How Coworking Improves Human Performance

This article published on the Mind Rocket site and entitled “Technology Drives Community” was authored by our CEO, Laurent Dhollande. In it, Laurent observes that while remote working is providing desirable flexibility to professionals, it also too often leads to unwelcomed isolation, intrusion into our private lives, and ultimately the potential for loss of productivity, but coworking can offer a solution.

Laurent postulates that this isolation and lack of motivation often experienced by remote workers are the flip side of the new empowerment and flexibility brought to us by the technological developments of the last two decades. That’s why, he writes, teleworking has actually not taken off as much as anticipated, in spite of many corporate programs that support remote work. He explains why joining a coworking community helps transcend these performance-hindering side effects.

Coworking provides more opportunity for members to learn and grow professionally, by interacting with people who are not fashioned by the same corporate mold, sometime serendipitously and other times via organized events. In the end, he explained that the social fabric of a coworking place can greatly help improve the individual member overall work experience. Coworking communities, no-doubt, bring much needed counter-balance to the downfalls of isolation inherent in remote work.

Coworking Day Passes to Generate Leads NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz First Friday Special Day Pass

What’s interesting here is that a high level, someone secretive, consulting firm like Mind Rocket, who among other things advise foreign governments on how to leverage technology to improve Human Performance, sought out the opinion of our CEO, a keen observer of, and participant in, the flexible office industry, to explore how coworking communities may help soften the down side of remote work enabled by remote technology, and enhance human performance.

At CloudVO, we want to support all research efforts that might help gather data to support that claim, which we, as operators and coworkers, experience in our daily lives. If you have an academic project, or any kind of research, going in that direction, do not hesitate to contact us!

Meanwhile, we highly recommend you read the Mind Rocket article.

Visit us at   www.CloudVO.com    to list your location for free and join our coworking family of 700 shared workspaces around the world.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Are Coworking Operators Like WeWork a Threat or an Ally for Commercial Landlords?

A recent blog post published in Finance & Commerce entitled “Landlords, rivals push back against WeWork” expresses concerns from some landlords and their brokers that WeWork is stepping on their turf.

The article is interesting, and I thought it would be worthwhile for me to highlight some partial agreement with the author’s analysis, while sharing some divergent and expanded views as well on the evolving nature of Landlord/Operator relationships.

WeWork Window Sign San Francisco 201 Spear Street

  1. A new $42 bln valuation for WeWork.
    This is the highest number I have come across so far and a mind-blowing reflection of WeWork’s disruptive nature, as seen by WeWork’s investors. We could be a bit skeptical of that number until we can review the (private) agreement for the last capital infusion by SoftBank. Restrictions and conditions applied to WeWork on capital repayments, conversion options, and other features in the deal may considerably lower any nominal valuation. But no matter the exact number, that valuation remains gigantic, and way out of range of the multiples experienced by publicly traded companies in the sector. Clearly SoftBank is comfortable with the progress made by the company as they keep on funding. Clearly WeWork, and by extension, the entire coworking industry, is perceived as a disruptive force in the traditional commercial real estate world.

2.   Landlords’ Attitude is changing.
“More than a dozen real estate and banking executives interviewed by Bloomberg expressed misgivings about working with the start-up,” says the Finance & Commerce article – well, maybe, but let’s not forget that for one dozen skeptics, you have several dozens of landlords who are raising their hands to attract WeWork in their buildings, even though WeWork has, in many cases, replaced the fat Letters of Credit or Security deposits of the past with meaningless guarantees for the first 6 months or 12 months of rent. It’s not difficult to guarantee the first year of rent… when 9+ months of it is free! If landlords’ attitudes have changed, it is that WeWork, and the entire coworking industry, is being more actively sought after by landlords throughout the country than it ever has. A dozen skeptics won’t stop this powerful wave.

3. Reduced Collateral in Leases.
We can also point out that the considerable drop in security collateral experienced by landlords with coworking players in the last few years does not put their project necessarily in a more fragile financial situation. The best collateral of a coworking operation is the operation itself, with hundreds of members sending recurring payments every month which won’t disappear, because their business identity is tied to that location. There is more than meets the eye than an apparent threat to the financial stability of these collateral-less transactions.

