5 Time-Saving Apps Every Small Business Owner or Entrepreneur Should Use

By | Business, Tips

Business E Suites provides productive office space and workspace to establish your business in a professional environment. Reach out to us today to find out more! 281-862-3150

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Starting and building a business is not easy, but most of the time, technology can help make things possible. Today, there are more than three million apps in the app store, making finding practical and helpful applications extremely difficult, especially for entrepreneurs who tend to work long hours and don’t have much time to lose. Business E Suites shares a list of the top five apps entrepreneurs and business owners can use to simplify their lives, have more free time, and work more efficiently.

On-the-Go Handlings

Evernote is a powerful and valuable app for on-the-go note-taking, idea-sharing, and organization for any modern entrepreneur. Whether you’re handling your to-do list, saving a webpage, or planning a trip, this app is user-friendly and syncs across all your devices, including your company’s desktop. You can also verbally dictate notes, bookmark, and save photos to keep your devices organized and the folders easy to access.

Communication at Its Easiest

Even though it’s an easy and convenient way to communicate with your staff and customers, email can take up massive amounts of time, especially if several people at your company have access to a business-wide inbox. Front is a multi-channel inbox that stores email accounts and, optionally, social media accounts. In addition, the app allows you to also access private and shared emails in the same place, saving you from opening and looking at a few interfaces simultaneously or logging into several different websites.

And when it comes to communicating to your customer base via social media, posting and tracking Instagram stories is simplified and streamlined by using Adobe’s Instagram story template library. This tool makes quick work of a story design that the world will see, graphically appealing and tailored to your unique brand and message. You can upload your own images or use the rich stock photography and graphics for inspiration and use for free.

Payroll and Profit Tracking

Payroll and accounting software like Gusto and QuickBooks offer numerous tools to make running a business easier, including features that help you streamline team management, handle payroll, and get real-time insights into your business’s profitability and expenses. With this software, you’ll be able to easily view available resources and billable hours, along with customizing invoices and tracking revenue streams and trends.

What’s better, the software also has a mobile app so you run your business on the go. Even with an accountant, investing in this software can help reduce the time it takes for you to collect W-4s, calculate and withhold income taxes, and pay taxes for your staff.

Tracking Business Expenses

Unless your company is accounting or finance-related, you probably have a hard time keeping track of your business receipts and expenses. Expensify is an excellent timesaving application for this – it takes most of the hurdle out of the way by allowing you to snap a picture of a receipt and then upload it to your account. The tool fills in the expense details, places the receipt next to the associated credit card account, and shares the data with your accounting program.

Social Media Management

Lyfe Marketing notes that social media has quickly become one of the most crucial tools small business owners and entrepreneurs use to promote their ventures. The only issue is, managing social media across several platforms can become time-consuming and exhausting. This is where Hootsuite comes to help.

​The app allows you to handle your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and other accounts through one dashboard. Hootsuite enables you to schedule and manage posts, tweets, and messages via the interface – it’s like having a professional social media manager working at all times. The tool also provides you with basic reporting abilities for free, with complex reports offered in exchange for a small sum.

The Bottom Line

Technology now helps small businesses and entrepreneurs maximize their time so they can be more productive and efficient. From handling their notes on the go to managing the payroll system and tracking business expenses, there are numerous ways to leverage small business technology.



The Rise Of Productivity As A Service In The Coworking Model

By | Business, Industry

Photo Credit: Getty 

In 2020, it briefly seemed like the stunning rise of coworking spaces would come to a crashing halt. Now, however, new coworking spaces and other shared office models are cropping up in every m Beyond Coworking: Physical Spaces Designed For Productivity

Before the pandemic, the noisy, close quarters and social energy of coworking spaces was an asset for some; for others, a drawback. 

To justify the overhead of a managed flexible office space, companies must ensure that a new space solves the pain points of WFH. Many coworking spaces, even with reduced capacity, still have the disruptions that professionals are seeking peace from.

For this reason, we may start to see coworking evolve from chatty social hubs to productivity destinations. The layout of this new type of coworking space might include:

• Private offices.

• Sound-masking technology and closed doors.

