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In May, industry expert Karen Condi, President of Workspace Strategies, joined Frank Cottle on The Future of Work Podcast by Allwork.Space to delve into the dynamic world of coworking spaces, evolving business models, and the burgeoning hybrid work trend. Condi’s insights come at a pivotal time as property companies increasingly venture into the shared workspace industry, seeking to adapt to the shifting landscape of work.

Workspace Strategies, under Condi’s leadership, manages coworking spaces nationwide, delivering impressive returns to its clients. “Our clients are receiving 130-170% of market rents,” Condi highlighted, attributing this success to a strong emphasis on creating hospitality-focused environments. This approach sets them apart in an industry that is rapidly evolving. “I liken this business more to running a hotel than a real estate place,” she explained to Cottle. “Sure, there’s space and square feet involved, but it’s more of a hospitality business, much more like a hotel.”

The discussion with Cottle illuminated several key trends and strategies within the coworking sector. One significant topic was the shift to hybrid work, a model that combines remote and in-office work. This trend has become a central consideration for coworking space operators. Condi pointed out a unique challenge posed by this shift: “One of the biggest competitors for us is people in their home offices,” she said. “We know we can compete with the company down the street that has a coworking space, but getting someone to come out of their home office and pay for space is something you’re going to be up against, so you got to create spaces that people want to be a part of and see the value.”

This insight underscores the need for coworking spaces to offer more than just a desk and Wi-Fi. It’s about creating an environment that fosters community, productivity, and comfort—mirroring the amenities and atmosphere one might expect in a hotel. Workspace Strategies’ success in achieving higher market rents can be attributed to this holistic approach, which blends practical workspace solutions with a hospitality-driven experience.

Condi and Cottle also explored the broader impacts of property companies entering the coworking market. As traditional real estate players venture into this space, they bring with them resources and expertise that can elevate the industry. However, they must also navigate the unique demands and expectations of coworking clients. This transition requires a deep understanding of the coworking business model, which differs significantly from traditional property management.

A key takeaway from Condi’s discussion is the importance of knowing your market and the specific needs of your clientele. For property companies eyeing the coworking sector, it’s crucial to understand that the coworking business is not just about leasing space; it’s about providing an experience that encourages people to leave their home offices. This means offering flexible terms, robust amenities, and a community atmosphere that fosters collaboration and innovation.

The conversation between Condi and Cottle offers valuable insights for anyone interested in the future of workspaces. By emphasizing hospitality, understanding the hybrid work trend, and recognizing the unique challenges of the coworking market, property companies can successfully navigate this evolving industry.

For a deeper dive into these topics, be sure to watch the full interview with Karen Condi on The Future of Work Podcast by Allwork.Space, where she shares more of her expertise and vision for the future of coworking spaces.