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Breather launches on-demand office space service

By Mike Wheatley | October 19, 2020

The commercial real estate office sector is struggling due to the trend towards remote work, and there are fears it could even collapse if people continue to work from home once the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

Several major companies, including Twitter, have already said they’ll allow their employees to work from home permanently, and many other firms are contemplating a hybrid approach, with people spending just one or two days per week at the office and working from home the rest of the time.

In both cases, it means those companies will likely need less office space. But then again, businesses are recognizing that in-person meetings are critical for maintaining company culture and innovation, for onboarding new employees and for training.

So could there be room for a new concept of “on-demand office space”? Workplace provider Breather certainly seems to think there is, because last week it announced a new monthly membership program called Passport that gives companies on-demand access to office space in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The model gives companies the flexibility to bring their employees together in private workspaces across 10 major metro areas in those countries, with access to private office space as and when they need it.

Breather cites a recent study by JLL, which says that 44% of employees now working remotely miss “human interactions” with their co-workers. In addition, 31% said they miss the professional environment only the office can provider, while 29% miss collective face-to-face work, the same survey found.

“Given the current state of the economy, it is more important than ever for startups and companies of all sizes to improve cash flow,” said Breather Chief Executive Bryan Murphy. “Spending on office accounts for one of the largest business expenses, and with increased shift to remote work, we created Passport as an affordable option that maintains collaboration, culture, and business continuity for clients.”

Breather’s Passport office spaces are fully furnished and can accommodate up to 50 people at a time, with services such as Wi-Fi connectivity and whiteboards available. Companies can choose the number of day passes they require per month and pay a fixed monthly price, starting at $225 per day for the most basic offering. Space can be booked using the Breather app.

“Like many companies, when the pandemic forced us to shift to remote work, we made the best of it,” said Celia Zhang, head of operations at FreeWill, a legal services company that’s already making use of the Breather Passport. “However, there are certain actions that are difficult to replace virtually, with collaboration and brainstorming being major areas for us.”

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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