• Designated collaboration rooms to keep noise levels at a minimum.

The Burden Of Office Management

Throughout the pandemic, remote workers have acted as building managers of their own offices, securing office supplies, IT infrastructure and room bookings all on their own. Doing that takes a lot of time out of their day, and context switching hinders productivity

Another key advantage of choosing a coworking space, as opposed to a normal office lease, is that employees no longer have to handle the logistics of office life themselves. Shared office spaces can distinguish their offerings with amenities that teams can’t get at home, including:

• Front-desk service.

• Mail and shipping service.

• Onsite IT support.

• Access to a notary public.

The service component of coworking and other shared office spaces may be especially desirable to small companies that don’t have robust HR departments. This way, coming into the office means having to worry about nothing but the work that matters.

Plus, a dedicated office manager can regulate all of the other components of a work environment that are critical to productivity, like ventilation, lighting and air quality.

Professionals Need More Than A Desk And A Chair

As the commercial real estate industry keeps a close watch on the return-to-office debate, investors should stay tuned to “productivity as a service”: offices that make productivity a primary selling point, not just space or location.

Coworking spaces are likely here to stay, but the ones that will stand the test of time will be those that understand the needs of the modern worker. That is, an office where professionals have all their digital, privacy and logistical needs taken care of, so they can actually focus on their work.

major city. Demand is on the rise again as many professionals itch to get back to the office — just not the office they went to before the start of this pandemic. 

To provide value to professionals who have the flexibility to work from wherever they please, offices must have what most homes lack: quiet, privacy and amenities that support focused work. For many, the shoulder-to-shoulder environment of old coworking spaces won’t cut it anymore.

Here’s a look at what the new “productivity as a service” paradigm means for commercial real estate.

Employees May Be Productive At Home, But Their Work Environments Are Taking A Toll

By many accounts, workers became more productive while working from home. The National Bureau of Economic Research estimates an overall 5% productivity lift in the U.S. economy from remote work, especially among knowledge workers who enjoyed less time in meetings at home and more time on the tasks that matter.

So why return to the office at all? 

One central challenge of working from home is disruption, whether from child care responsibilities or faulty internet connections. Even if professionals are able to get their work done at home, they may not be doing so in an environment that’s consistent and sustainable. Even worse, it may be taking a toll on their long-term health and well-being.

Company decision-makers don’t want to sacrifice the productivity their teams have found at home entirely, but they still want to provide a secure work environment for those employees who don’t have one at home.

3.0: Hybrid office model becomes the new normal

By | Business, Industry

It is no longer about where employees are working, but about how they are working


The future workplace will not be binary. It will be a mixture of several workplace formats, with co-working riding growth in the new normal.

In the pre-pandemic era, if a certain A company was looking for a co-working space, the options were cookie-cutter workstations, with 50-60 sq. ft. of average space per desk. Now, imagine the same company A is exploring a hybrid space across locations. It can utilize the services of a co-working operator to find the perfect space in preferred locations and customize the workplace as per its needs. It is no longer about where employees are working, but about how they are working.

Co-working space grew strongly during 2017-2019 with its stock growing by 2.3 times in 2019 as compared to 2017. The share of co-working space in total leasing volume also rose from 6% in 2017 to 20% in 2019. However, during 2020, this pace of growth experienced a setback. Across the top operators’ portfolios, the median occupancy level was around 65% during 2020. Occupiers closed unprofitable centers and postponed and even cancelled some new leases.

Now, we are entering co-working 3.0. Mandates with occupiers will be the way to go, and speculative buildings are a thing of the past.

Operators will also look at newer business models ranging from management agreements, hybrid models (fixed plus revenue share) to franchise models.

Choice-based models to emerge

Many Fortune 500 companies are betting on expanding through co-working spaces. During H1 2021, IT-BPM drove the bulk of transactions with a 57% share in total leasing in co-working centers.

Why should larger enterprises look at co-working?

1. Greater flexibility in leasing2. Outsourcing of space delivery and management to a third-party

3. Capital-light deal structures

As a hybrid model of working takes shape, occupiers are looking at decentralized teams, work from (near) home, and the hub and spoke model. Co-working spaces will fill this gap and offer convenience to employees while offering a collaborative workspace. It will provide a tech-enabled, customized experiential workplace to enhance productivity and wellness.

