Knotel Receives IFMA NYC Chapter Workplace Innovation Award

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2018 Workplace Innovation Award: Knotel

May 9th, 2019

For Knotel, a flexible office provider and winner of IFMA NYC’s 2018 Workplace Innovation Award, the Mission & Vision statements are bold and client-centric: “build a world class platform that transforms how real estate is experienced” and “create agile spaces that liberate companies to innovate and scale.

The company was founded in 2016 with the goal of providing small, growing businesses of 20-500 employees with dedicated, tailored office space on flexible terms. To supply that space, Knotel works with REITs, landlords and property managers to secure locations, adding value to their portfolios by leveraging lead-generation tools and a growing network to ensure that buildings are always full of tenants. In order to meet client demand, Knotel relies on internal design and construction teams along with strong industry partners to plan, build, and fit out its spaces. It currently employs nearly 400 people globally and services more than 150 companies, including Buzzfeed, Omnicom, Oscar, Cheddar, Netflix and thousands of their own employees.

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of meeting with Zakary Man, who leads Innovation and R&D for Knotel Workshops, a department created specifically to foster innovation within the organization. We talked about Knotel’s twin requirements for adaptability: space that appeals to a range of clients and space that responds to the everyday needs of each of those clients. Knotel uses modular planning and assembly to allow each space to be easily customized and ensure that products can be reused in future configurations. Flexible furniture systems are an important factor as well, including Rockwell Unscripted from Knoll, which is designed for collaboration and can be quickly and easily reconfigured to accommodate changes in workplace size and layout.

These and other innovations gave rise to the team’s Minutes-Hours-Days framework: pursuing products and processes that take just minutes for cosmetic changes, hours to make minor layout changes and days (ideally no more than two) to make significant space modifications. This allows Knotel to, in the company’s words, “productize” the work space. That means, they flatten out the parts and make them work together. Think of your smartphone — what would have been separate purchases of a camera; phone, computer, stereo, etc. Now, there is one device from one place that fits in your pocket. ly. It’s a guiding principle is applied not only to the company, but also for many of the clients Knotel supports. It’s a rare opportunity for impact. Knotel currently hires from refugee and formerly incarcerated backgrounds; partners with food and health/wellness vendors from underrepresented groups; participates in progressive legal actions; and has convened a series on women in tech, among other topics.

I started this journey to write about Knotel’s Innovation Award, not knowing that I would find something truly outstanding in the highly competitive field of flexible workspaces. It has been a real eye-opening experience learning more about this great organization and I now have a clear understanding of why it was selected for this award by IFMA NYC. I would encourage everyone reading this article to take the time to visit a Knotel location to see first-hand these amazing workspaces.

Written by Robert McGill of RD Weis Companies, IFMA NYC Communications Committee Member

Read the article on the IFMA New York City Chapter website.