Industrious Coworking Space Brings Hospitality Service to San Francisco
[November 15, 2018] BY Wilmer Balmocena
Coworking space, Industrious, has opened its first location in San Francisco and plans to completely change the game of the office space sharing economy that’s already booming. Being a leading US provider of coworking space (inching up to WeWork), Industrious had forty-five locations leading up to 2018 and will have fifty-five doors open by the end of the year. Upon visiting the Industrious Embarcadero location, one wondered what makes Industrious different from any other spaces in San Francisco; WeWork seems to be on every block downtown and Covo is quickly becoming known for its amenities, but what is Industrious bringing that’s new? I got my answer during my first visit to their Industrious SF Embarcadero office.
Before Industrious co-founder Jamie Hodari started this venture, he worked out of a coworking space with his previous company. As an entrepreneur getting ready for an important meeting with a potential partner, he realized he was embarrassed to hold this meeting in the coworking space, opting to move the meeting to a coffee shop. This motivated Hodari to start thinking about how coworking could be improved and what factors are really important. He realized that while it’s important for coworking spaces to provide a casual atmosphere, they also need to include areas for serious business. Thus, Industrious was born.
The coworking space startup was founded on the idea of making it easier for companies to give their employees a productive place to work. This mission is infused in all aspects of Industrious and especially rooted in the three areas they focus on – Design, Community, Hospitality.
Industrious is increasing their presence in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas and have plans to open multiple locations in tech-centric cities, Boston and San Francisco. Their locations are found in centralized areas of each city, promoting an easier commute for their tenant companies. Their San Francisco Embarcadero location at 1700 Montgomery Street reflects this greatly being walking distance to the Ferry Building and major transportation hubs.
Other coworking spaces tend to make their spaces feel flamboyant and fun, assuming this is what their tenants want in an office space. Though this may be the case, most employees can’t be productive in a space like that all day. Instead, Industrious purposely seeks out locations that allow for a lot of natural light and their internal design team intentionally incorporates a clean, modern design at all of its locations. Furniture pieces from West Elm, Article, and other top mid-century design brands provide a comfortable yet stylish aesthetic to each room. A calm and airy, not stuffy, feeling is created making it conducive to working without aesthetic distractions.
Diversity of Spaces
Industrious creates spaces with a variety of needs and purpose in mind. Glass walls separate offices in their San Francisco office (consistent with other locations nationwide) so companies hard at work are visible throughout. Community Manager, Emily Coe, claims, “Having all glass makes them [tenants] feel more productive because they are seeing others around them working and get energy from that.”
Casual gathering areas makes it easy for companies to sit and collaborate with one another.
Boardrooms that allow for larger meetings are kept clean and full of natural light.
Focus Rooms are at all locations, acting as a quiet space for tenants to concentrate, meditate, or take naps in.
Wellness Rooms equipped with refrigerators are available for nursing mothers.
Industrious is conscious about building spaces that address a variety of needs in mind. While common, bright areas encourage casual collaboration, private conference areas offer a more suitable place to hold client meetings.
In contrast to other coworking spaces in San Francisco, Industrious doesn’t only focus on startups and entrepreneurs to call their space home, it also welcomes corporations. It has been home to teams of Pandora, Mashable, Instacart, and Pinterest. To encourage a sense of community among its tenants, Industrious carries out a variety of initiatives that encourage this.
Longer Term Partnerships
Industrious limits the general coworking memberships (floating memberships) it offers. Their license agreements aim for the longer terms, offering month-to-month, 60-day notices and twelve month agreements. Their members notice this and acknowledge that Industrious doesn’t just care about getting as many tenants as possible; it creates a community that is seemingly more long term. As a result of the policy, tenants that have office leases can access common areas much more easily than in competitors’ spaces where floating memberships cause overcrowding in common areas.
Fostering a community at Industrious also includes weekly happy hours and four to five events per month where its tenants can set outside of their normal workday and get to know the other workers in the space. Such events have included sake tastings, massages in the office, and hot-chocolate & hot-cider bar.
