Welcome to OBC World Newsletters Online

Complete Story

Is Your OBC an AOC?
By Norman Fox, Alternate Officing Planning Services

Alternate Officing Centers do more than rent space to small users for short periods and provide basic services. They are true workplace support facilities that blend the best of office and communications technologies with a broad range of workplace facilities and “white glove” professional support services. In effect, they are Officing Superstores. Alternate Officing Centers should not be confused with virtual officing. Virtual officing is a component of an AOC.

AOC’s come in many sizes and shapes. They can be as small as 5000 square feet or more than 30,000 square feet. They can be in stand-alone buildings, multi-tenant buildings, retail facilities and even residential condominiums where they are called “office clubhouses.” If developed initially as AOC’s, they present a broad range of developmental cost efficiencies and opportunities relating to size, location and included services. There is no one model or recipe for Alternative Officing Centers. Profitability can be realized at all size levels. Physical and aesthetic aspects may also be widely varied. The keys to an AOC’s success are its sensitivity and support of its market and its flexibility. As an added feature, AOC’s can be combined with, and augment current OBC’s –something to consider when upgrading an existing center.

AOCs use many of the same ingredients found in current OBCs and reorganize them into new configurations. Markets dictate product emphasis and configurations. Some AOC examples may contain few offices, more conference spaces and meeting areas. Some may be dedicated to client service structures while others may be configured as call and mailing centers with less emphasis on working enclosures. The common thread is an emphasis on state of the art technology levels, service structures, relevant product offerings and image.

Why are AOC’s a necessary step forward for the OBC industry? The following statistics provide a large part of the answer. According to the US Bureau of Standards, approximately 20,000,000 Americans telecommute or work from home. In addition, approximately 50,000,000 Americans are “road warriors” for whom travel is a major aspect of their job. These are large, dynamic growth markets whose numbers continue to increase almost daily. They reflect the changing work habits of the post recession, somewhat younger, technology-savvy, working population. As a group, they require workplace support facilities in order to maintain a high level of productivity. Businesses such as Kinko’s and Mailboxes, etc., have developed their business plans around this workforce. Hotels cater to them. Even McDonald’s and Starbuck’s are getting into the act with Internet access in their restaurants.

The challenge is to create the “single source” that will bring this market and its workforce into office business centers, configured and marketed to Alternative Officing Center standards.

So, the question remains: is your OBC an AOC? Are you ready to serve the 70,000,000 plus Americans and the large, world-wide markets that need Alternate Officing Centers? If you’re not sure, it may be the right time to recheck your relevance to your marketplace and the products you are offering to support it.

AoPlan (Alternative Officing Planning Services) provides planning, design, development, and consultation services to the office business center industry. Our services include site selection, project cost and efficiency analyses, space planning, and architectural and interior design. AoPlan's principal, Norman Fox, has been providing these services to new and current successful center owners and operators for over 16 years. Experience has provided AoPlan with an understanding of the importance of space-use efficiency, location, economic and operational factors to the success of our clients. Experience has also given us the basis for developing new, exciting, and unique market supportive facilities for our clients. Contact us for a free, no obligation, initial consultation and discussion about your project. Let us demonstrate why engaging AoPlan should be your first step and the right place to begin your development program. Norman Fox is also an OBCAI Board Member. Please visit his web site: www.aoplan.com or email: norman.fox@aoplan.com.