Over the next few years, most landlords will have a co-working share in their portfolio. However, they will look to partner with operators with experience in operations and management.

Occupier experience is key

Occupier experience has become of utmost importance in this competitive environment. User experience will determine brand loyalty in this highly competitive segment. The inclusion of digital infrastructure and smart facilities will increase operational efficiency and overall asset value. Moreover, providing facilities related to health and wellness will retain occupier interest.

Operators are also coming up with innovative solutions such as single-day work passes, global location access and virtual offices. Some of the co-working space operators are also partnering with educational institutions and service companies to organize skill development and knowledge sharing programs for their occupiers.

Co-working mushrooming in Tier 2 – 3 cities

Initially, the growth of co-working spaces was limited to the top 6 cities. However, post-pandemic, operators are expanding into tier-II cities. Now we are seeing large enterprises setting up satellite and sales offices in smaller cities. Moreover, hyper-local delivery players are taking up small office spaces in multiple locations as they are expanding in smaller cities. We expect this trend to continue and demand from e-commerce and fintech to rise in the next two years. Many of these existing centres are currently operating at more than 70% occupancy levels.

Overall, the utilization of co-working is imminent for growth and brand differentiation. The latter half of 2021 is already seeing a change in the way co-working companies operate. As our workplaces undergo a change, co-working too will evolve and offer more value to users.


Featured Member – Roy Huddle

By | Business

Roy Huddle is our resident lawyer (and ping-pong enthusiast!) here at Business E Suites in Sugarland. Roy got his law degree from the University of Houston, and he might be the ONLY Family Law Attorney you will ever meet who is Pro-Marriage!

Before starting his practice, Roy dabbled as a real estate broker and worked on mortgage lending law. Anyone who knows Roy can tell you that those things were not his true passion. Roy lives to serve others, and although he can do that through any profession, family law is where he feels like he can truly use his strengths to impact people’s lives positively.

The way Roy works with his clients is fundamentally different than most family law attorneys. Roy is openly Christian, Pro-Marriage, and wants to help his clients heal their families and avoid divorces. This is what caused Roy to break off and start his own practice, to pursue what he feels is the right way to do things. When I asked Roy the most rewarding and most challenging times in his journey as an entrepreneur, both answers stemmed from this one big decision.

It was challenging because perhaps he made a move too quickly. Roy hadn’t learned all of the basic fundamental skills and in’s and out’s of family law. Even though he wanted to do things his own way, he could have benefitted from a little bit more time learning and absorbing the knowledge of other more experienced professionals.

In the end, though, it has been an enriching experience as Roy has helped multiple families stay together and grow and improve. It is something he might not have ever gotten to experience if he had stayed with his old job and followed the status quo. Having a job that aligns with your values and lets you positively impact the world is one of the most fulfilling things we can do.

Roy joined us at Business E Suites because he loved the sense of community in the office. It fits the type of environment of love and support that he wants to create within his own business. Also, as a lawyer, Roy needs to work long hours and sometimes late at night. Many other places did not offer the 24/7 access that he needed to get his work done correctly.

One piece of advice that Roy has for other business owners starting out: have a vision and pursue your ideals, but make sure to spend some time learning the industry before taking the leap on your own. He encourages everyone to try and find a mentor that can guide them on their journey.

We love having Roy here at Business E Suites, and we hope to continue building our vibrant community with more members like him.


Advice for the Aspiring Gig Guru

By | Business

Entrepreneurship is a more attainable goal than ever. Today, you can sell your products and services to an unlimited audience and, thanks to technology, have the option to work at home or on the go. Finding a place that is good for your productivity is as easy as connecting with Business E Suites. Whether you’re looking for privacy, a co-working space so you broaden networking opportunities, or meeting rooms for your entire team, they have solutions. Call 281-862-3150 to learn more.


First, take a look at the “sharing economy” and a few tips on how to grow your budding business — as well as three mistakes that can squash your success.


