Equalising the office market - one 'Level'​ at a time

Earlier this year Joe Averill - whose career started in fast growth tech then rapidly flowed into the world of real estate - founded and launched Level.

His startup, which provides advice solely for tenants, has since secured a plethora of flexible office deals for fast growing companies including Chatloop, Kitman Labs, GigPig UK, The Talent Crowd and Fairmont Recruitment.

With the world of work continuing to change, we sit down with Joe and ask what the future for fast growth companies looks like, what constitutes a successful hybrid working model, what Level’s own growth vision entails - and more.


Why did you launch Level?

It became abundantly clear to me, having worked for fast growth tech companies and in commercial property, that there was a gap to represent fast growth tenants. That was the spark, gained through my own experiences, that I guess saw me come full circle and create Level.

I had a strong belief that a business solely representing tenants on their workspace strategies could be successful as it would deliver true value.

What’s Level’s mission?

Essentially Level is on a mission to equalise the office market. What that means is we advise tenants, not landlords. And we’ve no conflict of interest when providing workspace advice.

The businesses Level has worked with in such a short space of time roll off the tongue. But why do you work specifically with fast-growth businesses?

We wanted to challenge the status quo and I believe that is what we are now doing through a bold approach, but an approach based on concrete foundations. For Level it’s about end to end real estate strategy for tenants. Not landlords as there has not been many looking out solely for tenants.

It stems from my tech background, my time in the real estate sector and my strong desire to create well structured real estate strategies aligning with the hiring plans of fast growth companies.
Due to my passion for networking and developing business and markets, Level is able to provide added value to the companies we represent. As we want CEOs of the companies to join our network and utilise it for their own benefit and for the benefit of the wider economy.

The Express Building, Ancoats, Manchester

How important is trust when it comes to workspace strategy in this brave new flexible world we live in?

Honesty comes first in the commercial property sector, and trust follows. Level’s position in the market is centred on this.

I'm wanting to build trust with an audience, and that can start by saying ‘you don't have to come back to the office, it's fine’. I am an advocate of hybrid working myself.

People, businesses, whether you are an SME, startup or enterprise, want choice and flexibility. Whether it’s remote working, hybrid working or being back in the office full time, the choice and the flexibility is absolutely essential for them. There’s no getting away from it. You can’t force a company’s hand for the wrong reasons because you have an obligation to a landlord. And that’s exactly why Level has been established at a key time, to deliver impartial advice and focus on added value.

Expand more on why companies want choice and how to work towards making the right choice…

People fundamentally want choice, yes. So it comes down to three things for me.

Leadership around your future of work and what you want your business to look like. If you are clear on that then you know who you want to hire and who's going to come back into the office, who doesn’t want to come back and others that would like to blend the two.
The leader also needs to define what the future of work looks like so they can articulate it within the business. ‘Hybrid’ means one thing to an employee and another thing to an employer if there is no clarity in communication.

Emotional intelligence is also a key factor for leaders to understand their teams requirements and their personal circumstances. People may like working at home because they can manage getting their children to school, others may have a poor working environment at home so prefer to be in the office. If we listen to our teams more, we can create a better experience around future work models.

The question of whether you have got a strong enough and good enough culture in your company that makes people want to return to the office is also important.

Is it right that Level has been taken on as GigPig’s exclusive property agent to support its UK expansion?

That’s right. GigPig’s office at Bridge Street Studios is on a flex lease of 12 months. GigPig required a flexible office deal that would bolster its UK expansion strategy and we provided that in totality.

Joe Averill with GigPig's Kit Muir-Rogers (right)

It was great to have then been appointed as exclusive agent for such an innovative and fast growing tech company. I also think GigPig’s team understood Level’s wider mission of levelling up the office market and felt the benefit.

What we do really enjoy is our market position as it truly does look after tenants’ best interests as they grow.

Certainty in business has been hard to come by of late. What’s your take?

Play until the whistle. There’s been an avalanche of big issues for businesses to deal with in the past few years. The latest being three British Prime Ministers in seven weeks.

But if you look at the flexible workspace market and how the business market is performing I think there is reason to remain optimistic. Everybody is considering the way that they work, how they do it and the ways in which they might work in the short, medium and longer term.

The big corporations are going to be looking to go into flexible workspace. My take is that the property market will still remain quite active. It's just up to those who are hungry enough and delivering a strong customer service, whilst being alive to what is happening to maximise opportunities.

How much does customer service matter in the days of Zoom, Teams and Google Meet?

More than ever. Sadly, customer service has declined rapidly of late across the world. But that brings with it opportunity. Level operates in a space where customer service is absolutely essential. And we believe we have it right, we add value. And we do that because we know it’s much easier to stand out at the moment if you are very, very customer focussed and very driven to deliver the best experience possible.

If you could give us one line on ‘how to make hybrid working a success’ what would it be?

Emotional Intelligence…Sit down with your employees, listen to their responses and provide an effective solution.

What are your ambitions for Level?

I want to build something special and bring on the right people to deliver on the growth of the business, which will be the biggest challenge. My vision is to scale, firstly focusing in Manchester and then moving into Leeds and then London.

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