How Ease Hospitality, An Event Space, Is Embracing Hybrid Work

By Published On: July 14, 20226.6 min read

Remote work has introduced an existential crisis for office space. A recent report projected that, by 2029, office buildings across the nation could be worth $500 billion less than their pre-pandemic value.

Ease Hospitality, a new brand with two conference, meeting and event spaces in midtown Manhattan, is embracing the new reality of remote and hybrid work. A project of NYC real estate firm Fisher Brothers, Ease Hospitality recently opened its second property in midtown East. The company’s inaugural property, located at 1345 Avenue of the Americas in a 50-story office building in midtown Manhattan, opened in February, 2021.

Ease Hospitality was in the middle of constructing its first space when the pandemic hit in March, 2020. Rather than hope the world would soon return to its pre-pandemic state, the company made the decision to change course mid-construction.

The final result was a full-service conference center that was able to accommodate what Ease Hospitality anticipated a hybrid world would need. As a corporate event space and a location for tenants who work in the building to relax and recharge, Ease Hospitality is able to meet many different needs in a physical space that integrates technology in multiple ways.

Luckily, in March 2020, the walls of Ease Hospitality hadn’t yet been built, so the engineering and technology teams were able to come up with and incorporate hybrid capabilities. “I think one of the benefits of that timeline — as crazy as the world was at that period — was that we were able to pivot and make some good and challenging decisions about what we wanted to do from a technological standpoint,” Austin Lan, Director of Operations at Ease Hospitality, told “We were able to introduce things like Zoom capabilities and additional cameras.”

A small bar sits at the back of a wood-paneled room.

1345 Avenue of the Americas | Image provided by Ease Hospitality

Ease Hospitality’s first location, @Ease 1345, is designed by the architectural design firm, Rockwell Group. The space caters to employees who work in the building who have the option of using the space for a coffee break, a meeting, to work on their laptop, or just for a change of scenery. Companies also book the whole space for events or conferences, where there is the option for catered food, a bar, coffee and other services.

With several conference rooms and large open areas, the space hosts work events for up to 440 guests. @Ease 1345 also features a range of amenities, from a full fitness facility, locker rooms with steam showers, a massage room and a respite room for nursing mothers.

With wide-open space to sit and work, mid century modern design, and multiple conference spaces, @Ease 1345 is designed to feel relaxing, almost like a retreat — a place to be productive away from the office. When you walk in, one of the first details you notice is the greenery — oversized gardens on the wall and countless live trees in the space. The midtown locations are both home to NYC’s largest indoor terrarium. The focus on biophilia is intentional and a main pillar of the Ease Hospitality brand, meant to give tenants and clients an experience of calm, and even to promote productivity.

“We have found, through challenging times, that the blending of the comforts of the physical space and the convenience of the digital landscape allows us to be at ease while we work,” Ease Hospitality Founder Crystal Fisher said in a statement.

In the Third Avenue location, visitors also have access to two dedicated outdoor spaces with private seating areas. In the spirit of incorporating technology into the physical space in new ways, the team has also added a digital gallery — an NFT exhibition. “By adding this exhibition that features an artist who is able to incorporate natural elements, we stay true to our core and our future,” Fischer said.

Greenery fills a room.

1345 Avenue of the Americas | Image provided by Ease Hospitality

How Technology Accommodates the New Realities of Hybrid Work

During the first year after the pandemic, the ability to accommodate remote workers and connect them to their teams played a key role in operating the space effectively. “As the tenant population started to trickle back in, we were able to then accommodate more hybrid events,” Lan said. That could mean hosting 100 people in the room but broadcasting a live stream out to one thousand people.

“We’ve done a lot of events, both virtual and hybrid with tenants, where they have transformed our large meeting spaces into full production studios, and it’s a really cool transformation to see,” Lan said. “So instead of hosting 50 people in the room and 50 people on a Zoom call, we’ve hosted 10 people in the room and 15,000 people on the other end.”

Ease Hospitality has incorporated technology into the structure of the physical space but has also made it easy for tenants to connect and interact with the physical amenities in the space through the @Ease app.

Returning to in-person meetings and events required adapting to different teams’ comfort levels while also being flexible as Covid-19 policies changed by the week. Giving tenants the ability to interact with an application allowed Ease Hospitality to change course as these requirements changed.

“When the tenants came back to the building, within the @Ease workplace app, they were able to do touchless entry through the turnstile through full integration with our castle security system,” Lan explained. Tenants could also order food for pickup instead of having to hang out in the physical space at that time, since many people weren’t comfortable doing that.

Tables and chairs are arranged in a small room.

1345 Avenue of the Americas | Image provided by Ease Hospitality

Adaptability is Essential for the Future of Hospitality

As clients began meeting in person again and hosting events, Lan and the larger team found that everyone had a different level of safety and comfort.

“We were really trying to navigate what people are comfortable doing and what they are not. Having the ability to navigate the physical amenity space with this workplace app gave the tenants a lot of confidence in being able to consume some of the services that we’re offering,” Lan explained.

An open mind and an understanding that clients’ and tenants’ perspective on safety is different became an important part of helping ease the transition to in-person events after lockdown. “Some [tenants] frankly, came back and it didn’t seem to bother them. Others came back and had very stringent rules and regulations as to how they’re going to occupy our meeting spaces,” Lan said.

Being conscious of safety protocols has meant adapting to different requirements or preferences from different teams. “We’re there to satisfy all those needs, and help the tenants feel confident that when they come back, it’s a safe environment to do so.”

Technology teams onsite in both locations have been particularly helpful in adapting to different tenant needs and safety protocols.

Ease Hospitality is working on several projects for the near future. Two future Ease Hospitality locations are currently in development, and the company is in contract for its app technology in three locations. The company is also piloting a VIP Membership Program for guests to book a day or weekly pass, expanding the number of people who can use the space.

Lan is optimistic about in-person events, having witnessed the excitement tenants and clients expressed upon being able to host again. “As people started to repopulate the building, we saw a real eagerness to meet in person,” he said.

“I’ve been in the industry of care and hospitality for seven years and in the past, when people came to lounges or tenant lounges, or full-service conference centers, there wasn’t all that much exciting about it. I think as the world started to regain a little sense of normalcy, people came back with a smile on their faces. It was really great to feel that energy in the workplace,” he said.

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