The world is your marketplace but not everyone is your customer


Even though you have access to a bottomless people pool, your actual customer base will be small by comparison. But, even a small group of buyers can render a lucrative career if you learn how to define your target market appropriately. You must choose a specific demographic considering factors such as age, income and occupation. For instance, if you specialize in designer wedding cakes that cost $500 or more, you will need to target couples with a sizable disposable income.


Grab your first gig and get started


Just like riding a bike, becoming a small business owner requires a first few wobbly attempts at perfection. Before you dive in, it’s a good idea to work a few side gigs to help you weed out any imperfections in your processes. Social media lends itself well to marketing yourself so you can get that first vital project — without dipping far into your budget.


Slow and steady wins the race


In Aesop’s The Tortoise and the Hare, there was an unlikely winner – the tortoise – who beat his adversary not by being the fastest, loudest competitor, but the one with the most drive and determination. The tortoise kept moving at a steady pace and, when the hare was comfortable enough to let his guard down, became victorious. Business is no different. If you want to succeed, you will need to keep your eye on the prize and work toward success. You may be the best at what you do, but if you take on too much or fail to consider the competition, you are doomed to come in last.


Considering the fact that 20 percent of all businesses fail within the first year and more than one-third by the end of year two, the odds may seem stacked against you. But there are a few things you can do to stack the proverbial deck in your favor. Start by avoiding three of the most common mistakes made by new entrepreneurs, especially those who choose to work from home as an independent contractor or small business owner.


  1. Money mismanagement. Cash flow problems account for 82 percent of small business failures, according to Preferred CFO. These financial issues all come down to mismanaged funds. Avoid the temptation to use your newfound financial freedom to invest in yourself. Instead, funnel money into your entrepreneurial endeavor and learn how to price your product or service competitively. Do this for at least one year. Also ensure that you handle concerns like payroll properly; it’s all too easy to miss tax deadlines or not have the right amounts set aside to pay Uncle Sam. Fortunately, you can use a payroll app like Quickbooks to simplify concerns like withholding, direct deposit and tax deadlines. Assemble the right tools for keeping your books on track right from the start.


  1. Poor working conditions. Your home office can be an asset or liability. On one hand, you have the freedom to work your own hours; on the other, you may have problems separating your working life from your personal life. Make sure you have the right equipment and set specific office hours for yourself. If you’ve never worked independently, you’ll also need to learn how to navigate distractions such as the refrigerator, social media and the laundry. Scott & Sons notes that something as simple as cleaning off your desk can go a long way toward boosting your productivity.


  1. Hiring the wrong help. If you haven’t already and your business is growing, you will, eventually, need to take on employees. This is not a decision to be entered into lightly. While you might want to give your friends and family jobs, they may not be the right people for your business. Your employees are the face of your company whether you plan to stay local or go global. Choose them with care and based on experience, personality, and dedication to you and your business.


No one can guarantee your entrepreneurial achievements. But, if you focus on steady growth, financial responsibility and give yourself the tools you need to succeed, you’ll have a better chance at standing out from the crowd and becoming a samurai of the sharing economy.


Image via Pixabay

Google My Business

How Google My Business Can Unlock Your Business’ Potential

By | Business, Industry

Business is becoming increasingly digital across the board. One of the most powerful tools that you have as a small business owner is Google My Business. Once you secure a space to list your business and get verified through Google, it unlocks a massive amount of potential for your business to grow.

Everyone does their shopping online now. Even if a customer goes to the store to purchase something, chances are that they researched online beforehand and are going in knowing exactly what they want. You must make sure you are showing up in Google searches and that customers can easily find your products and pricing online.

At this point, if you are not listed on Google, then you are behind the curve. If you are not listed online with Google My Business and other similar tools, then your competitors are going to easily be able to drown you out and push you out of the market. Build and retain your market share in your industry with Google My Business.

So, you just got a brand-new website and it looks and feels great; Well, if you want to drive any kind of meaningful traffic to that website then you are going to need to have Google My Business. If you are not showing up in search results, then you are not going to generate anywhere close to the kind of website traffic that you need. Do not let all the time and money that you spent building a website go to waste, make sure you are directing as many views and clicks as possible to your site by using Google My Business.

