Interview with Samantha Goldman of Breather
I’m sure we don’t need to tell you that the city that never sleeps has fallen uncharacteristically quiet as the global health crisis rolls on in full force. Non-essential movement in the city is restricted and working from home has become the norm. We sat down with Samantha Goldman, VP of Marketing at Breather, to discuss how this is impacting the industry of flexible workspace in New York and how Breather is re-arranging and adapting to a changing market.
Breather’s offices are located in 10 markets across the US, Canada and the UK, offering on-demand private offices and meeting rooms from anywhere between two hours and a week. In a city where real estate prices are constantly skyrocketing, this is a great solution for satellite offices and swing-space to be effectively put to use.
Even though Breather’s spaces are private, with the current restrictions, all of their locations are restricting access to those that need a workspace for essential work. For a space that allocates twice the amount of square footage per head as a coworking space, Breather has been challenged with finding alternative solutions in dealing with their vacant capacities. On top of liaisons with landlords and investors for long-term solutions, Breather is offering free workspace for NGO’s and healthcare organizations on the frontline. This is an effort to ensure that they can work in a safe environment that allows for some relief from their otherwise dense offices, as well as supply distribution centers as they work to keep our communities safe.
“Obviously this is not the time for us to be pushing people to leave their homes for non-essential work and go into a meeting space. As much as I’m sure many of us would love to find a quiet, productive space to work in right now.”
With health and safety an utmost priority, Breather has shifted from encouraging people to make use of their space to inspiring them to create an effective and enjoyable workspace in the comfort of their homes. Together with their in-house design team, they have put together a series of content on how to design your at-home workspace.
Similarly, the team is working on a blog to help small businesses understand which resources are available to them. The blog will also include tips and best practices from industry leaders. This customer-centric trend that we’re seeing across the industry serves as a testament to the strong element of community and knowledge exchange, embedded in the way we work. “Working with your customers is so key right now. And this is the time to build those long-term relationships and true partnerships.”
Looking forward, Samantha envisions a future where flexible working will gain in importance. Daunting, long-term leases and dense office spaces will no longer be a viable option, while companies turn to solutions to spread out, scaling up or down as needed, rather than paying for a space that is rarely in use. Ultimately, she foresees this changing the spatial planning for large and small businesses alike, leading to an adapted business model for Breather and similar spaces.
This combined with an element of privacy and regulation on who is entering a space, cleaning schedules etc. will likely be prioritized in shared offices. Though we are all eager to come back together after significant restrictions to our social and work lives, there will be a need for ensuring that those around us and the spaces that we are in are held to the same standards of responsible maintenance. A factor that serviced offices can easily account for.
As a piece of advice for others in the industry, Samantha encourages to keep communication lines open and tune into where your partners and customer are at, working towards long-term, sustainable goals.
If you or someone you know is involved with the relief efforts and in need of a safe workspace, free of cost, you can contact the Breather team under [email protected].
Watch the full interview: