What consulting firms look for in a workspace

They want spaces they can customize, IT security, and prime locations for consultants returning to work

COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruption to how we work, travel, and live. And while it’s unclear what exactly the world will look like in the future, WeWork is already seeing variations in office space needs among different industries. 

I recently sat down with leaders from consulting firms who shared some of their concerns and requirements as they aim to take their largely distributed workforce back to the office. Below, I share some of the themes I’m hearing, and discuss how WeWork is uniquely positioned to help this particular market.

Consulting firms will require more space for “grounded” consultants 

With wide-ranging changes to the workplace, many consulting firm clients likely won’t have consultants on site anytime soon. For consultants, that means they’ll be working from home every day of the week. While many consultants are used to this by now, it does pose a challenge to consulting firms when all consultants, globally, are “grounded.” 

For junior consultants, working from home 24-7 may be particularly challenging. They’re often younger individuals in urban areas who share living spaces with roommates. And in a COVID-19 world, working from a coffee shop won’t always be an option. 

Professional distancing standards will vary by country, with different space requirements across the board. For firms trying to set up offices around the world for a global workforce, this is a particularly thorny issue. 

WeWork can provide an interim space solution—no matter the team size 

Today, WeWork partners with all of the top-10 largest consulting firms. They have space in 224 of our more than 800 locations globally. Thanks to our presence in premier markets across 38 countries—available on demand—we can help facilitate a consistent and reliable experience for your consulting client. No need to manage multiple negotiations with multiple parties in different markets—we can get them up and operational on-site within a week. 

WeWork 152 Elizabeth St in Melbourne.

Additionally, offering a space close to where consultants live reduces their commute—and the need to take public transportation. 

Consulting firms need customizations in space, IT security, and deal structures 

Many large consulting firms are starting to reevaluate the workplace—both the physical space they’ll need and how they’ll actually use it. 

We know that the headquarters for large firms tend to serve as touchdown bases for traveling consultants. They also serve as research and development showcases for client development. Consulting firms have high IT standards, requiring that IT closets are housed on every floor.

On top of customized space requirements, the consulting workforce’s needs also vary depending on the market and time. For most consulting offices, Fridays are the highest trafficked days, followed by Mondays. Space utilization usually drops drastically Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. This is a trend we don’t expect to go away. With WeWork, firms can choose to utilize space only on the days that they need, which saves them money. 

Headquarters by WeWork offers a flexible, economical solution

WeWork can work with your client to match their space requirements, no matter how many employees they have. This reduces upfront capital costs and can accommodate customized membership structures. Together, we can help your clients secure longer-term commitments with options to terminate, expand, or contract within a space, or to transfer to another location within the WeWork portfolio. 

And as part of the Headquarters by WeWork solution, consultancies have control over their own IT closets as well as their physical space. Teams can customize their layouts and add their unique branding throughout their area, making it easy to transition their tech stack while maintaining their brand.  

Consulting firms require office space in premium markets 

Most consulting firms occupy high-rise buildings in major cities and prefer locations with a marquee lobby experience and 24-7 security.  As many other industries shift and expand to address professional distancing standards in their offices, the competition for top-tier space in cities may increase. WeWork buildings are located in prime neighborhoods in 149 cities around the world—making the process of looking for an office in a desirable location that much easier.

WeWork 518 Xinjiang Lu in Shanghai.

Similarly, as foot-traffic patterns change to comply with new distancing standards, professionals will confront longer lines to enter buildings and lower capacity for elevators, putting a premium on lower floors accessible by stairs. Luckily, 40 percent of WeWork’s portfolio within the U.S. is below the 6th floor, which means clients occupying these spaces will avoid congested lobbies and lengthy elevator wait times.

For your clients looking for longer-term space, WeWork offers full-floor options with premium, customized amenities at a competitive price. This allows your clients to expand their footprint in highly sought-after submarkets while keeping costs down. 

Consulting firms have their own needs—and so do their clients 

We recognize that every firm, project, and client is different. As the market continues to reflect and reshape a new normal, WeWork continues to innovate and lead the market in flexible offerings—both in the space we provide, and in structuring deal terms. 

If you’d like to learn more about how we can creatively structure deals, layouts, and locations to serve your consulting clients, please visit brokers at wework.com/brokers, or email brokers@wework.com to connect with us today.

Laura Genova is a portfolio director on WeWork’s tri-state portfolio sales team. She has 15 years of experience as an institutional seller managing complex transactions in both the financial and commercial real estate markets. Genova has been at WeWork for two years; prior to this she worked for bulge bracket investment banks including Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, and Merrill Lynch in New York. 

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