Day Of The Dead: A Tribute To Companies That Shaped The Flexible Workspace Industry

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On Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), we’re celebrating 3 companies that pioneered the flexible workspace industry.

We had fun yesterday with our Halloween post, but we wanted to take a more serious and insightful approach to a holiday associated with Halloween: Day of the Dead.

Celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is a tradition that originated in ancient Mesoamerica (modern day Mexico and Central America). According to the Smithsonian Insider, “after the arrival of the Spanish, this ritual of commemorating the dead was intertwined with two Spanish Holidays: All Saints Day and All Soul’s Day.”

Today, most Latin American countries celebrate the occasion on November 2nd, and contrary to what many might deduce from the name of the tradition, Day of the Dead is a celebration of life, not death. NatGeo illustrates this point, by writing that “Día de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up to become a contributing member of the community.”

To honor the occasion, Allwork.Space is rendering tribute to 3 companies that, back in their day, shaped the flexible workspace industry and forged the path that has allowed the industry to grow and gain recognition across sectors and countries.

1. The OmniOffices Group, Inc. (OmniOffices)

Established in 1962, OmniOffices was an early pioneer of the industry and one of the first companies to successfully market and implement the executive suites concept. OmniOffices’ contribution goes beyond establishing one of the first-known models for business centers and executive offices; they were in fact the first company that split marketing and operations successfully. Rumor has it that OmniOffices had 2 managers for each location, a Sales Manager and an Operations Manager. Accounts state that OmniOffices Sales Managers would go out and talk with commercial and residential brokers, they gave out flyers and marketing material, and they were constantly calling and reaching out to people to send them leads and referrals. In a way, they perfected outbound marketing for the industry back in the 70s and 80s.

Contribution: Created a successful model for operating and growing a business center by having one sales and one operations manager. Set precedent for a thriving outbound marketing strategy to acquire clients.

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2. Fegen Suites

On August 1, 1966 Paul Fegen launched Fegen Suites, a furnished law suite for attorneys. To a certain extent, Fegen was the first big player of the industry and the first one to realize that the market was big enough to specialize in a specific niche sector. Fegen was also among the first to set a precedent on the possibility of fast growth (although the tides of the market turned and the company wasn’t able to recover). Though no longer with us, Fegen Suites forged the path of niche-specific workspaces, a path various operators have followed in order to differentiate themselves and add value in a growing, competitive market.

Contribution: The industry is large enough to cater to niche specific markets, which can prove to be a unique way to add value in a highly competitive industry.

3. HQ Business Centers

Sometime in the mid 1970s HQ Business Centers was established. Though the company started as an answering bureau, management eventually decided to add offices to their business line. Adding offices to their services proved to be the right decision and HQ grew very rapidly shortly after. The greatest contribution HQ gave the industry was that of successfully implementing the franchise model. By the mid 1980s HQ was franchising across the US, the UK, and Latin America. HQ was bought by United Technologies, then sold back to original franchisees… and then in 1999 HQ Global Workplaces was established by Carr Workspaces, The Alliance/Vantas Group (David Beal), and Reckson Associates. In 2004, HQ was acquired by Regus.

Contribution: Want to grow fast? Proven model to do it: create a unique product offering and franchise it nationally and internationally!

So take a minute today to remember and thank those that came before you. Though we might not always realize it, they helped illuminate the path that many have taken today. Besides, there’s always something to be learned from history, whether it’s failures or successes.

Want to know more about the history of our industry? Then check out our Flexible Workspace timeline.

Happy Día de los Muertos!

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