Plug & Play at All Locations
On a macro-level, Industrious encourages a sense of community of all of its locations by allowing members of one office to have access to any Industrious location. Employees of tenant companies are not limited when traveling for work, they can simply go to the local Industrious office and plug and play there. These members can network, collaborate and connect with other members at the Industrious location; a rare policy Industrious competitors don’t tend to have.
Industrious’ main focus, and what makes them unique among its competitors, is their priority of “hospitality” within their offices. The office spaces operate like service-centered hotels. They have invested heavily in this aspect of their service, bringing in Rachael Gursky, previously of the St. Regis and W Hotels, as the head of Hospitality. Gursky uses training techniques of high-end hotel chains to train the Community Manager teams at all of Industrious locations. This hospitality initiative is carried out two-fold: via on-site staff and the all-inclusive nature of Industrious’ agreements.
Each Industrious location has a team of Community Managers that act as an extension of each tenant company. At other coworking offices, a Community Manager’s role is more or less at a professional capacity, ensuring amenities are stocked and office operations are taken care of. Industrious Community Managers ensure all of their companies are taken care of on a professional and also personal level. They set up new employees’ desks, plan birthday celebrations, or help with company parties. They are an extension of their tenants’ company acting as their office or operations manager. Trained to be intuitive of what a customer is thinking, feeling and wanting, Community Managers within Industrious try to know everyone’s names and interests to better gauge what their tenants needs are.
Within Industrious, they’ve been known to help tenants study for citizenship tests, run out and get craft beer for a CEO who is not having a good day, or even buy bottles of champagne for a startup that successfully pitched to potential investors. Tenant Kevin Cape, Executive Coach for Cape Coaching, comments on the sense of community at Industrious: “When I have tough days and have tough sales meetings, I look forward to coming back to the office to decompress with them. It’s a pretty special place and special group of people.”
When a tenant has an important meeting and wants to make a good impression, these trained Community Managers act almost as member of the company, rather than an employee of Industrious. Tenant guests are greeted in a professional manner and shown to the meeting location. Beverages and snacks are offered and the overall flow of the meeting “check-in” process is handled by professionals, not by a “receptionist”. This type of service allows tenant companies to be at ease leading up to these important meetings, confident that their guests are taken care of.
Industrious takes the burden of having to worry about inconsistent monthly operational expenses by incorporating an All-Inclusive term agreement with all of its tenants. Each tenant’s monthly lease rate includes daily breakfast, snacks, office supplies, magazine subscriptions, all events Industrious organizes, and much more. The service and confidence that things will always be stocked in the kitchen and office supplies will always be ready to be used, goes a long way for Industrious tenant companies.
This elevated service that’s provided by Community Managers is extremely valuable to Industrious tenants. It makes its tenants confident that they’re being looked out for; it allows them to focus on work and not be bothered with office logistics. Speaking on the hospitality aspect, Kevin Cape says, “Being in a space like this where everything is taken care of, I don’t have to worry about any of the logistics…it’s just so easy.”
Coworking spaces in San Francisco seem to be on every corner. The market is booming and very competitive. Though Industrious wasn’t the first, second, third or even tenth coworking space company to enter this market, it does have an opportunity to be successful. Many coworking spaces already provide a space that make it easier for companies to give their employees a productive place to work. What’s different in Industrious’ approach is taking this mindset and really applying it to their key focus areas.
As proven with its success in other cities, Industrious can bring to San Francisco what other coworking spaces lack – its service driven culture.
Their focus on training their Community Managers to act as extensions of their tenant companies is valuable to those companies; it saves on time and the hassle of office and operational tasks. The confidence that a Community Manager is looking out for you on a professional and personal level is key.
In a market where its competitors are focused on selling lease terms to fill up space, Industrious has opted to invest in their service. Like any high-end hotel their service model is inspired by, this will naturally set them apart.
Writer of this post
Wilmer BalmocenaWilmer has been a resident in the San Francisco Bay Area for over fifteen years and has an extensive background in Business Operations and Office Management that gives him a fresh perspective on various topics. As the Operations Manager at btrax, an experience design agency in San Francisco, he is passionate about understanding what motivates businesses and individuals to succeed and excel.
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