The Synergy of Coworking and Commercial Real Estate Agents
The Changing Face of an Industry
These are significant days for the coworking segment of the commercial real estate industry. As the very nature of work has been redefined so has the actual physical workplace. Predictably, these combined changes have far-reaching implications for commercial real estate agents that go well beyond commission.
At its most basic, the impressive growth and rapid expansion of the coworking model is fundamentally transforming the way commercial real estate is structured. And coworking’s impact — which relies on innovative use of existing/new office space — is manifesting across the entire commercial real estate ecosystem. Likewise, the industry’s movers and shakers are adjusting and strategizing to adapt to this changing reality.
The Shifting Nature of Work
Today’s economy is primarily compelled by innovation and information versus a reliance on manufacturing. Hence, what constitutes work and the workforce has shifted dramatically as well. With an estimated 400,000 Baby Boomers retiring annually by 2020 in Canada each year, Generation X, and to a greater extent, Millennials and Generation Z will be left to provide the labour to replace them.
Millennials and Gen Z are digital natives who are never without their devices. As they carry everything needed for work with them, their notion of work is no longer tied to a physical place but rather viewed as something extremely transferable. Essentially, for them, the ‘traditional office’ is an outdated concept.
That noted, an Emergent Research survey on coworking found nearly 83 percent of respondents reported joining a coworking space saw them experience less loneliness, reflecting the growing trend towards “working alone together”! Further, the perception is that productivity is enhanced by using a space according to the work that needs to be completed — private offices for focused tasks, meeting rooms for brainstorming, shared common spaces for networking — so today’s ideal workplace needs to revolve around flexibility and choice.
reported they are happier
reported they are less lonely
reported coworking helps keep them sane
The Expanding Opportunity for Commercial Agents
Many commercial agents initially hesitated to embrace coworking as the traditional real estate market shifted to the then mostly-unknown model. However, in light of the continuing growth of coworking and its being the preference of the largest block of the workforce, savvy agents are definitely adapting so as to be able to service those who are invested in finding agile working solutions.
Landlords too have come to recognize the inherent value of partnering with commercial agents and have stepped up their efforts to cultivate ongoing relationships. Many now offer formal commission programs. Additionally, they may incentivize agents with promotions that bump up commission, allow bonuses to be earned or offer financial rewards for referrals.
Wise commercial agents also recognize coworking’s appeal has spread well beyond the original cohort of freelancers and start-ups and now includes many larger corporations as well.
Wise commercial agents also recognize coworking’s appeal has spread well beyond the original cohort of freelancers and start-ups and now includes many larger corporations as well. These bigger players find coworking makes it easier to attract new talent and also increases employee productivity since coworking is seen as a perk.
The Evolving Coworking Landscape
Big picture: Coworking is here to stay and is projected to continue growing. More commercial landlords will be building from the ground up to accommodate cosharing. As well, they’ll be developing strong brands to effectively compete and attract users. Conversely, tenants, possessed of considerably more flexibility, will be increasingly regarded as guests and the workplace viewed as a hospitality platform designed to enhance work-life balance.
As coworking’s influence manifests across the commercial real estate spectrum, increasing numbers of commercial real estate clients are giving coworking the serious consideration it deserves. To be sure, brokers are definitely navigating a new landscape wherein exceeding client expectations will demand a swift response, flexibility, and coworking expertise.
…brokers are definitely navigating a new landscape wherein exceeding client expectations will demand a swift response, flexibility, and coworking expertise.
Clearly, the coworking train has left the station and successful commercial agents would do well to join their competitors who are already on board! Commercial agents who work in tandem with clients to identify innovative workplace solutions are building solid relationships. Finding these clients, whether non-traditional workers or large corporations, a dynamic workplace with affordable overhead that can adapt along as growth demands, is a rewarding business!