Image of a coworking space with seats blocked off for social distancing due to COVID-19

Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Workspace (Virtually) in COVID-19 Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to adapt to new ways of living in just about every aspect of our lives. With many countries enforcing safe distancing measures, the process of finding and visiting workspaces too has taken a turn. Before the pandemic, businesses would typically visit their long list of 10-20 spaces to see the space for themselves. Sometimes, they would even book multiple visits to the same space as they show their top preferences with management. This was never the most efficient approach, and now, may no longer be viable at all. In come virtual tours.

In a survey we conducted with our flexible workspace partners in Singapore, we found that over 50% are implementing virtual tour solutions in their sales process, allowing businesses to tour spaces before making the physical visit. While virtual tours may be a necessary outcome of social distancing measures, we believe they are here to stay in the long run.  In recent years, customers have become accustomed to shopping online, even for high-ticket items, on platforms that give transparent information.  We have also seen purchases of luxury homes on platforms where the buyer has not physically seen the property, and were able to get a guided virtual tour for the purchase. 

Virtual tours allow businesses to get a first-touch experience, and quickly eliminate options down to a manageable shortlist of 3-5 spaces for an in-person, detailed visit.

In this guide, we walk you through the key steps for finding workspace in the “interim normal”, from shortlisting spaces online to embarking on your first set of virtual tours. GorillaSpace is the first marketplace that brings you virtual tours of all the flexible spaces on the market.  Book your personalized guided VR tour today! Contact our friendly Space Experts at +65 8817 9170 or support@gorillaspace.co for workspace recommendations.  We’ll get you down to your shortlist and save you time and hassle.

Step 1: Decide on your requirements

The first step to your search for workspace is to plan your requirementsthe more specific, the better. As we anticipate Phase 3 of post-circuit breaker, it’s likely that your workspace requirements may have changed significantly.   Here is a quick set of questions to ask yourself:

  • What type of space best suits your needs? Are you looking for a furnished day office or meeting room that can be booked on-demand, or a more stable solution to house your employees or certain teams or departments?
  • For how many people are you solving for? Will all of your employees be returning to the office, or just a few departments or team members at a time? Keep in mind that due to social distancing regulations, you may end up needing to take more space than usual to accommodate your team. A good rule of thumb is to allocate about 100 square feet per person.
  • What locations are you looking at? As remote work and lease-flexibility become more attractive, many businesses are now considering a hub-and-spoke setup. This arrangement involves taking up flexible space in multiple locations, allowing employees to work from anywhere that’s most convenient. Read more about the hub and spoke model here.
  • How soon are you looking to move in? Are you looking to move in immediately, or wait out for Phase 3? Which team members will need an office first? For most flexible workspaces, you can sign a deal now to secure the office you want and move in later.
  • How long will you need space? Due to economic uncertainty, we recommend that businesses consider shorter, flexible lease terms. Many flexible workspaces, in fact, are now offering month-to-month and 3-month renewal terms.
  • Do you have any specific requirements? Think about the fine details of what your business needs: storage space, natural lighting, video conferencing tools, wheelchair accessibility, etc. The more specific your requirements, the better your recommendations will be.

For a more detailed look at how you could be thinking about your workspace requirements, read our guide on the 4 main factors to consider before returning to the office: size, location, safety and flexibility.

Step 2: Shortlist the right spaces

Use GorillaSpace, a marketplace aggregator, to cast a wider net, save time, and find the right workspaces for your needs. Especially if you have specific requirements, using a standard search tool with filters can be a tedious trial-and-error process. And there’s also no guarantee that the spaces that catch your eye have availability. 

Instead, consider a smart recommendation engine that can quickly match the right spaces to your requirements in minutes. On GorillaSpace, all you have to do is tell us your requirements, and we’ll quickly match you to a shortlist of spaces with real-time availability.

Love tech but prefer the human touch? We get it! Our Space Experts are just a call away:  +65 8817 9170

Step 3: Book your virtual tours

Once you receive a shortlist of spaces you’re happy with, it’s time to schedule your virtual tours. On GorillaSpace, you can also message spaces directly to ask any specific questions in advance: Is there parking nearby? How many meeting room credits can members get?

When you’re ready, book a virtual tour directly from your shortlist. Upon request, we will be able to arrange a Zoom, WhatsApp or Skype call for a live, personalized walkthrough of the spaces. 

Like in-person visits, you have the option to ask any questions along the way.  Our Space Experts have experience with conducting virtual tours ourselves—here are some key pointers we’ve learned:

  • Feel free to interrupt if you feel the tour guide is moving too quickly. Your point of view is limited to what the tour guide shows on their screen—it’s advisable to “pause” the tour at certain moments so you can get a closer look at the space.
  • Ask about other options available. When touring a flexible space, the community manager or sales representative on-site may already have a specific unit in mind to show you. Keep your options open, and ask about any other available spaces that could also be a good fit.
  • Pay attention to the details. No details are too trivial to ask about! Important elements of a space to look out for include:
  • Quality of chairs and tables: does the space already come furnished? Are there ergonomic sit-stand desks available? 
  • Lighting: does the available unit have ample windows? What view does the unit face? Apart from natural lighting, what type of lighting is installed in the space?
  • Meeting rooms and phone booths: how many does the space have? How private and professional are they? Do they come fitted with AV equipment or video-conferencing tools?
  • Air conditioning: does the space incorporate an air filtering system to enable clean air?
  • Ask about health and safety measures. This is your chance to see how the workspace is designed to enable social distancing. Inquire about regulations for tenants, frequency of cleaning practices, and look out for masks and/or sanitizer dispensers in place.

We expect that multiple decision makers may be involved in selecting the right workspace. On your virtual tours, many more decision makers can be visiting at the same time.   

Step 4: Narrow down your options from your virtual tours

From an initial list of 10-15 spaces, virtual tours can help you quickly shave down your list to 3-4 top picks. At this stage, you may request for a proposal and read through license agreements, beginning the negotiation process. Check for any hidden costs that you may have not discussed during your virtual tours. For advice on the paperwork process, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly Space Experts at support@gorillaspace.co

Final thoughts

COVID-19 has accelerated innovation in the office space industry, giving rise to a host of solutions, from shorter lease terms to fitted offices as well as tech solutions such as virtual tours. In this “interim normal”,  GorillaSpace brings new tools that will help streamline the search for office space, allowing businesses to find flexible workspace solutions in less time and with less hassle.

GorillaSpace is a leader when it comes to 360° panorama technology. In Singapore, we have panoramas for over 260+ flexible workspaces, allowing you to preview workspaces and make informed decisions early on. All the spaces are verified by someone from Team GorillaSpace.  What you see is really what you’ll get!  With the addition of virtual tours, you can take your search almost completely online. Get started right away using our smart recommendation engine.

Prefer to speak to someone? Get in touch with our Space Experts. We’ll be happy to walk you through good options and assist in arranging your virtual tours. Contact us at +65 8817 9170 or support@gorillaspace.co.

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