According to the New York Times, studies show that people who work at home are significantly more productive but less innovative. However, employees, especially younger ones, expect to be able to work remotely. And over all the trend is toward greater workplace flexibility.
The outcry surrounding a decision by the new Yahoo! Chief Executive Marissa Mayer to end work-from-home arrangements has shown just how strongly many companies and employees have embraced remote work, but it also underscores tensions between workers’ need for flexibility and their need for visibility.
PopupOffice is the name of a Swiss start-up company which follows the office nomad trend. Office nomads are often self-employed brain workers without an office of their own, sales representatives who travel a lot or home office workers who like to work in an office-like space for a change.
The business idea of PopupOffice is to rent not only office space but also prominent locations which are temporarily available such as galleries. Moreover, clients of PopupOffice become users who will have the opportunity to connect with other clients thus creating an “analog network” in combination with a digital booking tool.
We at the Lorange Institute of Business supported him with a Zurich Living Case. Below you find and interview with PopupOffice founder Mathis Hasler.
Mr Hasler, you signed up a so-called Living Case, a case study. This is quite unusual for a start-up company?
“Indeed. We founded PopupOffice in March 2015 but started team building in 2014. The reason why we needed the second opinion was to do with the fact that we hadn’t yet been successful. We were an empty shell. That is why we had to harden the shell. The case study was our hardening agent.
You put your business case under the microscope?
You could put it like that. The results of the case study give our business model a seal of quality. The Lorange Institute is a strong brand and an innovative business school. The market analysis is essential for discussions with potential investors.
How did you find out about the Lorange Institute?
Thanks to my network. A former workmate suggested that our business model should undergo a market analysis and recommended the Lorange Institute of Business. I was very keen on this idea. Students from the Executive MBA program, all with a great deal of managerial experience, write an analysis about our business case. They do it during the course ‘Modern Marketing” in only twelve days. Where else would you receive a paper written by experienced leaders in so little time?
How well matched were you, the innovative start-up company and the established business school?
Very good indeed. The Lorange Institute has proven to be more than a business school. An international faculty meets master’s course students from all over the world and together they build a network. Their innovative spirit and the idea of a network match with the idea of PopupOffice. Our offices are different from the currently used co-working spaces in so far as they become a means of communications and eventually a sales channel. The first is important with regards to the employer branding. Moreover, our customers become users with a profile. To book an office space they log in and after booking the space they become visible to other users. PopupOffice is an all-in platform.
What aspect did you find most positive in cooperating with the Lorange Institute?
The Living CaseTM study was part of a twelve day marketing block. I even participated in the course for three half-days in the course. We discussed aspects of so-called disruptive innovation business models, which suited the idea of PopupOffice. We are a bit like Uber or irbnb and are trying to break into the real-estate and office market.
Final question: Were you to order a Living CaseTM again what would need to be different from this one?
Let me put it like this: as a start-up every investment must have a direct return on this investment. In this respect the case study was a delicate matter because all we would get was a paper. Would we be ever capable of quantifying the study on our excel sheet? I therefore wish the business school had given our business even greater visibility in its network.