The rise of the co-working office

The co-working office has become a rising international phenomenon with the traditionally structured office shrinking into the past. Whereas once they provided cash strapped start-ups with economic workspace, the co-working office is fast becoming the first choice for high-growth start-ups and SMEs in this country.

Co-working offices in the UK began in fashionable Shoreditch, London, for assisting tech start-ups, but the trend has spread since then. London is now the current international leader for co-working offices beating its closest rival New York with ease. Property agents Cushman and Wakefield stated that in 2017 providers of flexible workplaces took almost 20 percent of office space in central London.

Flexible and affordable

Space leased on a basis of membership can be far more affordable than regular office rental. Unlike employees in a conventional office, co-working members share their facilities such as office furniture, phones and IT support. They divide the essential expenses including internet rental, energy bills and the cost of the property itself.

Current research suggests that a growing number of employees are seeking more flexibility from their workplace. The freedom to drive their own workflow and have preference in their processes is echoed in their choice of work environment. Open plan co-working spaces discarding the convention of set desks can create a customisable workplace that can be easily adapted to individual needs.

Rigid cubicle layouts are no longer in demand. Where once employees sat in isolation, now they work together sharing ideas and information and the furniture required has changed too. Cluster office desks are perfectly shaped and spaced to allow employees to work closely. Folding office chairs deliver greater flexibility, when not in use they can be tucked away for space and opened up when needed for impromptu meetings. Filing cabinets that lock give co-workers a place to store their projects at times when they are not in.

Future growth

If this rising trend continues, it could spell the end of the conventional nine to five structure. As working on a project by project basis, involving multiple companies becomes the norm, rigid workflow will change too. Facilities like hot desking will be more closely suited to worker’s needs. This collaborative method of using workspace is not only economically attractive but perfect to suit businesses that need flexibility, such as fast-growing firms. It is not just flourishing companies that can thrive in this modern workplace. Co-working offices are ideally suited to media and technology firms who can share resources as well as an economic and networking option for freelancers.

Larger more established firms are also recognising the advantages of using co-working space. While affordability and flexibility are always factors, obtaining access to a vibrant hub in the community can be invaluable. Networking with start- ups and SMEs in their infancy can be especially beneficial creating strong foundations for business to business relationships. These reciprocal partnerships can achieve even greater growth with larger firms supporting start-ups with experience and the younger companies keeping them current.

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