The Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) is putting their business community first with community101, a free coworking space that opened to the Christchurch community in March of 2017. Recently awarded the Canstar Innovation Excellence Award for its business innovation, BNZs’ community101 offers on-demand workspace for businesses to connect and collaborate in a beautifully designed environment. “We wanted to create a neutral space where businesses could walk in irrespective of their banking relationship”, shares BNZ Head of Small Business, Harry Ferreira.
Powering the community101 space is Optix, a workplace management platform that powers coworking spaces and flexible office environments. “We are moving towards a more customer-centric real estate environment and we are thrilled to partner with forward-thinking organizations like BNZ to enable a seamless workplace experience for their community members,” says Kia Rahmani, CEO of Optix. “Engaging members with a mobile-first solution allows us to better understand how people work and collaborate in place, to design our solutions in a way that fits seamlessly with their lifestyle and elevate their workplace experience.”
“Optix is the experience management system that overlays the workplace and connects our members with the resources, amenities, and services of the workplace. Community members can book spaces and stay connected with us and other members, all in our community101 branded mobile app,” says Matt O’Neill, BNZ National Manager Planning & Innovation.
The need for a technology that helps people collaborate and connect in space was important for BNZ when they started their search. They wanted a technology that would help them to connect with their clients and community members, as well as provide members a platform to connect with each other. What does this partnership mean for the entrepreneurs of Christchurch? According to Harry Ferreira, “Our goal is to foster a culture of collaboration and innovation that will inspire the small to medium businesses that work here. We love working with like-minded companies, which is why powering our space with the Optix solution was so attractive.”
A privately-owned corporation owning and operating a publicly-available coworking space fits right into the current workplace landscape. We continue to see market validation suggesting that coworking is here to stay. BNZ joins the ranks of other corporations such as Cadillac, Amazon, and Verizon, who have all opened coworking spaces free to the community in an effort to provide individuals with the types of workspaces they need to collaborate, innovate, and continue to build their personal businesses.
“To date more than 400 members have subscribed to community101 through the community101 app, and are working out of community101,” says Nita Jashari, BNZ Planning and Innovation Lead for community101 development. “It’s the way of the future, working in a collaborative space like this,” she says.