Working models have arguably changed more in the past 10 years than in the preceding 100. The rise of the gig and sharing economies has ushered in new practices that allow for greater flexibility and the growth of businesses based around concepts that could not have existed little more than a decade ago.
But the pace of change has been so drastic that the built environment has had to constantly reinvent itself to keep up and adequately service these trends. Offices must be fit-for-purpose and lease structures must be able to be operated in a manner that suits the modern world of work. This pattern also has a knock-on impact on construction: if you are building to meet the demands of today, you’re already out of date. Construction and development professionals must therefore be building for tomorrow’s occupier.
In response to this trend, Pamela Ayuso established Honduran development company Celaque, to bring appropriate and future-proofed office spaces to market. Ayuso has grown the company into a model for modern collaborative working methods, with a focus on integrating wellbeing into the office.
Recognizing that collaboration is key to success, Celaque sought to transform communal office spaces to facilitate greater interaction and productivity. It provides an arena for collaboration and, in so doing, improves the office experience to mirror the type of environment people enjoy at home.
Amenities including conference rooms, gym facilities, events rooms, coffee bars, lounges and terraces help to transform the office from the outdated model of desks and screens in neat, uniform rows. Proudly demonstrating these things is a clear indication to workers that the company is investing in its people, and productivity typically reflects this.
The core idea is to welcome an urban community and facilitate exposure to different ideas and items through shared spaces. Connectivity and collaboration are key.
“Information is power, and the more the information filters to everyone, the more empowered the members of the organization will be,” says Ayuso.
In Celaque’s developments, every detail has been thought of, from intelligent parking control systems right down to the unique fire alarm system designed around the specifics of the building, to ensure that office innovations do not inadvertently expose workers to new safety issues.
Celaque is also keen to practice what it preaches and has worked hard to instil, internally, the values it promotes externally. It has therefore created the first-of-its-kind online system for managing daily task lists, migrated all operating systems to the cloud, and moved away from legacy systems still used elsewhere in the industry.
Organizationally, Celaque teams are established by function and not by hierarchy. Barriers to communication are actively removed through company-wide meetings and collaborative software tools, while all decision-making now involves engineers, architects, property management and finance professionals, to ensure all facets are catered for.
In this way, Ayuso has leveraged the rise of the sharing economy and taken lessons from this into both Celaque’s business model and her own psychological approach to business.
“There are other ways we can learn from how the world is now behaving. Decision-making used to be the purview of a few executives in an organization. To better harness the wisdom in the entire organization, decision-making can occur via other committees and teams,” she says. “If the group is diverse, it will make much better decisions than any one person alone.”
Celaque has seen rapid growth and success by staying true to this mantra and constantly thinking about tomorrow’s business needs. It now operates a property portfolio of more than 200,000 square feet. But Ayuso knows her work is far from over.
“Growing your business is a never-ending process,” she says.
The internal changes to the company’s operating processes have seen time spent during staff onboarding fall to a quarter of what it previously was. For the consumer-facing side of the business, the reinvention of how offices treat communal spaces has differentiated Celaque from other providers and has driven successful pre-sales for each of its developments.
“People are looking for affordable, small office spaces with all the amenities of a large office, and this is exactly what we offer,” says Ayuso.
Trying to provide solutions for tomorrow’s challenges is never easy, but with dedication and commitment to her cause, Ayuso has found her own formula for success.
“It may sometimes look like nothing will come of what you are going. Nevertheless, if you are confident in your vision, keep going,” Ayuso urges. “The end goal may not happen exactly as you may have envisioned it, as the result may come from a different direction altogether. The only way to discover that outcome is to keep going and maintain the goal in mind.”