Whenever a customer has a great experience with your business, you need to capture that and broadcast it online to build your reputation. Google My Business provides an easy way for customers to leave reviews and helps convey the strength of your customer service to others when they search online. This is not a new concept, but it has become increasingly important over the past years. Consumers will base their entire decisions on what they read in the reviews, so being able to collect and control them with Google My Business is an invaluable tool for any small business.

Come by Business E Suites to find out how you can get listed and verified on Google My Business. We provide consultation to all our members on how to best utilize your listings to drive revenue and growth

Laura Fisher CFO

Member Spotlight: Meet Laura Fisher

By | Business, Industry

When you meet Laura for the first time, you instantly feel welcome and notice her confidence. Motivated to provide an excellent workspace for everyone, she approaches her job with Hospitality in mind. She even brings homemade Banana Nut Bread to share… get a slice quick, it goes fast!

Business E Suites officially opened its doors in August 2020, during the pandemic. The building was under construction for about 24 months and during this time she worked diligently to create the atmosphere and community culture we are experiencing today.

New to the CoWorking and Office Space market, she took it upon herself to get well education by several trade associations and tours of other facilities across Houston and some out of state. What Laura said she learned was, “Our customers don’t need all the fancy lobbies, or furniture – all they want a nice place to work, friendly people, and plenty of coffee.” She also picked the Aviation theme for her husband Dave and quickly realized it was a brilliant idea, since it gave the space a luxury theme, without being fancy.

She and Dave have been married 21 years and have 4 grown children, two sons who work here – Colin & Scott. They live in Katy and have 2 dogs, Radar, and Roxie.

She grew up here in Houston, moved to Daytona Beach during High School, completed college at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, and started her career as a Concert Promoter for Texas A&M University.  From there she continued in business and marketing her entire career. (Linked In)

Her strengths are Leadership, Collaboration, and Operations and it’s all done with a high level of Excellence.

When she’s not working, she volunteers at her church. She’s been a member of the Second Baptist West Praise Team as an Alto for over 20 years and teaches adult Bible Study every three weeks.  Additionally, she and her friend Wanda have a comedy act called Second Act Sisters, where they sing to Ladies’ groups, original songs that poke fun at growing old.  It’s quite funny!

If she has any advice for our readers, it would be, “Don’t Settle. Wait for what your want, it will be worth it. I don’t make a final decision until it “lights me up” and excites me. “Good enough” is not acceptable.”


The Hybrid Workspace

By | Business

Hybrid workspaces combat the 9 am to 5 pm trend that has been the cornerstone of office working for years. Instead, they seek to create a balance between the social collaboration side of being in the office and the flexibility of working from home. Realistically, they are co-working spaces within the same company.

As we adapt to a new normal, the world of work is still evolving, with the concept of a hybrid workspace now emerging. Globally, 37% of companies say they expect more than half of their employees to work remotely on a permanent basis, according to Cisco’s Future of Secure Remote Work Report that surveyed more than 3,000 global IT decision-makers. In the U.S. and U.K., that figure rises to 50%; in Brazil and India, it’s 53%.

No matter what shape each organization’s workforce takes, COVID-19 has highlighted the need for flexibility and resilience. Most companies quickly realize that moving toward a hybrid workspace has even bigger benefits. While cost savings in the tens of millions (or more) are often realized by moving to this new environment, smart organizations are re-investing a portion of that savings back into the workplace. They are adding features that support employees, which leads to productivity improvements that drive better top-line results.

Here are some of the great benefits this new hybrid workspace trend has:

  • It enables collaboration: Today’s companies demand unprecedented levels of productivity and innovation to stay competitive. Markets are being constantly disrupted by new players that bring better ideas, so having a modern workspace with the ability to create a diverse environment that encourages people to work together is the new office ideal.
  • It attracts new talent: The war for talent is what most companies battle for nowadays, and recruiting the top-of-the-line talent in a modern workspace is a powerful weapon. You’re no longer competing with other companies for top candidates based on salary alone since you can offer a welcoming, efficient and effective workplace where people want to collaborate with others and accomplish their work.

