Chiko Abengowe, Founder & CEO of Perfect Office, is an entrepreneur at heart.
That’s why Perfect Office strives to provide today’s entrepreneurs with affordable, professional, and flexible office solutions.
But before Perfect Office came Perfect Staff – a staffing company founded by Chiko that provided the inspiration for what we now know as Perfect Office.
“I actually started a business before Perfect Office called Perfect Staff,” said Chiko. “I had a really hard time finding affordable and professional, but at the same time flexible office space.”
“So, I started Perfect Office in 2014 to focus on leveling the playing field for small entrepreneurs and minority-based entrepreneurs that were looking for something affordable, professional, and flexible,” he added.
Through leveling the playing field for these entrepreneurs and businesses, Perfect Office helps to empower the important work being done by its client base.
“I think just by being in existence we empower these entrepreneurs and businesses because 95% of our tenant base are entrepreneurs who have a colored background – I just think that’s exciting,” explained Chiko.
“This is a market that I don’t think was effectively and efficiently being served and because we are here, we’re able to close these gaps that exist and better level the playing field when it comes to business and entrepreneurship,” he said.
At the same time, Perfect Office has seen and coped with a plethora of changes in the flexible office industry since its inception in 2014.
While almost 90% of Perfect Office’s services are made up of private office options, “We’ve started to offer a lot more services like a membership [plan], virtual offices, coworking, virtual mailboxes, and even a private desk option,” Chiko added.
But most recently, COVID-19 has seen a decrease in the use of large, open shared office space in exchange for more private options.
Thus, Perfect Office’s ~90% private office product base has allowed the flex office provider to not only sustain business but excel during the pandemic.
“Of course, COVID-19 affected everybody,” said Chiko. “We took a dip in April but then we came right back and had our best month ever in May, when we had 78 private offices leased – and we still haven’t topped that,” he added.
Chiko and Perfect Office even saw a large influx in users who had previously been using shared space who were now seeking private office offerings.
“A lot of people moved out from coworking spaces and were looking for private offices,” he said. “I think that’s why we had that big influx [in May] of folks coming towards our end.”
Within a private office, users feel more comfortable in their own controllable space.
“Having primarily private office offerings really helped us out big time because in a private office you can control what happens in your space,” he explained.
“You can control how many times you clean it, who comes in and out of it, and you can maintain that six-foot distance with other people in the building.”
Beyond the coronavirus pandemic, Chiko hopes for a bright future for both Perfect Office and for the flexible office industry.
A future where larger enterprise companies frequently leverage and utilize the flexibility that providers such as Perfect Office can offer.
“Most people who used to pay a lot for office space, especially those who utilized the bigger name companies, are trying to find ways to reduce that expense.”
“Perfect Office offers terms like month-to-month or even [single] year leases that you can cut off with [a simple] notice. That’s what business owners are looking for right now – something a little more flexible and something a little more affordable.”
When it comes to a wholesale return to physical workspaces, Chiko believes many will slowly transition by first working in tertiary markets – known more commonly as smaller metro or suburban areas.
“I think people will still need an office space but it’s going to be a little more spread out,” exclaimed Chiko. “It’s going to be closer to home. People are going to need that intermediary in order to transition back into the city.”
“That’s where we step in because all our spaces are not in the heart of the city,” he said. “We’re closer to the suburbs where people live.”
What’s so enticing about working closer to home is that the convenience of a shorter commute allows people to continue with the ideal work-life balance that they have formed while working from home.
“People are getting used to being at home, not paying for parking, and being closer to their daughter’s daycare or their son’s sports practice,” explained Chiko.
“There are certain things that people are getting used to right now and they feel like those things are important in contributing to that balance of work and play.”
If one thing is certain though, it’s that Chiko – a fellow entrepreneur – and Perfect Office will continue to empower its client base of innovative entrepreneurs.
“It really motivates me and my team to continue to do what we have to do to make sure that they [our clients] have a space that’s affordable, professional, and flexible,” said Chiko.