The value proposition of office real estate has been transformed. No longer simply an address where employees are summoned to attend, the viable office of the future is a place that delivers experiences to its occupants, uniquely available at a certain location. One of the chief aspects of that experience is the opportunity to collaborate with others in a manner unavailable from remote locations.
It’s one thing, though, to stake claim that you embody a collaborative culture and a building that supports such a mission. However, to genuinely exhibit collaboration is a different matter entirely. On one hand, there exist workplaces that appear to publicize their efforts in driving collaboration by ostentatiously revamping their spaces to incorporate what they deem to be assets “essential” to creating such an environment, such as open-floor concepts, game rooms, and collaboration rooms and lobbies.
In actuality, these are merely amenities that are pleasant to have, but do not visibly produce anything concrete. Meanwhile, there are antiquated employers who appear to actively resist transforming their spaces into the richly interactive environments that contemporary workplace culture requires.
Despite being on opposite ends of the spectrum, both approaches neglect the critical ingredient: the recognition and understanding that collaboration does not spontaneously occur. One must be purposeful in their endeavors and programming to enable collaboration to flourish.
Collaborative Real Estate believes buildings set the stage for collaboration and collision, but actual collaboration and connecting people requires intentional programming. Our dedication to community building through collaboration initiatives focuses on the creative use of common spaces – both indoor and outdoor – that each property has available and utilizes multi-channel communications to connect entities, and more importantly, to connect people.
This novel service, especially in our industry, is fundamentally critical for cross-pollination to occur and economic growth to flourish – especially for our research and University-anchored properties, which include Tech Square ATL in Atlanta, GA, 250 E Ponce in Decatur, GA, and Bridgeside in Pittsburgh, PA – to name a few.
Inside our buildings reside a plethora of unique tenants, including entrepreneurs, corporate innovators, academic researchers, professors, students, scientists, and leaders. And with access to such individuals typically restricted, we aim to capitalize on our ability to get to know our communities better in order to facilitate serendipitous collisions and foster new connections. In essence, we want to expand beyond the physical brick and mortar and hone in on what matters most – the people inside – by focusing on the following goals:
Ultimately, we set out to create space and opportunity for connections to be made that fuel collaboration. And this is done with a refined and researched four-part approach:
To best understand our tenants, we first conduct research via our Community Collaboration Assessment (CCA). The research itself is organized around our proprietary four Elements of Community and seven core Vehicles of Collaboration that harmonize those underlying elements. Our spectrum of progressive research methods collect various forms of data to develop a robust understanding of the community’s current state, aspirations, and potential.
The idea is that the research would inform how to best implement a future culture and collaboration program strategy. Our aim is to not only to create a sense of citizenship within the community, but to also inspire innovation, enhance knowledge, and motivate and sustain progress – all while maintaining our traditional property management duties.
Through the qualitative and quantitative research conducted, we uncover many insights and findings. We have learned our buildings house a community of broad expertise and interests and are full of multidimensional people. Our tenants are highly curious and want opportunities to not only connect with others in their respective fields and disciplines, but to also meet other tenants and learn about their work, successes, and failures.
Since a strong brand engages and aligns employees and gives them something to rally around, we also create distinct names and messaging around each property, all with the same intent of cultivating a community that connects individuals and companies seeking productive collaborations to a curated environment designed to foster growth and innovation.
In order to further promote such curiosity, inspiration, discovery, and interdisciplinary exploration, we showcase to our tenants that we are centered around cultivating connections and offer continuous support by providing them with exclusive access to a shared workspace, community events, custom programming, and so much more.
From there, our community comes to be known as one filled with builders, creators, thinkers, collaborators, innovators, problem solvers, storytellers, and futurists who venerate curiosity, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of perfection.
With an offering as unique as ours, training our property managers is a critical and necessary component. So, we have created a certification for our staff that focuses on the art and science of community collaboration. The curriculum is built around the psychology of community, placemaking, and belonging – and the importance of data collection and analysis in building collaboration programs that create qualitative and quantitative results for people, companies, and owners.
Our interactive training curriculum is steeped in principles of innovation and crafted as a professional development experience. We equip our team members with the tools they need to create meaningful connections within the community through creative problem solving, impactful communications, and tactical experience design.
Once properly trained, our team sets out to deliver a spectrum of thoughtful and innovative activation services aimed at breaking down natural barriers to interaction. Our bespoke events are curated experiences thoughtfully designed to create unique conditions that strengthen the culture of our community. They foster more than a feeling of fellowship, they also serve as a catalyst for pushing the envelope, expanding horizons, and nurturing growth.
Every event is themed in some regard and based on community data, offering a different experience and outcome to participants. They are strategically organized and executed in a way to collect further information and insight into our community members, and to also encourage collaboration and connections that otherwise wouldn’t be feasible.
Designed to gather data and test hypotheses, these interactions are intentionally observed in order to share insights gleaned from each activation. Not only does the data we collect help uncover expressed and latent needs of our community members, but it also helps depict what type of future engagements we implement.
And our devotion to human-centric property management has not led us to abandon the fundamental principles of this discipline; rather, it has enabled us to subjugate these rudimentary functions, freeing up resources for our property managers to deliver greater value to our tenants. Our Tenant Care efforts have served as a testament to this philosophy, as we have demonstrated a mastery of delivering exceptional service to our tenants while simultaneously leveraging cutting-edge technology to optimize our operational efficiency.
In fact, our established presence as premier property managers has led to many success stories from our activation services. Aside from the candid feedback and gleaming reviews we consistently receive, we also have witnessed first-hand the fruits of our labor.
Whether it’s introducing startups in a similar industry to help make drone permitting a possibility, connecting an organization dedicated to innovative therapies for neurological disorders with a company creating unique systems to help patients overcome disease-related hurdles, or virtually linking researchers and professors in Atlanta with those in Pittsburgh to discuss the transition from academia to industry, we have created numerous unique opportunities for new connections to form and flourish, with many having continued partnerships and programming – long after initial introductions were made.
The benefits of an onsite shared space with a thriving community epicenter are unmistakable, as tenants stand to gain from the collective expertise of their peers and capitalize on shared interests across diverse entities.
More importantly, we have come to recognize that catalyzing collaboration goes beyond mundane tasks such as changing air filters and collecting rents. It is an art that must be consciously and deliberately cultivated and instilled in our property managers on a daily basis. We have observed that activation services specifically tailored to a particular community not only evokes a sense of membership, ignites innovation, and fosters enhanced collaboration, but it also drives economic growth and facilitates cross-pollination of ideas.
This has become increasingly apparent as the value of connections forged within our buildings becomes more evident, offering access to opportunities that would not have been available otherwise and facilitating organic interactions.
As for the future, our culture and programming remain in a perpetual state of evolution and iteration. Our tireless efforts to better understand the tenants that we serve have yielded fruitful results, allowing us to tailor our events and connections to their unique and specific needs with utmost thoughtfulness.
Our daily pursuit of a collaborative, curious, and connected culture serves as a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence, and we pledge to continue our quest for innovation and progress in the years to come.
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Tech Square, managed by Collaborative Real Estate, received the 2022 Excellence in Tenant Care Award from CRE Insight Journal. This award recognizes a building for excellence in tenant care, including health and wellbeing, communications, tenant engagement, and/or other activities that express care for building tenants. Here’s how you can apply for the 2023 CRE Insight Journal Awards today.
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