Diversifying work-styles in the U.S.: Closed hours of a restaurant used as a workplace!
Today in the U.S., in effort to improve work-life balance of each individual, a flexible and diverse work-style, not constrained by time or place, or tied down by conventional values, is beginning to infiltrate. From co-working spaces represented by WeWork, to one’s favorite café, the acknowledgement of any place being a possible workplace, is becoming established.
In the background of this, raised as a reason is that work can now be completed by internet, and people have become able to work whenever, wherever, with only a note PC or smartphone due to advances in technology, which led to the rapid increase of companies recommending remote work and freelancers, and brought about an increase in demand for people needing an unconventional workplace.
■Over half of the major U.S. labor population becoming freelance style, by 2027!?
According to the survey “Freelancing in America: 2017” (FIA) (https://www.upwork.com/i/freelancing-in-america/2017/), conducted by the survey company, Edelman Intelligence (https://www.edelmanintelligence.com/), UpWork, a cloud-sourcing service which connects companies from around the world and individuals to order/accept work, and Freelance Union, a labor union for freelancers, today, approximately 57.3 million Americans (occupying 36% of the U.S. labor population) are working in freelance style, making an annual 1.4 trillion JPY scale contribution. Since 2016, these numbers have been showing an over 30% increase, and if it continues to grow at the same rate, the prospect is, over half of the major U.S. labor population becoming freelance by 2027.
Starting with WeWork which has accomplished explosive growth in recent years, while various co-working spaces are appearing, such as women-only co-working spaces, and co-working spaces particular about health which offer yoga/meditation classes, acupuncture/esthetic treatments to their members, now, as a new trend, part of those people whom had, at one time, gone back-and-forth between a co-working space and a café, are beginning to utilize a closed-hour restaurant as their new workplace. Here, we will report on this new co-working space, making a match of business needs and pockets of time of commercial real estate.
■Closed hours of a restaurant becoming workplaces!
For individual or start-up co-working space users, there are large merits in a co-working space which is complete with work necessities, has comfortable, free space, and allows for deep interaction with other users. Furthermore, for people whom do their work at a café such as Starbucks, locations with many electricity outlets and well equipped with Wi-Fi, has been extremely handy.
On the other hand, among individuals whom utilize co-working spaces as their workplace, there have been voices such as “wish monthly costs were a bit more reasonable”, and “want to work at a different location every day”. At the same time, for those people whom utilize cafés as a workplace, the reality is that, there are many points which trouble them also in use as a daily workplace, such as securing a seat, café costs, surrounding noise, etc.
So, in answer to such user’s needs, targeted towards restaurants which only operate during the night, a new business model of renting out the restaurant space during the day as a co-working space, has been created and is beginning to spread.
A start-up work-sharing company in N.Y., founded by Preston Pesek and Chris Smothers in 2016. In partnership with restaurants which only operate during the night, they offer the open space during their afternoon closed hours as a co-working space. Presently, they have a total of 23 locations, 16 in N.Y., and 7 in San Francisco, and in May 2018, they succeeded in retaining an approximately $9.1 million series A investment. They aim to open 100 new locations hereafter.
Mr. Pesek, whom used to work at a real estate company, noticed that over 2,000 high-end restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn are closed until their opening time of a bit before 18:00. While thinking of ways to make good use of this open space until opening hours, he came up with the business model of offering this open space during afternoon closed hours as a co-working space to freelancers without an office, start-up businesses, office employees whom work remotely.
Characteristics of Spacious
The characteristics of Spacious is ① above all, by not owning the real estate themselves, enables them to minimize costs, thereby realizing a lower rate structure than other co-working facilities, ② no prior sign-up needed, and facilities at the location of one’s choice according to the person’s schedule or mood can be used, ③ prior to going, members can confirm seat availability on-line, ④ every location is equipped with a high-efficiency Wi-Fi, and an electricity outlet is placed at each table, ⑤ like conventional co-working spaces, coffee, tea, water and snacks are offered at all times, with Intelligentsia coffee (https://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/), a brand representing third way coffee, born in Chicago, offered at all you can drink, ⑥ private dinning spaces within the restaurant can be used as meeting rooms, ⑦ Spacious members can use any Spacious location as they please.
First, one visits the Spacious site, and signs up for a 1-week free trial. During the trial week, the potential member may visit any partner location as many times as they like, to check out the facilities. If one decides to become a member once the trial week is over, they get to choose a plan from within 3 options. Plans are, 1-month member at $129, 3-months member at $357, and 1-year member at $1,188 ($99 per month). All plans include high-speed Wi-Fi, and free coffee, tea, water, snacks service. It also includes use of all locations, and 1-hour free use for a guest ($6 per hour will be invoiced thereafter).
The process of using a location is very simple. Confirm opening hours, how crowded the locations are at the Spacious official site, and go to the location of your choice. Once you check into a location, the Wi-Fi password will be sent to your smartphone, and because there are no seating arrangements, just sit wherever you like. There is a Spacious staff present at all locations during office hours to support members. Office hours of locations are basically from 8:30 AM to 17:00 PM, varying a bit depending upon operating hours of each restaurant.
Space renting seems to be advantageous for the restaurant side also, because not only do they gain rental fee just by offering space which is normally unused until opening hours, they also gain free marketing since Spacious PRs locations using SNS, which leads to publicity impact.
Presently in N.Y., restaurants such as La Sirena, Aldea, Leuca, Bar Primi, Saxon +Parole, etc., are participating.
Founders are, Andrew Levy, whom as been involved in the creation of ecosystems in start-up companies for years, Daniel Rosenzweig, whom was in the real estate team when WeWork was started up, and Nick Lovacchini, veteran of the hospitality industry and owner of “Distilled NY”, a restaurant in N.Y. city. A start-up company which was established in 2016, from the wish to provide a comfortable, accessible and affordable workplace to modern workers. Tying a partnership with restaurants in N.Y. city which only operate during the night, offering the afternoon, out-of-hours open space as a working space or meeting space. Presently, in addition to Distilled NY, The Cannibal Liquor House, P.S. Kitchen, Atwood, Mykonos Blue Grill, Hotel Chantelle, they have 10 locations within N.Y. city.
Before becoming a member, one can sign-up for a 1-week free trial. After the trial is over, if a person chooses to become a member, they may choose the plan best befitting them from 3 options (LITE, PRO, UNLIMITED). LITE: 10-hours monthly network access plan ($25), PRO: 40-hours monthly network access plan ($49), UNLIMITED: unlimited monthly network access plan. In addition to high-speed Wi-Fi, coffee/tea/water/snack service, each plan includes invitation to exclusive events, community benefits, first 1-hour free service for guests (up to 5 people, $3 per hour per person will be invoiced to guests, thereafter).
Don’t want to work at home, but the cost of renting one seat in conventional co-working spaces is quite high and securing a seat and source of electricity to work at a café is troublesome, and drinks are costly. When you think about it, services such as Spacious or Kettle Space are affordable, and at N.Y. where diversification in work-styles continues to advance, it is predicted that the number of such facilities will continue to increase, hereafter.