'Demand for flexible workspace will continue to increase'

Modern companies need more flexibility to react to changing conditions, says Clare Kelly of Glandore

19th May, 2017
Clare Kelly, Director of Glandore

What's your name?

Clare Kelly

What’s your company and describe your role?

I am a director of Glandore, a family business established in 2001 and leading provider of flexible workspace in Ireland. In my current role I am responsible for business development and overseeing the marketing activities for our operations in Dublin and Belfast.

How long have you held the position?

I have been working directly for the company in sales and business development roles for almost 10 years but have been in my current role since January 2016. I held the position of sales director for over six years.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

My day-to-day responsibilities are wide-ranging, including strategy development, HR and team support, marketing & business development activities and - along with my family members - overseeing the interior design of our six properties and future expansion of the business. My primary focus, however, is on Glandore’s community of member companies. I am passionate about creating an environment that inspires and supports their growth and the engagement of their employees.

Through the Glandore Member Network established in March 2016, Glandore hosts a range of social, CSR and educational events in our restaurant Suesey Street, private dining venue No. 25 Fitzwilliam Place and member Clubrooms in Dublin and Belfast to facilitate connections between our members and accelerate their business network.

In addition we launched the Glandore Wellness Programme in March 2017, which comprises monthly webinars, seminars, exercise classes and pamper days with the aim of promoting a healthier workplace and enhancing productivity and engagement.

As a family business we are very much focused on managing a long-term sustainable business and responding to the space and service needs of our member companies as they evolve. Our mission in Glandore is to create a dynamic, supportive and friendly community where each company and individual can flourish. We are committed to offering cost-effective workspace solutions with a focus on flexibility and scaleabilty for companies of any size or stage of growth, from early stage indigenous and international start-ups to SMEs and large, established multi-nationals.

What is your professional background?

Surprisingly for some, given my current role, I am a qualified occupational therapist. I studied in Trinity College and worked in the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dublin and in Sydney, Australia, before changing careers and joining Glandore in 2008. As a very client-centred profession, I believe my training in occupational therapy has been a significant advantage, leading to a holistic approach in the way we support our members' needs and partnering with them in achieving their business objectives and goals.

I have also completed a Diploma in Strategy, Change and Innovation in UCD Smurfit Business School and a Diploma in Digital Marketing.

Tell me about yourself away from work?

I have a wonderful husband, Garry, and two gorgeous children, Daniel (4) and Holly (2). We are very family focused so at the weekends we love nothing better than spending the day with our extended family and seeing the friendship growing between the cousins on both sides. I feel very fortunate to work with and see most of my immediate family on a daily basis, but we are very mindful that we make time to see each other outside of Glandore at weekends and holiday together also.

Tell us something very few people know about you?

My husband Garry mentioned above is also my childhood sweetheart whom I met at my friend's 16th birthday. He is my rock and an incredibly supportive partner and father.

You are speaking at iQuest’s 2017 Commercial Property Summit. What are you speaking about?

Flexible workspace or serviced office space as a concept has been around since the late 1980s, meeting the needs of companies that are looking for flexible space on flexible terms. The model has evolved in recent years, however, driven by the rise in the freelance economy in the US in particular but now globally.

Co-working in a shared office space offers these individuals earlier access to an affordable workspace, away from their kitchen table or nearest coffee shop, but most importantly a sense of community and the support of other like-minded businesses. I am delighted to be participating in a panel discussion looking at the future of the commercial property market giving my perspective on the impact of the trends in co-working.

What challenges do you see for the sector?

I see fewer challenges and more opportunities within the sector. Confining the conversation to Dublin, where I have more experience, the current population in Greater Dublin is expected to increase by 400,000 to 2.2 million by 2031. This population growth, along with our proven track record in attracting mobile foreign direct investment (FDI), suggests that prospects for growth in the commercial property sector are strong.

The ongoing supply of around four million square feet of new office space for greater Dublin over the next 18-24 months will also ensure that future inward investment can be accommodated in near term. The challenge is to maintain our competitive position and continually enhance our value proposition for FDI, particularly in the face of current widespread political and economic change in our key trading markets of the United States, the United Kingdom and the euro zone.

Where do you see the commercial property sector in 10 years time?

I believe the current demand for flexible workspace and co-working will continue to increase over the next ten years and beyond. Modern companies are scaling and failing more quickly, thus it is essential to have flexibility in both space and length of term to respond to changing market conditions. In Ireland, commercial property leases are generally longer than in most continental markets (typically 20 years with a break after 10 years). This is not a feasible solution for many companies, however, in situations where project space, overflow space or temporary office accommodation is required for teams during fit-outs.

Furthermore, in order to provide a seamless set-up for international start-ups, flexible workspace and co-working offers a landing pad facilitating speed to market and the capacity to scale their team in line with their business growth, with minimal risk or upfront costs.

Clare Kelly, director of Glandore is appearing at the Sunday Business Post Commercial Property Summit on June 15 at the AVIVA Stadium. For more information on this event please see www.commercialpropertysummit.ie

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