quest Workspaces in 2010 with the tagline “Work the way you want.” Never truer than today, Laura built an organization that was all about the experience, hospitality and a culture that she wanted for her team and clients.
“Everyone is currently trying to grapple with how work has changed,” says Laura. “It is like shaking a snow globe and no one really knows how it will shake out. When a trend happens, there is going to be this soft spot in the middle where companies find what works for them.”
While some teams choose to be fully remote, others will decide they work more effectively with people in the offices. The hybrid work model will be rolled out in different ways and will keep shifting and changing. Coworking spaces will play a major role in helping companies figure out what works best for them.
“Teams that originally pushed to work from home back in March 2020 are now realizing that they need to get out of their house and seek a more professional or non disruptive setting,” says Laura. “Small companies or entrepreneurs have always needed coworking but larger groups are now needing help from us on how they can incorporate this into their real estate solution.”
As everyone is sorting out what works best for their team, Laura believes it may be another 6 months to a year until things settle down and teams feel more comfortable in a schedule that works for their real estate budget, acquisition of talent or company culture.
“Quest is hoping to bridge the gap for people trying to figure out what works best for them,” says Laura. “Whether you work best remotely, at home, on the fly or in the car, we provide a critical piece to that.”
Laura’s advice to other spaces is just to remain as flexible as possible and remember that no one size fits all and that you might have to create specific spaces that your members are asking for. Technology is at a stage now where it is less expensive to do more so staying on top of what is necessary to effectively run your business will be key.
“It is important to always maintain the attitude that this is what it looks like now but that could change tomorrow,” says Laura. “Spaces need to be ready to adapt because the way people use offices is rapidly shifting and it is a great opportunity for spaces to educate people getting out of traditional leases on the benefits of more flexibility.”
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