When Patricia Lynne, CCIM addressed a commercial audience at NAR’s annual conference in 2011, she talked of a radically shifting office space marketplace. She saw the common cubicle-farm concept of office space rapidly falling out of favor with the youngest office workers. The millennial generation are used to high mobility, high connectivity and knowledge work, and the cube farms across the country just weren’t set up with these things in mind.
Further, a wave of venture capital is crossing the country, funding startups in technology and related fields, trying to springboard the next Groupon or Amazon. The shared office model being second nature to the generation of workers that will power these startups means that the office real estate practitioner who ignores this new pattern of economic development is likely missing out on a big chunk of the future.
While the predictions suggest a growth in alternative office occupancy models, a look around the web confirms it. Indeed, shared office space, incubator-style arrangements idealized for startups and membership-based rental models are on the rise in primary and secondary markets. Traditional office building listings websites and services are generally a poor fit for this market, so let’s take a look at some of its key sites that define the online marketplace in shared office space.
Craig’s List - Due to its information simplicity, CL remains hospitable to the shared office listing alongside the listings for more traditional listings for buildings, floors, blocks and the like. Due to Craigslist’s history and cultural positioning with the technology industry, it will probably always be a stop for the prospective technology startup on the hunt for affordable, flexible and appropriate digs.
SuiteMatch – Powered in part by Zillow listings, this site provides listings in over twenty major cities. Searches for spaces in Chicago came up with bupkus, so I got an impression of thin offerings, although listings did show up in markets highly identified with tech startups such as San Francisco. Just not as many as I expected.
Regus – Using Google AdSense aggressively and an effective landing page strategy to market shared spaces and suites, Regus is a player in this market that displays full understanding of search marketing .
SharedBusinessSpace.com - This “national office sharing directory that solely focuses on unused space for rent that is available within an established business location” boasts”hundreds” of listings and focuses on 10 major markets. Kudos for being upfront about the amount of listings, but I wished I could find more.
ShareYourOffice.com – Neat design, map support and information-rich listings make this worth a look when considering a marketing plan for shared office space.
Overall, I saw all the hallmarks of a major marketplace in its early stages – plenty of room to grow. What are some sites catering to shared office space that you’ve seen?