[EXCLUSIVE] Disconnect between Landlords & Occupiers for Flexible Spaces, says Mark Furness, Founder & CEO, essensys

Only 13% of occupiers believe that landlords are strongly positioned to serve their flexibility requirements

By Mark Furness

The future of work will definitely be hybrid. What has been lost during the pandemic, in my view, is a disruption of the major decision-making process due to 100% remote work. This most profoundly impacts business leaders receiving critical inputs where conversations, brainstorming, and decisions are discussed organically. When our staffers are in the office together and communicate and collaborate in real time, it elevates the input chain to arrive at better business outputs.

Work is about far more than completing tasks, it is about belonging to a community that you really care about. It will be a difficult balance to manage any requirement or preferences to have workers in the office on certain days once the vaccines are rolled out and an individual’s comfort level in returning to in person work.

The key is to provide options for the individual worker – how many days a week in office, what locations work best, proof of sanitation for workspaces, touch free and smart building access, private networks to keep data secure, how many people are in the building and how far apart they are.

Office culture will once again thrive when there is a regular cadence of workers collaborating and communicating in-person when the timing is right. Before that is feasible, the vaccines must be widely available. Flexible offices with best-of-breed digital and physical security and great in-building occupier experiences will fuel the rise of the new normal and permanent hybrid model.

We have been in lockdown for more than a year and are eager to return to some in-person working that accommodates the preferences and priorities of individual employees so that our entire team is stronger. As a software company, we have been able to work effectively. We were able to launch our new Flexible Service Platform during the pandemic and we are rapidly growing in the U.S. because the demand for flexible office space is robust. It is my belief that our culture will be further enhanced, and our productivity will escalate as our global teams return to some in-person work.

I am sharing highlights of some new research about global flexible real estate commissioned on behalf of essensys, provider of the technology to make flexible workspaces work for over 15 years in over 179 cities amounting to over 20 million square feet.

The report examined how ready commercial real estate landlords are to accommodate the need for flexible office space and the types of concerns, demands that occupiers care about. Key findings include a disconnect between landlords and commercial occupiers for flexible spaces:

  1. Only 13% of occupiers believe that landlords are strongly positioned to serve their flexibility requirements.
  2. Nearly two thirds of occupiers (60%) plan to leverage flex space over the coming three years but only half of landlords (53%) are currently offering a premium flexible space option.
  3. Almost half (46%) of occupiers believe access to higher quality technology is a key driver of flexible space offerings. While 70% of landlords understand that technology is either an essential or important component in flexible spaces, many are still falling short of occupiers’ rising digital and experiential expectations.

The report shows that 67% of occupiers are not fully satisfied with the data security provided in flexible spaces, pointing to a critical area of investment for landlords to consider.

Technology is a powerful tool in providing options and a level of confidence for workers to return to the office on a regular basis. The future is all about flexible commercial real estate to scale up and down with global occupier demand.

Mark has over 15 years of experience in building global SaaS and IT organizations. With a focus on automation and self-service, he founded essensys in 2006 to change the way space providers deliver services and meet occupier requirements in the flexible office sector. Mark is passionate about innovation, customer success and company culture.