Now the big question, how can companies get started implementing the hybrid workspace? Well, it’s possible to transform your current workspace but really for the best result is to achieve cultural changes and provide efficient, low-cost solutions like a move-in ready office space with all-inclusive amenities that make work enjoyable for your team with a built community and great perks that just makes it fun to come to work.

We have a suggestion for you, Business E Suites! It offers great workspace solutions for entrepreneurs and teams of all sizes. The best part is their move-in-ready office space, with month-to-month options and amazing perks within a community of professionals that have helpful insights on many industries. Need more information? Visit or Call (281) 862-3150.


Lunch and Learn – Business Funding

By | Business

Business E Suites hosted its third Lunch and Learn Event featuring the topic: Business Funding with Telha Ghanchi, founder of Data Connections and Angel Investor. During these unprecedented times, funding and sustaining a business is one of our first questions as entrepreneurs, but the real mystery is understanding what funding options are available for us? Telha, a small business entrepreneur, tenant of Business E Suites, shared some insightful information about the type of funding a business can get.

What types of funding options are available?

  • Trade equity or services for startup help.
  • Join a startup incubator or accelerator.
  • Solicit venture capital investors.
  • Apply to local angel investor groups.
  • Start a crowdfunding campaign.
  • Request a small business grant.
  • Pitch an idea to family or friends.
  • Fund your startup yourself.

However, one of the most frequent questions, Telha gets is, “how do I find the money to start my business?” and the reality is that nobody is waiting in the wings to throw money just because you have a new and exciting idea. When seeking professional investors, put significant priority on your previous experience in building a business. They expect to own a portion of the business equity and possibly control the funds they provide. These are tough for a first-time entrepreneur, but it’s always worth exploring.

Learn about Telha Ghanchi 

Cities Look To Coworking To Accelerate Return To Work, Downtown Recovery

By | Business

Shameless plug:  For access to your local co-working location which includes co-working, private offices, dedicated desks, and conference rooms … as well as long term parking, self-storage and warehouse units all in our business park (Imperial Business Park), visit and
Contact Colin Croteau (community manager) for a tour.  Colin can be reached at 281-862-3150

—- April 20, 2021 Jon Banister, Bisnow Washington, D.C

For more than a year, city governments encouraged people to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

But that message has shifted, and cities are now pushing to bring people back to offices to help revive their downtown areas, and they see coworking spaces as a way to accelerate that effort.

Over the last three months, Miami, New York and D.C. have announced partnerships with WeWork to offer discounts to companies bringing people back to the office. The coworking company finances the discounts without city subsidies, but the cities are using their promotion and marketing power to push people toward the WeWork spaces.

WeWork Head of Public Affairs and Communications Christina Ferzli told Bisnow she joined the company in January and immediately began pushing to grow WeWork’s relationships with local governments by meeting with officials and hearing their priorities, and that quickly turned into this new partnership model.

“‘How do we bring people back downtown to shop, buy lunch and coffee, and revitalize the economic prosperity in these cities?’ That was a key theme for most of the cities we spoke to,” said Ferzli, who had previously led corporate affairs and communications at juice giant Ocean Spray, according to her LinkedIn page. “We realized we could help with that post-pandemic recovery.”

WeWork is planning to expand the partnership model around the country and the globe, Ferzli said. She said it is preparing to announce three new partnerships in the coming months, but she didn’t disclose which cities.

She said the partnerships are aimed at helping businesses get back to the office quickly and affordably and helping cities revive activity in their downtown areas, and the new business also helps WeWork recover from the coronavirus pandemic. WeWork last month announced plans to go public through a special-purpose acquisition company merger valuing the company at $9B.

While coworking companies were the first to feel the pain when people stopped coming into the office, given the short-term nature of their leases, Ferzli said they can also be the first ones to benefit from the return to work.

“There’s never been a stronger moment for flexible office space, and WeWork is so uniquely situated in helping businesses adjust to this new normal and providing turnkey solutions to scale,” Ferzli said. “In helping cities with their economic recovery, we are looking to grow our member base with businesses that need help coming back.”

