With coworking spaces as a growing commercial real estate category, Office Depot is reportedly experimenting with the concept. The retailer is “quietly” creating three spaces for coworking within existing brick-and-mortar locations, Fortune reported.
The spaces reportedly have hot desks, private offices and conference rooms that are said to be less costly than the likes of Workbar and WeWork. At a location in a suburb of Chicago, unlimited drop-in access is said to be $100. By comparison, the news outlet reported that the least expensive monthly membership in the municipality was $229 as of mid-May.
Office Depot’s move into coworking could be significant, as the retailer has more than 1,300 stores in the U.S., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, with 30.2 million square feet of real estate. The retailer isn’t alone: Staples recently finished a tie-up with Workbar to put coworking spaces in three stores in the Boston area.
The news comes after it was reported in January that Office Depot unveiled smart home installation services, where customers can purchase thermostats and cameras, among other items, and have them installed by tech experts. Chief Services and Solutions Officer Janet Schijns said in an announcement at the time, “This is a collaboration we’re excited to be a part of, and see major future benefit as we continue expanding our service offerings.”
Schijns also noted that the aim was to let shoppers “focus on their lives and their business, not setting up secure networks and reading installation manuals.” The retailer was reportedly offering the consultation and installation services across its 1,400 retail locations and eCommerce site. It was also offering discounts for in-office or in-home installations in December. According to reports last year, the move occurred as global demand for smart home devices was forecasted to exceed sales of smartphones by 2023.