OFFICE LIFE – Small companies, start-ups, freelancers… Shared office fashion, where you can rent one or more workstations for an hour, a day, a month or a year, is spreading in full speed across France.
Easy access to a soulless open space, with no allocated space, but with Wi-Fi and a coffee machine, or a formal office with a few dozen people, prices range from €200 per month for the entry level, often flirting around €500 per landline . This solution is particularly appealing because of the flexibility it offers compared to traditional real estate leases. Not necessarily glamorous…
But that was before. Under the initiative of players such as WeWork or Kwerk, the market is increasingly moving towards the higher end of the market, to the point that traditional corporate offices are obsolete, such as The HuffPost was able to see this on July 17 by visiting two of Kwerk’s shared offices, rue de la Bienfaisance and rue de Courcelles, in the very chic 8th arrondissement.
With a total of 1,165 workplaces in four locations in Paris, La Défense and Boulogne-Billancourt, the company, founded in 2015, is just getting started.
This time, the price of a post per month fluctuates between 500 and 1000 euros, in a special open space or private office. Like its competitors, Kwerke offers all the essential professional services: permanent access, wifi, internet assistance, printer, tea and coffee, furniture, meeting room, even parking…
To distinguish itself, Kwerk bases itself first and foremost on the special design of its offices. “The office is a very boring universe, where design best reflects hierarchy,” said co-founder Lawrence Knights.
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Here it is a matter of “awakening through design”, of “feeling emotions”, and of “connections being created”… The language of Albert Angel, designer of Kwerk spaces, may seem pompous, but at least the result is , challenges.
Variety of materials (wood, cork, velvet, leather, metal…), types of chairs (hard and backless for morning meetings, armchairs and sofas for smaller groups…), light signature and play of natural light, green terraces, tantalizing works of art… Few offices are so neat.
Beyond the lobby you will find this treatment on the upper floor, such as these adjustable ergonomic desks that allow you to work standing up to relieve the back.
“The goal is that I feel good, that I want to go to work every day,” explains Albert Angel. It is also a plus for tenants to welcome potential customers or conduct job interviews in such a setting.
And that’s not all. Just to the left of the entrance to the offices on rue de la Bienfaisance, staff and visitors can see the yoga space through a bay window. Maud Chuffart, “chief wellness officer” at Kwerk, that is, wellness director, herself a yoga teacher, teaches there almost every day.
On average, eight people participate in each session. Screens on all floors display the program of the day, but it is also available on an application. “It’s included in the price, our goal is to use it as much as possible,” says Jérôme Badie, Kwerk’s communications director. Very cynically, we know how much work stoppages cost.”
“These are classes to relax, but also to strengthen the back, strengthen the abdominal band, then meditate, learn to deal with stress… These are one-hour bubbles, a real mental break,” she pleads. . For those more into action, there is a gym available, with machines, punching bags and bodybuilding weights, accessible 24 hours a day, with or without a coach.
The speech of the founders of Kwerk does not lack common sense despite the high price of the service. “We see ourselves more as a service provider than a real estate developer,” explains Lawrence Knights, co-founder. We should no longer see offices as real estate costs, to make them an instrument at the service of human resources.”
It remains to be seen whether he will also be able to convince outside the chic districts of the capital, where renting a workplace is already very expensive.
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