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Cove Shifts Flexible Office Platform To Prepare For Returning Tenants

Cove CEO Adam Segal photographed in the company's Chinatown location in 2016.

Cove, a D.C.-based workspace company that began with small, shared office locations before pivoting last year to partner with building owners, is now preparing for tenants returning to their offices.

The company last week launched two new software platforms as part of its mobile application to help tenants and building owners return to work safely after stay-at-home orders are lifted.  

The tenant-focused platform allows companies to track the occupancy of their space, reserve desks, stagger arrival times, form elevator queues, create contactless delivery points, set cleaning schedules and conduct health checks. It also includes features to help companies maintain their culture before returning to the office, such as virtual events and snack boxes for delivery. 

The platform for landlords allows them to track the occupancy of their buildings, schedule arrivals to prevent bottlenecks at the elevators, communicate directly with tenants to share building updates, set cleaning schedules and conduct health checks. 

"The entire office world is going through a rethink in terms of how people are going to engage with it in the next 12 months," Segal said. "Everything people know about how spaces are used is going to be out the window. Every building is a clean slate."

Pages on Cove's mobile app for employees returning to the office.

Founded in 2013, Cove began by opening several small locations — roughly 2K SF each — throughout D.C. before expanding to Boston. It gave individuals — mostly freelancers and remote workers — access to all of the spaces for a monthly rate, using a mobile app to see which spaces have available desks.

Last year, Cove began a new strategy of partnering with property owners to manage their buildings using its app to handle events, reservations and other operations.

It first partnered with The Meridian Group at 1400 L St. NW, 1010 North Glebe Road and 2500 Wilson Blvd. Last month, Cove announced a deal with Rubenstein Partners to partner on two Montgomery County office buildings that are undergoing renovations.

Cove has also partnered with tenants to manage their offices, including a licensing agreement with Booz Allen Hamilton for its Innovation Center in D.C. 

The shift to this partnership structure came at a fortuitous time for Cove, as the agreements create more stability during a downturn than month-to-month coworking model. Companies like coworking leader WeWork that have built their portfolios with monthly agreements now face more risk than Cove does, Segal said. 

"We have been fortunate we never did WeWork's model of leasing 100K SF and subleasing to smaller tenants," Segal said. "We're more stable than traditional coworking ... We have longer agreements, and a big portion of our business is technology licensing."