2021 both started off with a bang and a frustratingly slow slide into the new year. Many expectations existed surrounding ridding ourselves of 2020 and all it had wrought. In the United States, we knew a new Administration was coming in, albeit, not without some difficulty. There were also some glimmers of hope with vaccines entering the market. However, ultimately, our day-to-day realities of living in a pandemic that has altered the fabric of our work and home lives, is still here. There was no big shift from December 31, 2020 to January 1, 2021. Hence, the ‘big changes, but negligible effects’ on our day-to-day sentiments unhappily co-existed.
We opened Venture X Arlington this past week, not with a huge celebration, champagne popping, or ribbon cutting, but with much of the same slow slide with which we all entered into 2021; ‘This is huge and exciting news, but let’s wait to celebrate until we safely can’. We decided to focus on making the space as safe, clean, comfortable and accessible for people and companies that are looking for scalable flex office space as we can. We focused on getting the space and employees ready be productive. We want to help usher in the return to in-office work period as safely, efficiently and cost effectively as possible.
As the owner of the facility, I would like to share my vision of the space and why we embarked upon opening it. I teach strategic marketing for UNC Chapel Hill MBA students and I love to study innovation and disruption. Some of my favorite case studies include companies like Apple and Uber who took the world by storm by upending a long held and traditional model of business, with new product offerings taking advantage of cutting-edge technology and distribution methods. Flexible office space, in my opinion, is exactly that disruptive force to the traditional commercial real estate options available to professionals. I applaud some of the early adopters of co-working models such as Regus and We Work for opening the market space to do this. As I studied the co-working business, I was struck that in the Washington DC market, the needs are a little different than in Los Angeles, New York or Miami. There was a segment in the market not being adequately addressed. Namely, the serious professional and government contracting and lobbying companies that should be able to take advantage of all that flexible office space offers (short term leases, scalable office sizes, shared amenities, built in IT and AV infrastructure), but with a greater attention to privacy, security and an enduring professional environment where we additionally cater to them by having speakers, lunch and learns and networking opportunities to help with organic learning and business development.
To that end, we designed a space and put it in a location and with a landlord partner, the Navy League Building owned by The Navy League, that we believe can accomplish all that and more. A space that is inviting and comfortable with the latest in IT and AV advancements. A space that will enable productivity and workplace satisfaction. A space that provides more privacy per office and more square feet per person than any other flexible office space, while still keeping the price point at a reasonable level. A space you will feel proud to invite your clients to spend time in and a space that takes your health and safety as a priority through strict sanitation protocols and hospital grade air ventilation. Importantly, the space is locally owned and operated by myself and my husband, both of whom who have had long careers in the corporate world, government and consulting and truly ‘get’ what is needed to succeed in Washington, DC. We are here for our customers to ensure they have the office space tools they need to succeed and to provide any other knowledge we can share about business, politics, policy and leadership.
Has it been a little nerve wracking opening a work space mid-pandemic when so many in the workforce are still home? YES! Am I confident in the business model? YES! If nothing else, the short-term pain that Covid has caused with respect to commercial real estate, is precisely the thing that will enable success of flexible office space. Thousands of companies around the globe have realized that work space can actually be more flexible. They realize that long term leases are no longer a requirement and that they can have office space that they can scale up and down over time in response to their market realities. They realize the benefit of providing spaces that are closer to where their employees actually live. COVID will, in the end, accelerate the adoption of flexible office space as an increasingly strong commercial real estate option. So, as you can perhaps glean from the title of this blog……I’m feeling good.
As you are making your ‘back to office’ plans, we welcome you to visit us here, take a tour and ask your questions. We would love to hear your feedback about you need to succeed and how we can provide that. We are all in this together. It is, indeed, a new dawn, a new day, a new life……and I’m feeling good!