Just two weeks ago, ATLAS Workbase opened the doors of its first workspace location in Seattle. Though the project just recently launched, it’s been in the works for over 3 years now. Bill Sechter, CEO of ATLAS Workbase, shared the process of developing the space and how ATLAS is hoping to differentiate itself from other workspace operators.
“It’s becoming very evident to me as we have gone through our soft launch that we are truly not a coworking space; we are working on trying to define the category we are in.”
The days of coworking being exclusively open and shared workspace environments are long gone. Nonetheless, the core offering of these spaces remains the same: a great place to work and a highly-engaged community. For Bill Sechter, this wasn’t enough.
“Basically we created ATLAS as a marriage between coworking (or what it’s evolved into) and the concept of work and play.”
ATLAS’ target market is mature, established companies and the executive set. A project three years in the making, Sechter believes the first ATLAS location will resonate with the Seattle crowd and attract the right type of clients. And also eventually, in other cities.
“We spent a lot of time researching the market and understanding it. We came to the market with the full intent that we will be a national organization.”
They appear to already be in the right track.
“We have begun to move forward in Seattle, we have scouted out opportunities, and we’ve been invited to work in Portland. We’re being invited by cities, rather than us hunting for cities to set up new locations in.”
Sechter said that we can expect to see a second ATLAS location in Seattle this year, and possibly a third in another city.
Speaking about the Seattle location itself, Sechter explains that they created the concept with professional hospitality in mind
“We have a sort of concierge and tech theme. When I talk about concierge, I mean that when you walk into ATLAS you will always be greeted by a professional concierge–similar to what you would expect from a high-end hotel or business lounge.”
For this reason, ATLAS doesn’t have a community manager. At least not in the sense that most coworking operators do.
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“Our concierges are here to coordinate what our members need to be the most productive; be it where they are sitting, if they need food, if they need to coordinate a meeting, if they need to print something, greet someone, escort people–our concierge will take care of all of this.”
The plan, according to Sechter, is to build up the concierge concept to allow for a full and seamless work-life integration experience.
As for the tech theme, Sechter explains that ATLAS has its own, on-site, full time IT team that’s there to help clients deal with all things technology; from issues with the software they use, to finding new integrations, to troubleshooting, and more.
“We have a one-week onboarding, training experience where all of ATLAS clients are given the orientation of the space, they receive an assessment of their current technology, and we train them on how they can connect with the ATLAS tech team.”
“We’re not focused on space. We’re focused on services.”
In order to accomplish this, ATLAS partnered with Steelcase, Philips Lighting, FedEx, Gensler, and OpenSquare.
“I reached out to different people to try and find out how companies could participate in the project, not only to provide lighting, furniture, and design advice, but also how we can move forward the idea that all of these elements are important for productivity and mental health of workers.”
“All of the companies that we partnered with indirectly invested into our concept, and it’s proving to be successful on all levels.”
Sechter went beyond the physical limits of the workplace to form partnerships.
“I took the same partnership strategy for our copy services, our food services, and our doggie-daycare service, too.”
It’s been two weeks since ATLAS opened its pilot location. We’re keeping our ear to the ground to gauge the response. In the meantime, feel free to take a peek inside their Seattle location.