The power of a crisis: on to America!
by Eduard Schaepman, on 19 Nov 2020
Exactly one year ago, I was in New York for business. In addition to a number of other business appointments, I was visiting our competing colleagues; after all, you can learn a great deal from each other. Of course, the whole trip had only one goal: the growth of the Tribes network. But the highlight of this trip was the whole Bloomberg adventure: the heavily secured tower at 735 Park Avenue, the many journalists I saw and talked to and the final 6.53-minute live item on prime-time TV. Still good to see that we are still in the same place.
A 'crisis' was then expected in the world of flexible working: would the market still exist after the WeWork/Adam Neumann story? I indicated that the market would only continue to grow thanks to all the reports about the failed IPO. Everyone suddenly knew what flexible working meant, and the number of end users who knew about the existence of flexible office operators was increased enormously overnight, and so were the potential customers. We had growth plans for Tribes anyway (I was in America for a reason...) and 2020 was really going to be our year. Of course, I don't have to explain why that didn't quite work out. The corona crisis.
However, this crisis, too, will ultimately be good for our market, and much better than the fiasco with WeWork. Thanks to the crisis, everyone - and absolutely everyone - has experienced that working at home, or in other words remotely, is also an option. The more traditional CEOs discovered that their employees weren’t binge-watching Netflix all day, and that some of them even flourished when they didn’t need to travel all that time every day. Let's face it, this is something many entrepreneurs can only dream of: the whole world got to know our product! And so, they found out that it is really not necessary to sit in the office with everyone every day, but that it is also not an option to work full-time from home. For example, after a few weeks we suddenly saw the sale of our €15 day pass quadruple, and we received more and more requests from companies for employees who wanted to work away from home once in a while. People long for that balance, that combination between working from home and working in the office. Colleagues want and need to be able to continue to meet each other, not only because of the social aspect of their work, but also to improve collaboration. It just doesn't have to be face-to-face every day.
This is another advantage for the employer: it is no longer necessary to have a place for everyone in the office. Let that coincide nicely with the consequences of the crisis. Many companies have had to economize, and then such a huge cost of vacant property hurts a lot... Because people have been forced to learn that remote working is not such a bad thing, there are already many plans for future hubs - a network of offices to which employees of the same company can turn. Businesses want to be able to scale up and down flexibly as a result of this crisis, with short-term leases, and preferably spread across multiple locations to minimize the risk of contaminating entire teams (with shorter travel times for employees), which is exactly what our market can do so well.
The call for working from home has hit our market hard but will also give it an enormous boost in the near future. That's why we're off to a good start in 2021: by opening our new Tribes office in Frankfurt! In the meantime, we are keeping our eyes on America again, because that’s still interesting... There is also a lot of vacancy there, which only gives the market more opportunities. Who knows, maybe 2021 will just be our year...!