LAUFT, an on-demand shared workshare network built for remote work, is continuing to expand its footprint with its latest location planned to open in downtown Toronto.
Graham Wong, Founder and CEO, who has described the concept’s potential as being the “Starbucks of workspace”, said the new location at 95 King St E is opening in the next couple of weeks by the end of November.
“We’re very excited about our new location at 95 King St. E in downtown Toronto,” shared Wong. “With current locations already active in Burlington, Vaughan, North York and Ajax, we’re answering the growing demand for a downtown LAUFT.”
“While many value having a LAUFT close to home, they have also shared the value that a location would hold should they have to trek downtown and need a professional space to touch down in and work.”
“We’re actively exploring other neighbourhoods in and around the GTA to the east, west and north.”
The new location is just under 2,000 square feet.
“Our model has always been to take small footprints and create drop in, touch down space as you need it,” said Wong. “We even have a new offering where a company can rent out the entire space for the day if they wanted to get their team together. We call the offering ‘Team On-Site’. It’s a daily rate with access to desks, offices, work rooms and the board room.
“We haven’t seen that offering on the market anywhere and we’re excited about the launch of that.”
Wong said the company is offering the ‘Team On-Site’ concept at its Shops at Don Mills, Burlington and Vaughan Mills locations, in addition to the upcoming King Street location.
Currently, LAUFT has five locations in the Greater Toronto Area.
“We’re looking at locations in Oakville, Mississauga, Hamilton. Really you’re targeting commuter areas. And then we’ll also be going to Ottawa. Add to all this, our recent contract with the Government of Canada which will see us expand into Ottawa and you can really see the impact that our growing LAUFT network will hold for hybrid workers,” said Wong.
“Our long-term goal remains the same. Can we be the largest network of flexible workspace on the planet. We’d love to see LAUFT’s in malls, airports, conference centres and hospitals. Can we be the Starbucks of workspace with an Uber-like experience? I believe that this team will make it happen.”
He said many companies are reaching out to LAUFT now because they need a hybrid solution for their workplace.
LAUFT opened its first location in 2018.
“I think hybrid is here to stay. In fact, hybrid was always around. Generally speaking even before COVID, Mondays and Fridays were always light in the office. You always had outside sales. So you always had people working in hybrid,” said Wong.
“What people are looking at now is for two years we had an extreme. Everybody was home. Now the pendulum is swinging back and I think we’re going to find this place where you have to be in the office when you need to. Obviously there’s so many pros to seeing people face to face. Be at home when it makes sense because maybe you don’t need to be in an office, you need focused work and you also have obligations in your life. And then there needs to be a third option in between and I think that realistically we all look at it as this holistic work journey and you just want to be able to work from anywhere that it makes sense for what you need to accomplish. That’s kind of where we’re going.
“You’re seeing companies starting to accept that reality and you have companies that there probably is a need for them to be in the office more often than not and it will make sense for them. But people are embracing the reality of what work means today and how to balance that with life.”
Wong said he’s excited about the partners LAUFT is working with on this concept.
“Our technology layer and our operational layer. The fact we have physical locations but we always were powered by a technology platform that allowed booking has resulted in us having solutions that we could never even think of,” he said. “So even for commercial real estate partners we now have this product we can almost take their office and create a time share situation where tenants who may only need a Thursday would actually be able to book a Thursday in the office and take over an office.
“We’re just really innovating in different ways and creating solutions we’ve been forced to given the reality.”