Bisnow interviewed Antony Slumbers, keynote speaker for FlexOffice 2018, Sept. 12-14 in Austin, Texas. See an excerpt of the article below, and register online for this collaborative conference exploring cutting-edge office trends and tech.
The future of office space will be about more than square footage or open-office floor plans. Rather, office managers will have to focus on creating an attractive user experience, from free coffee to lounge space, for every occupant. In the U.S., around 1.2 million employees worked in a coworking space last year. With flexible office space now the main driver of office occupancy growth, many landlords have started to convert conventional office space into coworking and flexible space.
It is a change that former property developer, entrepreneur and consultant Antony Slumbers believes will reshape how commercial real estate companies manage and market their office properties. For Slumbers, the age of simply leasing out an office space and keeping the building lights on is over. Owners must now either learn how to leverage data and collaborate with office occupants or partner with a brand providing that service.
“Real estate is no longer a bond-like industry where long-term leases of office space lead to long-term returns on investment,” Slumbers said. “The world has turned from having one customer to whom you send a rent invoice four times a year, to your customer being every single person in the building. They have to be sold on the user experience that you provide for them. It’s an entirely different mindset.”
A combination of improving technology and offering shorter lease terms has helped fuel the transformation of office space from a static product to a service-focused industry. While office occupants of the past relied on stationary equipment like desktop computers, file cabinets and landline phones to complete tasks, mobile phones and laptops have given employees an opportunity to choose where and how they work. Portable technology has also transformed offices from cubicle farms to community gathering spaces, where employees focus on more collaborative work that requires social activity and innovative thinking.
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