The New York partnership was announced on March 16, and it is structured as a partnership between WeWork and the chambers of commerce of the five boroughs, with a focus on small businesses. The D.C. partnership, announced March 24, is between WeWork and Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s administration. The Miami partnership, announced on Jan. 21, is with Mayor Francis Suarez‘s administration, and it is focused on technology companies.

Ferzli said she has seen a significant shift take place over the last month in which cities are now focused on promoting a return to the office, rather than telling people to stay home.

“Most cities are targeting the spring and summer for this as we continue to see positive trends in the pandemic itself,” Ferzli said. “Now through the fall is where we’re going to see that bigger push for a return to work.”

Google Maps

A WeWork office at 125 South 25th St. in the Flatiron District in New York.

Manhattan Chamber of Commerce President Jessica Walker said the ongoing rollout of the vaccines has given people confidence to start returning to the office, and the city is now encouraging that return. She said small businesses are likely to be the first to return to the office, as many large companies have already pushed their returns back to the fall or to next year.

“We’re all focused on trying [to] accelerate the city’s economic recovery, and for a lot of reasons, that means we need a large percentage of [the] workforce to begin coming back to the office,” Walker said. “We think it’s critical in the short-term to focus on small businesses and what we can do to get them fully engaged again.”

She said the WeWork partnership is particularly helpful in accelerating the return to work for small businesses, because companies can start with a small space and expand as they build momentum, and they aren’t saddled with upfront costs.

The New York partnership offers two months of free office space for companies that make a six-month commitment, three months for those that make a 12-month commitment. It also offers a one-month free trial and 12 months of 15% for WeWork All Access, a pass that allows members to use any WeWork location in the city.

“WeWork and these types of models are made for businesses that are going to come back with maybe two employees, and then they can move into a larger office in a month or two when they’re ready,” she said. “The specific deals WeWork is offering are steep discounts, so businesses are able to relaunch and not have to pay rent for the first three months of an annual lease, which is a big deal for businesses trying to get back. It gives them breathing room.”

Ferzli said 76% of the members WeWork is seeing return to the office are small and medium businesses, rather than its larger enterprise members.

“It’s small and medium-sized businesses that are coming back, they’re the ones taking advantage of the program at the moment,” Ferzli said. “We were expecting small and medium to be the first to come back because they’re a little more agile.”

In D.C., WeWork is offering the same discounts as in New York, but instead of the chambers of commerce, it is partnering with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio told Bisnow the District is planning to kick off a new effort next month to encourage companies to return to the office.

“Now we have had a year of experience of how to keep people safe when they return to the office, we also know vaccination rates continue to rise around the region, so that builds our confidence that now is the time,” Falcicchio said.

He said he sees the partnership with WeWork as a way to support this return-to-work effort. He said WeWork was an ideal partner because of its footprint throughout the central business district, allowing people to pick the location that is best for their commutes.

“I think coworking will become more a part of the landscape than it was before the pandemic,” Falcicchio said. “Because we know people are looking at how they carry that overhead of a lease, and what coworking allows you to do is a more flexible way to get out of the house and focus on work.”

Falcicchio said D.C. is also in discussions with WorkChew, a D.C.-based startup that turns restaurant and hotel spaces into flexible workspaces during the hours when they are underutilized. He invited WorkChew to speak alongside WeWork on a DMPED event earlier this month to promote its offering, he said he is helping connect it with restaurant and hotel groups, and he said DMPED employees have begun to use WorkChew spaces.

“For businesses, it’s another way to capture revenue,” he said of WorkChew. “We want to highlight the concept and let the marketplace know it exists as people think about how they might return to work.”

Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District Director of Economic Development Gerry Widdicombe said he supports the WeWork partnership, but he doesn’t think it will make a huge dent in the return-to-work effort. He noted that coworking space only accounts for 1% to 2% of D.C.’s office market, so it will be more important to push major employers with large office footprints to bring back their workforces.

“As people tiptoe back into the office, WeWork and their promotions will be very important, but it’s important to put the whole coworking sector in the proper perspective,” Widdicombe said. “Is it a game-changer? I don’t think so, but it’s certainly a good step in the right direction.”

