This Q&A talk with Michael Berretta, Vice President of Network Development at IWG and owner of co-working brands Spaces and Regus, originally appeared in the Hartford Business Journal January 14, 2019.
HARTFORD BUSINESS JOURNAL: Spaces is set to open a new co-working location in West Hartford’s popular Blue Back Square in February. Why did you choose this location and what will the new space entail?
MICHAEL BERRETTA: West Hartford is a hub for established businesses and the town is currently seeing a rise in startups. Because of this, there is an increase in demand from businesses of all sizes looking for flexible working space.
The Blue Back Square location (71 Raymond Road) was the ideal location for the Spaces Connecticut debut. The neighborhood combines top restaurants and retailers with a thriving business community.
At the Spaces West Hartford location, the private offices, dedicated desks, open-area business club, and fully equipped meeting rooms provide a wide variety of working scenarios. Members can utilize different work areas based on their evolving business needs.
HBJ: There’s been a significant increase in co-working spaces in Greater Hartford. Why is this office trend so popular right now? Are you worried about an oversaturation of the market?
MB: According to a recent survey from IWG, Spaces’ parent company, 84% of U.S. respondents feel flexible working helps them create a presence in new markets. The Blue Black Square Spaces location will help meet this demand.
The co-working industry is experiencing such growth right now mainly due to the plethora of benefits it offers companies, including: providing businesses the ability to scale up or down in new markets; offering less commuting time to employees, which improves their work-life balance; and giving companies an opportunity to network at a central location with other Spaces tenants.
We only enter new markets where we know we can meet the demand for new and existing clients.
HBJ: Is there anything that will be offered at the Spaces co-working location that is unique, or not offered by other traditional co-working sites?
MB: A key differentiator for IWG is the diversity in the geographies we operate in, the type of companies we work with and the offerings we provide.
Spaces originated in Amsterdam and exploded into the U.S. co-working scene in 2015. Since that time, it has built up an expansive portfolio spanning the globe.
The company currently has more than 50 co-working spaces in the U.S. And, as part of the IWG network, members have access to more than 3,300 locations in over 1,000 cities across more than 110 countries.
Scale is important for our customers who can work from anywhere.
HBJ: What types of businesses are you hoping to attract? What are the contract terms of rental spaces?
MB: Spaces works with all types of clients from startups to small- and medium-sized enterprises to large multinationals, including Uber and Microsoft.
Whether it be the startup looking for an agile space to network and attract talent, or a large conglomerate looking to scale their workspace without locking in to a long-term, rigid real estate agreement, we offer something unique to every client type.
The benefit of co-working is that there is flexibility in contract terms. Companies are not bound by long-term leases and they can expand and contract quickly based on their business needs.
HBJ: Does Spaces plan to open other Connecticut locations?
MB:MB: Connecticut will continue to remain a key growth market for us and we see lots of opportunities to expand our presence within the state.
HBJ: How do you see the co-working trend evolving over the next five years?
MB: Our sister company, Regus, just recently announced the results of its economic study, which predicts a boom in flexible working that could contribute up to $4.2 trillion annually to the U.S. economy by the year 2030. We see the industry continuing to grow because the personal and strategic benefits for people and business are so strong.
Learn more about Spaces West Hartford, Blue Back Square
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