Monday, January 7, 2019

The Future of Value, Shared Office Edition

There is room for further innovation in the commercial real estate industry for shared office coworking space. The hospitality industry has developed smaller and more granular rental time frames and spaces, and the same would be useful in the commercial sector.

The current shared office business model typically includes a monthly membership for access to a working space with WiFi, and for a higher price a member can rent a specific secured space to which only they have access. Some coworking spaces offer snacks and food for while people are working.

Sometimes even these arrangements are unnecessarily limiting. For instance, in some cases the people using shared office are part of a cohort with a time-limited duration of time using office space.

Some of us would like to be able to have a secured access on a more temporary basis. Being able to have a space in which we can work and temporarily lock our things while we may step out briefly would be ideal.

Back when mobility of communication and office productivity was a novelty, some of the marketing depicted people being able to be on the beach or in a hammock somewhere doing their work in a blissful environment. I've done something similar before, and I found there is one important limiting factor about working outside or not in a dedicated office or work space: restroom breaks.

Being able to rent a secured space by the day, partial day, or hour would be preferred. I've seen dedicated office space in a shared office rent for about $500 per month. That works out to about $16 per day. Considering there are 16 hours in a day, an ideal flat rate price for temporary secured office access would be $1/hour.

As far as I'm concerned, the competition for commercial real estate is the home office and a home internet connection. If a shared office can be more affordable than a home internet connection, and overcome the inconvenience of working outside, yet still require an investment to motivate one to work, that would be valuable.

This would involve upgrading security for a private office space from a physical lock to an electronic lock. Some automation of the lock updating and access process would also help streamline the short-term rental process.

Unlike a secured office that is leased over the long term, this kind of arrangement would likely mean no or little office decoration. Considering this is largely a utilitarian venture, that's fine by me.

Another option that could be useful is some basic infrastructure for accessing a virtualized workstation. This would more fully enable hands-free coming and going, yet still enable people to be productive on a short-term basis with short notice. I would likely use my own laptop (hence the desire for temporary room security), but access to a printer would be helpful. I suppose for some, access to an easily locked virtualized desktop would mitigate the need for a secure office.

In Deep Work, one example was given of a company that used their building architecture to lay out their offices to be progressively private. The kind of temporary shared office suggested here would be for using a space as a more private focused area than a shared, more public distracting area.

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