Lease Agreement CloudVO Blog WeWork and Landlords

4.   Debunking the myth of Corporate Guarantees.
Corporate guarantees can be very dangerous for landlords by giving a sense of false security. They were the reason why Regus filed for Chapter 11 in 2002, by creating a domino effect due to growth that was too aggressive in the Western US during the dot-com boom of the late nineties. The majority of their assets were performing well, but a series of imprudent leases, with corporate guarantees, at the peak of the market created a domino effect that affected all landlords. Under Chapter 11, Regus could attempt to restructure all of their leases, including with well performing locations. That did not help the Regus landlords in any way, corporate guarantee in hand or not. What saved them were other flexible space operators taking over the locations vacated by Regus.

That is how Pacific Workplaces (Pac) experienced its initial growth 15 years ago, by taking over a former Regus franchise location in Walnut Creek, California when they failed on their rent obligations. The Landlord in the end did not need the collateral, corporate guarantees, or personal guarantees that Pac would not offer (at the time Pac had only 2 existing locations). They cared that a knowledgeable operator would optimize the operation and pay market rent. That approach served them well. Two lease renewals and two lease expansions later, Pacific Workplaces Walnut Creek has never failed on its rent obligation, has become the largest tenant in the building, all to the delight of happy asset managers!

CloudVO Sister Company Pacific Workplaces Walnut Creek new coworking space and lounge

Formerly a Regus/HQ, Pacific Workplaces acquired its location in Walnut Creek, CA in 2004.  The location just completed a successful space refresh and offers all shared workspace options including coworking memberships, virtual office plans, private offices, and meeting rooms.

 

  1. Disruption of the tenant-landlord-broker relationships.
    “It’s more about disrupting the relationship of tenants to landlord, of tenants to brokers, of brokers to landlords,” writes the author in the Finance & Commerce article. There is much truth in that statement. WeWork is understandably in the spotlight, but the entire coworking industry is a threat to brokers in that it dis-intermediates the function of a broker for small space requirements, an increasingly large section of the market. The demand is meeting the supply online. For example, 85% of the leads of Pacific Workplaces, a California-based coworking operator with 18 locations, come from online channels, and only 1% come from traditional brokers. Online leads can originate from the operator’s own digital marketing efforts and from resellers and marketplace providers like CloudVO or Liquidspace, who are successful disrupting the role of traditional brokers, in part due to the more transparent nature of their online transactions, a refreshing approach, in contrast to the chronic opacity of traditional commercial real estate transactions. On the Enterprise segment of the market, companies with a large network of locations like Regus, WeWork or CloudVO have their own corporate account infrastructure that relies a lot less on traditional brokers and feeds off of what was once the brokerage word reserved territory.

6.  WeWork and Coworking Operators a threat to Landlords?
That is what the author of the Finance & Commerce piece argues. I think the truth is more subtle than laid out in that article. First, as a buyer of commercial buildings, it seems to me that WeWork is a beneficial player for the owners of assets they purchase, in that WeWork was the highest bidder. Otherwise the owner would presumably not have sold. Second, the trends towards mobility, the consumerization of the workplace, the continued decrease in corporate footprint per employee, are all threats to landlords in that the need for traditional commercial space is shrinking. Coworking and other forms of flexible office spaces are enabling these trends, but the threat to landlord is the trend, not the flexible office space operators. In fact, Coworking operators are natural partners for landlords to take advantage of that new secular trend. Managing coworking spaces is an entirely different profession than property management. Just as hotel landlords bring in franchise operators to manage the hotel (and don’t try to do it themselves), commercial office landlords need professional coworking operators to manage that new exploding demand.

Written by  Laurent Dhollande, CEO of CloudVO and Pacific Workplaces


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

Coworking Supports Mental Wellness, But We Can Do More

Mental illness used to be talked about in hushed voices behind closed doors. It was stigmatized and relegated to fringe conversations. The alarming rise in mental health issues has brought the topic of mental health and overall wellness from the fringes into the mainstream. But we still have work to do around destigmatizing it.

Nearly one in five U.S. adults (44.7 million people) lives with a mental illness. Of those, an estimated 56% don’t receive treatment. People who suffer from mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, often try to manage alone.

CloudVO Blog Coworking and World Mental Health Day Working alone is isolating

Coworking and Wellness
The coworking movement, at large, is making remarkable strides in supporting wellness and connection. Shared workspaces around the world prioritize well-being for members, through fitness programs, on-site yoga, meditation rooms, nap pods, wellness challenges, work-life balance programming and more. Steve King from Emergent Research argues that reducing loneliness is the new value proposition of coworking.

Workplace Wellness Emerges as a Core Theme NextSpace Coworking San Jose Wednesday Walkabout
NextSpace Coworking San Jose members walk to a local lunch spot together each week during their Wednesday Walkabout.

