COVID-19 Boosts Upflex Becoming an Enterprise Focus Platform

Upflex is a company that was created with a clear vision of the many benefits that putting businesses and people together with flexible workspace had to offer, but even they were surprised with the turn of events that took place as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Its CEO, Christophe Garnier says, “Upflex initially offered a niche service intended for start-ups. Instead of shutting us down, the pandemic pushed us into a new market: Fortune 500 enterprise clients. This has led us to believe that we need even more players in this unique niche space.”

Accorded to Garnier, just eight months ago, it was hard to imagine what the office of the future might look like: Some predicted cubicles of ceiling-high plexiglass accessed by touchless doors and elevators. Others debated the role of augmented reality. Yet others declared the office as people once knew it was dead. Now, coming up on, likely, a full year of the “new abnormal,” and after a widespread embrace of the flexible workday, more data is available to make this prediction. What people are seeing is something tech-based CRE companies never bargained for: Since summer, and increasingly onward, Fortune 500 companies have been ditching big office leases and have been coming to companies such as Upflex for information about a completely different arrangement: They’re suddenly after the very thing that this and other similar companies have been offering for almost four years now — a flexible, ‘pay-as-you-go’ version of hub & spoke.

Garnier added, “When we launched our tech-enabled network of flexible, dedicated micro-offices on demand in 2017, we were operating under the impression that our product was for start-ups — a cool benefit that would be easy for small, nimble early adopters to pick up and implement as a way to attract the right talent. It was on this premise that we recruited our first customers.”

He stated that the idea was companies would tap into their extensive network of on-demand office spaces, so their employees could work from any number of offices depending on where they were and what their needs were on any given day. This flexibility without added complication or cost was a great amenity. They did, however, know at the time, that this wasn’t an essential service. There was some demand, but not tons. They knew, so many companies — the Googles and Apples of the world, and everyone who wanted to be like them — wanted the opposite of what they were enabling. Instead of a hub buttressed by a vast network of micro-offices all managed through the same app, they were invested in creating one big, super comfortable space with tons of amenities, to make employees feel happy and at home. That office ‘wow’ factor was a way to get talent in the door while also coaxing employees into spending as much time as possible at work.

The company CEO said that all changed when 2020’s pandemic set in. The nimble start-ups were positioned to cut their budgets to the minimum. Many of their teams were already comfortable working from home, and they weren’t in a position to provide flex space as a cool employee perk. She added that there were moments early on when those at her company thought it might be the beginning of the end for Upflex. What they didn’t expect was that, within weeks, Upflex would start receiving inquiry after inquiry from very large companies. Enterprise companies that had gone all-in on the mega-office were realizing that above all, they needed flexibility.

“Now, we’re partnering with the flex/agile teams at some of the world’s leading brokerages and we are hearing from colleagues at those firms that their large occupiers find the on-demand hub-and-spoke solution addresses some of occupiers’ biggest 2020 concerns: namely, employee happiness and financial efficiency,” said Garnier, “While we have good reason to believe this flexible workspace and desk membership model will only grow more popular, we also see widespread adoption taking time.”

He went on to point out that one of the problems with the companies that have come to them for help is that they still have long-term leases on their shoulders. Some are on the brink of those leases expiring and they are ready to pivot. Others are finding it’s worth it to buy their leases out. Yet others will wait until their current lease expires to take the leap. The company CEO believes that in such an unpredictable world, it’s hard to know what lies ahead — for the future office, and the future of everything else — but speaking with these companies, they are seeing that this trend isn’t a snap reaction to the circumstances at hand; it’s a gradual evolution in the face of new possibilities. He mentioned that there is one more obstacle to adoption, though, and it’s an important one: There has never been a demand for this model until now, so there simply aren’t that many ways to enable it — yet.

Garnier added that through trial by fire while working with the first few Fortune 500 companies taking this leap — they have responded by designing sophisticated, enterprise-focused tools that enable companies to roll out and effectively manage distributed and on-demand workspace models. While it’s a nice feeling to be one of the very few tech companies primed to give the world’s corporate giants the solution they will need tomorrow, he acknowledges that it will also be a race between a handful of innovative companies who are after the same goals: creating efficiencies for their clients and a better experience for people around the world.

The company CEO finished by saying, “As more players arrive to this niche space, the more approaches there will be, and the more inspiration to go around. In 2021 and beyond, we are excited to see the flex office industry become even more dynamic and to see what other companies bring to the challenge. As always, competition drives innovation and now people have an even better answer when they ask, ‘Why Uplfex’.”

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For more information about Upflex Inc., contact the company here:

Upflex Inc.
Kate Walquist
support@upflex.com
833 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

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