A shifting real estate industry: Interview with Karl Garberg @ United Spaces

The real estate industry is currently experiencing an interesting shift with new technologies emerging for wide adoption, increased requirements for sustainable buildings, and on top of these trends an increased demand for social distancing from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Techno Creatives is launching a series of insight-driven real estate articles having worked with the real estate industry from different angles and actor roles. We had a chat with Karl Garberg Head of Marketing at United Spaces to explore current key trends in the office space market, the impact from Covid-19, and what lies ahead to maintain long term tenant satisfaction.  

Which are the key trends in the commercial real estate industry that you and United Spaces are looking closer into and what are the implication of Covid-19? 

We see a strong underlying trend of both large corporations and individuals demanding a flexible and full-service office space. This means for us that our tenants should have commercial flexibility in the space they wish to rent but independently of this flexibility maintain full-services in an inspiring environment.

Given the nature of our product, people sharing co-working space, we have accelerated initiatives on social distancing. How to maintain a separated flow in the office, how to enter meeting rooms etc. leveraging Six Feet Office principles. Luckily, many of our tenants remain satisfied with our services and have rather in some cases decided to scale down their rented space for a given time period. 

Karl Garberg Head of Marketing @ United Spaces

Looking five or even ten years ahead what are the main initiatives you see are necessary to remain relevant and keep the tenants satisfied?  

The implication of Covid-19 has accelerated the ongoing trends and put forward situations that might have been here twenty years from now. In twenty years, I believe we don’t have one office space that we always go to, rather there will be options to find a personalised solution that suits well into the specific needs and expression of the individual. Some days you might be operating from your corporate office, some days from your own selected co-working space, and other days from home.  

In line with fulfilling specific needs, we aim to provide Office-As-A-Service based on a digital platform with less dependency on the physical space. The digital platform will provide access to lectures, know-how, networking, and ad-hoc physical office renting. With this, additional flexibility is created for the individual and the shifting need.  

Which are the key metrics you see coming that will drive your business in the foreseeable future?

Space utilization obviously is one key metric we track. We do aim to dig a little deeper into the utilization figures and create granular visibility of how the utilization data is changing over the course of the week and by specific spots, leveraging sensor technology and artificial intelligence. 

Another key one is the price per square meter in which United Spaces as full-service providers incur additional cost than “normal” office space and thus have to innovate around how to create a fairly good price per square meter to ensure a profitable business. 

Finally, in the coming years we will start to look more into figures from the digital natives and key metrics around digital services such as the number of active users and their engagement level. End of the day we need to keep providing top services to our tenants to ensure they remain in our spaces and recommend it to others so we can continue to grow. 

United Spaces - is a full service co-working concept with offices in Sweden’s largest cities. Together with their community of 1500+ members, they have supported companies and people to grow over the last 20 yearS.
The Techno Creatives - tailor iconic experiences, services, and products - partnering with companies across the globe. With offices in Gothenburg and Shenzhen, The Techno Creatives leverage design, strategy, and tech capabilities to explore, develop, and accelerate new impactful solutions.

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