This week, we want to look at workspace from a slightly different point of view.
Whilst we love getting people into our fantastic and innovative spaces, there would be no spaces to get into were it not for our brilliant hosts.
And as you can imagine, establishing a popular workplace that’s loved by its tenants is no mean feat – there are many factors to take into consideration, and the endeavour takes a great deal of time and thought to get right. But that’s certainly not to say it’s not possible, or in fact enjoyable – and it can often be incredibly rewarding in many ways.
From a purely financial point of view, hosting tenants (whether it be through starting a dedicated workspace, or by simply renting out the spare desks in your office) can be a highly lucrative and astute business move. But on top of that, bringing together companies of all sizes and from varying industries can pool expertise, foster creativity and expand networks.
This week we’ll be telling you the stories of how two of our hosts have created their own successful workplaces – one from the point of view of a growing office space empire, and the other a brilliant example of how hosting can complement your own business.
We wanted to know how WorkPad has become such a strong provider of workspace, so we asked Jonathan, one of their co-founders, a few questions about the journey they’ve been on so far.
Hi Jonathan! So, tell us a bit about WorkPad.
Jonathan: Our buildings are generally period in style, centrally located, full of original features, and tasteful yet minimalistic in design. With an unbranded product, and less than ten companies per building, our members are able to maintain their anonymity and identity. We describe our model as a hybrid between a traditional commercial lease, and a serviced office. Members are able to benefit from the privacy of a traditional office lease, with added services. The best of both worlds!
What was the vision behind the spaces?
Jonathan: Similar to most companies, we wanted to do things differently. Our vision was to create an office from which we would be proud to work from ourselves. A non-curated private experience, which allows our members to feel a sense of ownership, stability and pride, with a strong emphasis on behind the scenes customer service.
And if you had to sum them up in three words?
Jonathan: Private, boutique and classy.
So when you opened the first WorkPad – what did you do first?
Jonathan: Our first office was a coworking centre on Lexington Street in Soho. Quite simply, we filled it with desks (120cmx60cm), hired a coffee machine, and installed bonded broadband internet providing WiFi only over a home router. We took out ads on Gumtree, installed promotional posters in the windows (which we were forced to take down after a week) and waited. And waited. A worrying start, which soon turned into a lack of space.
Then what happened? Talk us through the rest of the process.
Jonathan: Our experiences from our initial venture with coworking were both character building and insightful. Benefiting from what we had learnt, we decided that our second office was to provide private spaces only. Members were able to determine their own temperatures instead of it being put to a vote. Two offices became three, the three became fourteen.
Is there anything in particular you wish you’d known at the start?
Jonathan: No – we’re defined by our experiences.
How has WorkPad evolved since the start?
Jonathan: It goes without saying that each new building has been an improvement from the last. We have learnt what works and what doesn’t work.
We also place (and spend) a huge emphasis on tech. We are a techy company in an age old industry. It’s been a fascinating experience to be able to place a layer of tech on something traditional, and automating processes which have no right to be automated. The end goal has and will always be to provide our members with a superior level of customer service, and ultimately a more productive working environment.
Do you have any plans to open more spaces in the future?
Jonathan: We’re always looking!