While WeWork has the largest coworking footprint in many major cities, its competitors also see their spaces as helping cities in their return-to-work efforts.

Industrious Chief Commercial Officer Anna Squires Levine, in emailed responses to Bisnow questions, said the company “definitely” sees partnering with cities as a potential opportunity to explore. She said most companies are still looking to open downtown offices to serve as a hub for employees and then supplementing that with neighborhood-based offices.

“It’s then a rising tide lifts all boats scenario where neighboring businesses feel the benefits of the resurgence in foot traffic from the workers now coming into the office,” she said in the email. “Those moments driven by office workers — Thursday happy hours at the beloved bar near the office, running out to grab lunch at the deli on the corner — will bring a boost to those businesses who have been really missing this audience throughout the pandemic.”

IWG CEO of the Americas Wayne Berger, whose company operates the Regus and Spaces brands, said he is seeing an increase in D.C. companies looking to return to the office, with month-over-month inquiries up 32% in March.

“There will always be a role for major city offices and the networking and cultural benefits they offer, and by offering employees flexible workspaces within these hubs, they become tools to facilitating the eventual return of these bustling business districts in an even more sustainable and livable way,” Berger wrote in an emailed statement.

Bringing people back to work is important to revive the downtown restaurant and retail sector, Widdicombe said, as many of these businesses rely on office traffic. He also said it would help the District’s budget, because downtown retail businesses wouldn’t have to continue relying on government support.

“We think it’s important from the city’s point of view, the sooner they bring people back they don’t have to do another bridge fund, so they can save $100M,” Widdicombe said. “We’d rather have people come back and create real demand for restaurants.”

Midtown Manhattan

In Midtown Manhattan, Walker said foot traffic is still down by more than 50%, and bringing workers back to offices will be critical to support retail and restaurants.

“Any time we can bring office workers back to those areas, that’s a huge multiplier effect that’s going to keep people employed as doormen, keep people employed at restaurants and shops,” Walker said. “It’s fundamentally important to the city’s ecosystem.”

In addition to bringing employees from their apartments to their offices during the day, Walker said New York also needs to bring back the remote workers who left the city during the pandemic, and she thinks coworking space can play a role in that effort.

“A lot of remote workers have left the state, and so we have to think about all these things because it has an effect on local stores, shops taxes, and the feel of the city if we lose a ton of creative talent that makes New York City what it is,” Walker said. “We still have work to do to bring the workforce back.”

While New York seeks to bring its workforce back and revive its office districts, other states with less of an established office market are looking to draw remote workers to find a new home, and they are also using coworking as a tool in that effort.

West Virginia last week launched a program to attract remote workers with an incentive package that includes $12K in cash payments, free outdoor recreation and free coworking space. The program, funded by West Virginia native Brad D. Smith and his wife, Alys, is a partnership between the state’s tourism agency and West Virginia University.

Danny Twiley, the assistant dean for WVU’s Brad & Alys Smith Economic Development Collaborative, said the goal of the program is to keep people in West Virginia for the long term, and he sees the coworking offering as a critical part of that effort.

“We really want to retain these individuals, because we’re asking them to move to a new state, a new community they haven’t lived in before, and we want them to connect with new members of the community,” Twiley said. “If you’re working from home, that’s really hard to do unless you have an established community.”

The program launched last week and has received 5,000 applications, Twiley said. It plans to welcome its first cohort of about 50 people this summer. He said the coworking offering will launch in a space on WVU’s Morgantown Campus, and the program is planning to build out three new coworking spaces that the university will operate in Morgantown, Shepherdstown and Lewisburg.

Twiley said it hasn’t decided on the exact size of those new spaces, as it wants to see how much usage the first space receives, but he said it aims to put the spaces in busy locations where the workers can help revitalize the surrounding retail and restaurants.

“As we build out space, we want it to be in energy centers of communities,” he said. “We put it in those energy hubs so people will then say, ‘I want to go out to eat. Let’s get to know each other, go out to lunch, grab a cup of coffee or meet me after work.’ We’re trying to support the local communities and the businesses that are already there.”

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