The Leader Magazine

SEP 2017

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F E A T U R E A R T I C L E 46 SEPTEMBER 2017 T h E l E ad ER a continuous feedback loop of new hacks and disruptions – a cycle that can power both commerce and a sense of commitment, sharing, and choice within and beyond its walls. 2017: Corporate occupiers open up their own spaces to coworking This past spring, at the 2017 CoreNet Global Summit in Shanghai (appropriately titled "Blurring the Lines: Transcending Boundaries"), PLASTARC collaborated with clients on the Verizon Global Real Estate team to present highlights of how they have transformed excess corporate workspace into coworking environments that foster the next generation of tech on their own front porch. Even we couldn't have imagined our 2014 prediction that corporate occupiers would begin to employ coworking as a way to activate and monetize their fallow space would come true so soon, and at such scale. As network technology continues to advance, the amount of square footage Verizon needs to house its equipment continues to shrink, leaving available space throughout its legacy-owned assets. In fall 2015, the company announced its strategy to repurpose and activate these spaces: they would open coworking communities in them. Following the successful launch of such spaces in New York City; London, England; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Washington, D.C., in the past two years, Verizon is continuing its global coworking expansion with plans to open in Singapore. What makes this particular real estate strategy so appealing – aside from the ability to collect rent on previously unused space? As a long-time telecom leader, Verizon recognizes that innovative ideas often come from outside traditional corporate R&D departments. By inviting entrepreneurial communities into their space, Verizon gains direct access to high-value talent, local tech startup subcultures, and global innovation networks. Verizon's own teams, working in close proximity to these communities, become poised to tap into their energy, spurring new ideas and improving Verizon's brand presence in its critical growth markets. A second benefit of taking the coworking tack is that Verizon's Global Real Estate team can apply the lessons they learn from these new ventures to their own workplace strategies. Coworking's primary emphasis on occupant experience is a positive precedent for any corporate workplace strategy to follow, and its lessons can be continuously mined for valuable insights about best practices in facilities design, employee policies, and public engagement. At the heart of corporate occupiers' decisions to open their doors to coworking is their evolved understanding of space itself as a critical opportunity to create a platform for innovation, collaboration, and communication that can support a range of business goals, from employee productivity to better brand awareness – and far beyond. What's next? Founded in 2004, Unity Technologies, the global leader in video game, augmented reality, and virtual reality software, provides one good example of the general direction CRE strategy is taking – and of the driving role that such relatively young companies continue to play in the future of CRE. Unity places top value on its people, the talent whose ingenuity and dedication serve to distinguish their company from its competitors. As all organizations who rely on knowledge workers would do well to recognize, Unity understands that the cost of real estate is small when compared with the value employees can create when they feel happy, productive, and empowered in their space. They also know that even though their work is all about virtual reality, their physical workspace is the most effective means they have of expressing their culture and values to their employees. This is why Unity casts their Workplace Experience (WE) team as a "community enablement team" that strives to cultivate the organization's unique culture. One challenge for Unity in this effort arises from their being a fast-growth Unity Technologies' offices in San Francisco, featuring an employee lounge and café space Mozilla's Japan office, where user-centric designs foster a "hackable" office

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