It's fair to say that the rapid growth in the serviced office sector is making us all review the way we work and the type of space we require. It's not just the look and feel of the space, the flexibility or price point that is making this option attractive to so many occupiers, it's the complete package of all of those things… and more.
The serviced office sector has become very competitive with operators constantly seeking ways to differentiate themselves. One element that is becoming increasingly important is the way in which they run their facility. Most have onsite Community Managers whose focus is on the concept and vision of the centre, with their role potentially wide ranging and requiring a unique combination of skills.
While an element of the Community Manager’s job can be the more traditional functions of running a building such as facilities management, reception duties and service desk, it is unlikely these will be the focus of any job description. Instead, the providers are looking for someone to bring energy and vibrancy to a space, with Community Managers needing to be able to create the appropriate ambience like a good party planner.
Through managing the right tenant mix, organising relevant events and a support network to help the business occupants flourish, while also providing amenities that promote the wellbeing of all end users, Community Managers have a varied and diverse role. It's about constantly evolving the space to make it conducive to collaborative working and operating the facility so that people want to work and socialise there. This is a competitive market after all.
In the same way corporates (traditionally more conventional office occupiers) are also competing against their peers and other sectors to recruit and retain the best talent. Are we therefore likely to see a new role of a Community Manager emerge within these organisations that combine a mix of strategic and tactical skills, as well as encompassing an element of all operational disciplines including Finance, HR, Real Estate, IT, Marketing and PR?
Staff are the new customer and productivity and wellbeing is the new measures of satisfaction. While the role of Community Manager may not sit with one individual, what is clear is that a workplace strategy endorsed by the business and communicated to staff through inclusive engagement needs champions.
Attitudes to the workplace are shifting and workers are becoming increasingly discerning about how they best operate. They have very clear expectations about their workplace requirements and what they need to enable their favoured ways of working. Discussions around the amount of space required are being replaced with conversations about the services employees expect.
A Community Manager will stay in tune with that and help keep the workplace relevant and staff happy, which in turn should have a positive impact on productivity.