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Picking up the Mantle

Posted on Oct 7, 2020 by Cambridge Catalyst

Guy Baker, CEO of Mantle Business Centres, shares how his company has adapted to the new normal

When your business is centred around providing shared work environments, mandatory work-from-home rules and social distancing measures could sound like a death knell. But for Mantle, one of the area’s largest serviced office providers, recent months have panned out in unexpectedly positive ways.

When the guidelines were initially put in place back in March, the first step was to make their seven buildings, which include The Bradfield Centre and The Officers’ Mess, Covidsafe by adding Perspex screens, sanitiser stations and floor markings.

“During that period, we spent a lot of time communicating with our existing licensees and tenants and making sure that we were providing them with their post and dealing with all of the things that we could deal with for them,” recalls Mantle CEO Guy Baker.

“We spent that couple of months providing the best life-support maintenance service that we could for our existing tenants, but it’s fair to say that during that period we got very few enquiries, because everyone was hunkered down and trying to work out how they were going to make their businesses work going forward.”

We're offering our customers the flexibility to make the business decisions they need

The team realised quickly that they too were going to need to adapt for the changing circumstances, and came up with a new concept called Home- Flexi. Targeted at people who would be working at home for the foreseeable future and perhaps didn’t have an ideal set-up or simply had an ad hoc need for office space, meeting rooms and a business address, this package has been very well received so far.

“From June onwards, we’ve had strong levels of enquiry, to the extent that we have been seeing, in some instances, higher levels of enquiries than we did pre-Covid,” says Guy.

“And one reason for that is because all of our centres are based in commuter friendly locations, so we are well placed to offer businesses who are faced with the challenges of Covid the flexibility to reconfigure their teams and offer flexibility.”

ABOVE Nine Hills Road, Mantle’s latest office location and the replacement for the CB1 Business Centre

The customer profile has changed for Mantle too over the last few months, with more enquiries coming from larger organisations with slightly bigger requirements – something that Guy credits to larger companies reconsidering their space requirements, which we’re likely to see much more of over the coming months.

Next on the agenda for Mantle is launching Nine Hills Road, which will replace the CB1 Business Centre on Station Road. Offering significantly more space than its predecessor, with 35,000 sq ft and 400 desks, it will help to meet the city’s growing demand for flexible office solutions.

“We have taken a 10-year lease from the university on the building, and we’re on-site at the moment, due to open 1 November,” comments Guy.

“It’s a very exciting opportunity for us because it gives us a long-term home in that central Cambridge area.

“Making longer-term plans is difficult for all businesses at the moment,” he continues. “So what we’ve got to do is make sure we’re offering our customers the flexibility to make the business decisions they need, while making use of the facilities we offer.”

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This article first featured in Issue 7 of Cambridge Catalyst.

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