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Toby Mathis
The Demand for Virtual Office Space

COVID-19 has created massive changes in the commercial working environment. The pandemic has taken a bite out of commercial spaces, retail is getting decimated, and people are starting to reconsider office space. According to the IDC, 1.8 billion people in the workforce worldwide are working permanently two or more days a week outside their primary office space.

In this episode, Toby Mathis of Anderson Advisors talks to Frank Cottle, founder of Alliance, which has about 1,200 facilities representing 30-million square feet of space in 54 countries.

Frank is one of the largest players in the virtual office space and has a unique global management perspective. He has been in the service office industry and flexible workspace sector for 40 years.


  • Remote Work:
    • One day a week equals a 20% vacancy factor in commercial office space
    • Two days a week, it’s 40%
    • Today, most people now work three-and-a-half days a week at home
  • Corporate America: Office space isn’t needed; policies to work wherever you want
  • Who wants to commute? Nobody, especially when told not to take public transportation
  • Real Estate Cyclicality: Good and bad markets sometimes equal vacancy or waiting list
  • Repurpose Space: If not used for original intent, turn it into residential, retail, other uses
  • New Hybrid Office: Work from home, near home, or electronically commute to office
  • Property vs. Technology: Property companies require capital, don’t scale on same basis
  • Membership Care/Pass: Allows access to office facilities worldwide anytime, anywhere
  • Flexible vs. Fixed Office Space: Seek solutions to get away from inefficient fixed cost
  • Conference Rooms: Use for Zoom, Teams, Webex, GoToMeeting—it’s all ubiquitous
  • Constant Change: With every new lease and tenant, how can you make improvements?
  • Unreimbursed Business: Provide complete remote workspace technology or access to it
  • Dual Hybrid Model: When the government stops making rules, we’re back to normal
  • Virtual Office vs. Virtual Address: What’s the difference? Pay as-needed or 24/7
  • Office Space Models:
    • Classic: People, place, and technology provide business growth
    • Incubator: Same thing but provides mentoring
    • Accelerator: Does what an incubator, but provides access to capital


Alliance Virtual Offices



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Zoom Rooms

Microsoft Teams

Cisco Webex



Flexi Zone


Novel Coworking

Clean Air Act

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Office Evolution

Venture X

All Good Works Foundation – Office Leasing Meets Nonprofit

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Full Episode Transcript:

Toby: Hey, guys. This is Toby Mathis with the Anderson podcast. I have Frank Cottle with me today. Some of you guys might remember Frank from his previous podcast; we’re talking about non-profits. Frank has a very successful non-profit as well. We wanted to talk today about massive changes in the commercial working environment, given the pandemic, and Frank happens to be one of the largest players in the virtual office space—his company. I want to introduce Frank. First off, hey, Frank. Welcome.

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