There are some excellent opportunities in commercial real estate despite the crash of 2020. A lot of real estate holders took a rather unpleasant bath as they were left holding property that no one wanted. Retail made a mad dash toward the nearest eCommerce portal they could find. Restaurants discovered ghost kitchens. And the big winners were Amazon and Uber. Even the typical business office spaces suffered losses because everyone discovered Zoom and realized it was a lot cheaper than flying. Deals could still be made and the world still continued to turn, just not for the commercial real estate sector.

But this is a newish day. We are seeing the emergence of the new normal. While it isn’t what anyone hoped for, it does fall well within the realm of the art of the possible. It is time to stop trying to relive 2019 and start working on 2022. There is a new opportunity in the commercial real estate market. You just have to know where to look. A lot of small businesses and new startups are looking for flexible office space. Many individuals who found that working from home was not working for them, will be looking for an interim step between home and a full-time return to the office. If you want to try your hand at such a space, do these things to make it work.

Versatile Workstations

It is clear from our failed experiments with the open office that you are going to need some office cubicles. They don’t have to be the same old gray containers of madness you’re used to. But they do have to serve the function of providing adequate division between workers in an open room. When one person coughs, it shouldn’t be everyone else’s problem. 

That said, it doesn’t have to be all cubicles all the time. You are going to want some collaborative spaces where people can freely meet and share ideas. Large tables with clear dividers might be the right call for the times. You will also want an open space that can become whatever you need at a moment’s notice. That space could be used for chairs set up auditorium style. That would work for presentations. Another time, it could be set up with tables to accommodate an office luncheon. The key to modern workspaces is flexibility. That starts with the way you allocate the space.

Better Break Options

The break rooms of the past are not good enough for the workforce of the present. A few unsteady tables and a coffee pot that is always empty will not cut it anymore. Many workers would rather get in their car and make a dash for a coffee shop in that fifteen minutes than spend a moment longer than they have to in the office. You can change that.

You should also pay attention to the break room because it is where employees go to unwind and recharge. If that is not happening, you are losing productivity. Some break rooms have game tables. Some have a television. Should a break room be a party environment or something more relaxing? Why assume you should have only one? While you are at it, be sure to allocate some space for literally lying down on the job. A sick room stocked with Tylenol will keep people at the office instead of going home for a headache. How people break is almost as important as how they work. Since everyone is different, provide options.

Plenty of Off-Network Wifi

There is nothing you can do to stop people from bringing their personal laptops and tablets to work, nor should you. No one is going to be at their best if they can’t get a message from their kid at school when something goes wrong. You also don’t want your work network clogged with everyone’s Facebook feed. Are these things distractions from work? Technically, yes. But practically, they’re not. The lack of outside stimuli is even more distracting. Some people do their best work while wearing headphones and headbanging to music. Others can’t get any work done without their Twitter feed running in the background. Just be sure the wifi is sufficient for a connected workforce.

It is possible for you to do all the right things and still lose your shirt. But you are less likely to fail if you create offices with flexible workspaces, a variety of break options, and plenty of wifi for personal use.


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