In our team we all come from building or developing consumer-facing tech, and we all are very interested in turning the traditional corporate office into a simple and brilliant on-demand experience similar to what is found in other industries.
It’s also really interesting to be part of the global change currently happening in the corporate real estate industry, that is transitioning from traditional and long-term rental models to much shorter flexible formats in which companies only demand the space that they really need in their race to offer their employees a much better work-life balance.
As everyone else, covid19 took us by surprise, and during the first weeks of this crisis we realized that our flexible space technology could help large companies to implement back-to-normality measures for the upcoming months. If they turn their desks and meeting rooms flexible with a platform like ours, it would be fairly easy for them to dynamically size their office resources to their needs or according to the regulation, implementing social distancing or in-office traceability in a simple, friendly and effective way.
What it does
Our platform allows to turn any corporate office into a flexible workspace (that is, without any space assigned to any person). 100% cloud-based, our clients manage with our apps their employees and teams, their desks and meeting rooms, and allow their employees to freely book on a day by day basis the space they need.
Talking about Covid19, in Zityhub the spaces are dynamically provisioned (that is, the office can be configured one day at 100% capacity and the next at 50%) so we’ve also verified that it could be a very effective tool for applying distancing measures. In addition, since its the employee who chooses his space and check-in with a QR code is mandatory, we now know our platform is also a very effective mean to know who and when is in the office, allowing in-office employee traceability and running certain measures such as exhaustive cleaning of temporary freed spaces.
How we built it
Zityhub is the product of two years of research with some of the largest multinational companies in Spain and one year of development with a team of more than ten people. At a software level, our platform consists of three web-based tools: an app for employees that we call Members app, a flexible space management app called Admin app and a front-desk check in app called Handshake. We are a tech company, but zityhub is more than software, as flexible workspaces need specific processes and architectural means we also help to implement in our clients spaces.
Challenges we ran into
A small company is not the same as a large one, nor are flexible offices all the same, so the main challenge in our project has so far been to understand the particular needs of large corporations regarding to its office space. On the other hand, it’s also challenging to offer a cloud based SaaS product for transforming what eminently is a physical space and to aspire to change the working culture and habits of an entire company.
Accomplishments that we’re proud of
First of all, we are proud to have developed a software solution that while being very simple, does what it promises quickly and flawlessly: to reserve desks and meeting rooms. Our proposal runs away from the feature creepiness of other coworking space management platforms and we believe that it is key for rapid adoption and big impact on any corporation. Additionally, we’ve also been able to adjust our very software core to the particularities of the large corporation, the kind of company more in need of flexible working policies and also the most complex ones. For instance, our mobile apps don’t require installation and our employee management squema doesn't need cumbersome username or passwords, making the deployment of our software a matter of minutes, not months.
What we've learned
We’ve walked quite a long way by now and learned some things. If we had to make a summary it would be that all big companies with actual office space are going to walk the path towards flexibility. A flexible work culture and flexible workspaces are unstoppable trends. As a consequence, we have also learned that the real estate property market will radically change, adapting its assets to a business reality that requires very different contracts and spaces. Finally, we’ve learned that the response to the coronavirus crisis we’re all involved these days is not, in this sense, a coincidence but the consequence of the enormous penetration that some ideas already have, such as working from home policies or the idea that correctly used mobile tech can make us a much more resilient market and society.
Accomplishments during the EUvsVirus hackathon
From June 24 to 26, 2020 we've been working on modeling, with the help of some European-level experts, on some of the low-hanging-fruit measures we can implement in our platform. Specifically, in-company social distancing management and improved traceability that help knowing know when employees not only arrive but also leave the company's building.
The impact of our solution in this crisis
We believe that Zityhub can help any large, complex business on the short run by backboning their offices with a system that helps in modulating the number of employees who enter and by controlling the distance they make use of their offices. In the medium and long terms, in a post-covid world where flexibility and work-from-home will be fully implemented, we believe that software solutions like ours are the only way to effectively control the manner large coroporate's workspaces are managed.
What's next for Zityhub
Many things! In the short term, we will try to do our part in solving this crisis by helping our clients to return to normality in a safe and gradual way, allowing them to manage their offices in a truly dynamic way during these next upcoming weeks (or months). In the medium term, is in our plans to turn those return to normality processes into specific tools within our platform that allow our customers to quickly implement future employee distancing or traceability measures. After this crisis, in the long term, our goal is to partner in the flexible management of their spaces with most of the large corporations working in the European space, helping them with our tech to internally promote for their employees a more effective, happy and healthy culture.