Workplace Wellness Emerges as a Core Theme in Coworking Spaces Treadmill EcosystmSF
Treadmills in coworking spaces to promote wellness in the workplace 

Mental Wellness in Shared Workspaces
There’s a growing notion in our industry that coworking spaces should contribute to our well-being—not just give us a place to work. Coworking is already ahead of traditional workplaces when it comes to member happiness and well-being.

Surveys of coworking space members found that 83% of respondents are less lonely since joining a coworking space; 89% report that they are happier since joining a coworking space; and 79% said coworking has expanded their social networks.

CloudVO Blog Coworking and World Mental Health Day Expand Social Networks

CloudVO Blog World Mental Health Day Coworking Reduces Loneliness

The Power of the Global Workspace Network
We are, as an industry, working to dismantle loneliness, and the growing wellness trend is heartening. The global coworking network is uniquely positioned to respond to member needs. What would it look like if we put the power of our network behind addressing mental well-being? We could do something truly remarkable.

Angel Kwiatkowski, Cat Johnson, Iris Kavanagh - Exhibiting The Power Of Being Vulnerable In A Group | Women Who Cowork
Angel Kwiatkowski, Cat Johnson, Iris Kavanagh – Exhibiting The Power Of Being Vulnerable In A Group | Women Who Cowork

Moves are being made in that direction, with increased focus on wellness at industry conferences, breakout sessions, small industry events and in-space conversations. Space operators are taking mental health first-aid courses, the CheckYoMate movement reminds us to check in on one another, and there’s a growing awareness around destigmatizing mental illness in coworking spaces as part of our movement to dismantle loneliness. But we could be doing more.

World Mental Health Day
October 10 is World Mental Health Day. The objective for the day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilize efforts in support of mental health.

As the website explains, World Mental Health Day “provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.”

CloudVO Blog World Mental Health Day Coworking Creates Collaboration

So let’s talk about it. How do you address mental health in your space? How could members of the global coworking movement better harness the power of our network to bring more mental wellness to coworking? What mental health resources would you like to see, both in your own space and from the global coworking community? Contact us and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

by Cat Johnson, storyteller and content strategist for the coworking movement.

Join our network of 700 locations around the globe. Visit us at   www.CloudVO.com    to list your location for free.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

The “new work” model

The CloudVO team recently sponsored and attended the 2018 Global Workspace Association (GWA) and NAIOP Flex Office Conference in Austin, Texas.

There were many fantastic presentations on the changing landscape of commercial real estate in this new Workspace-As-Service world.  However, Antony Slumbers, the keynote speaker was particularly impactful.

Flex Office Conference 2018 - Antony Slumbers

Mr. Slumbers laid out his view of the very real, and very rapid changes that are occurring in this latest revolution of work. He shared that the ‘old work’ model of structured, repeated and predictable work tasks will be automated and that 49% of all tasks our workforce currently does, falls under this model and will be automated. The future of work, “new work’ will include tasks that incorporate skills of design, imagination, inspiration, creation, empathy, intuition, innovation and collaboration’.  Our workspaces need to be available to make this new work workable…that is, be places that maximize the productivity of these ‘thought’ workers.

McKinsey quote from Antony Slumbers presentation at GWA Austin 2018

As approximately 70%+ of US workers work for companies with less than 500 people, this means that the corporate mega-headquarters (think of Facebook and Google campuses) are not an option for most workers. Flexible, workspace-as-a-service space need to be ready to cater to the needs of the ‘new workers’.  In fact, Mr. Slumbers tells us that currently 60% of large companies embrace the flexible workspace, outsourced model as an option for some of their space needs.

The trends for continued growth of this model are very favorable as is seen in explosion of sharing economy business models.  People no longer embrace ownership as in the past, they just want access, on their terms. In fact, the very motivation for businesses is not to own an office but to have a productive workforce. Ownership is only required to the extent it enhances the productivity of the employees.  This means, that for those of us operating in the shared services workspace industry…our job is not real estate, it isn’t even hospitality, it is something far more important and action-oriented – it is creating the place that enhances and allows the most productivity of our clients.

The ‘new work’ force actually makes the office more important, but creating the right experience to match the new skills and the new mindset is more complicated.  The success of our businesses will be decided upon which companies best create and curate space and services and are prepared to monitor, measure and shift, nearly on demand, to meet the needs of its clients.

This is exciting stuff, folks!

View Mr. Slumbers’ Keynote slide deck from the conference.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.