Co-working is not a new concept, nor is it a fleeting craze.
Last year, flexible workspaces made up over 20% of all commercial office leases in central London. This trend is not confined to the capital either; take-up of flexible workspaces in cities outside London increased 275% from 2016 to 2017.
Co-working essentially allows members of different organisations such as freelancers, start-ups and other remote workers to all share the same office space. Individuals and businesses can rent a single desk or a mini office, often on a monthly, rolling basis. All of this means that coworking presents a much less risky option for new businesses.
The nature of the world of work is changing. Businesses are increasingly using self-employed freelancers on an ad-hoc basis. In fact, ONS statistics show that the self-employed now represent over 15% of the labour force.
Similarly, the number of start-ups has generally increased in recent years – specifically within the technology sector.
Let’s start with the obvious: renting an office is expensive. Unfortunately, the fact is that most new business are simply priced out of prime city locations. It’s also a substantial commitment, as traditional commercial leases will typically last 6-7 years.
Co-working provides an innovative and cost-effective solution to this problem, allowing small businesses and start-ups to get access to a wider client base. Spaces are often stylishly finished too, so businesses can give clients (and future employees) the right impression without the upfront cost. These cost savings can then be passed on to customers, giving the business a competitive edge,
The majority of coworking offices are open all hours, including weekends. Those using the space can work hours that suit them: they have control over their working life.
This means that coworking spaces are incredibly conducive to flexible working, which is an increasingly important draw for top talent (here’s looking at you, millennials).
Furthermore, the ability to work reactively to demand during peak periods can be invaluable to businesses – especially start-ups which are building their client base.
It goes without saying that, to start or run a successful business, you need to be able to connect with customers. Most coworking spaces provide high speed Wi-Fi as standard, as well as numerous other high-tech AV equipment.
Crucially, spaces often also provide on-hand staff support teams – and this usually includes dedicated IT support. Again, this means business can reap the rewards of these facilities, without incurring any of the upfront costs.
Finally, one of the really key benefits of coworking spaces is that, by nature, they bring together a number of creative individuals under one roof. Start-ups and freelancers can easily network and share experiences and ideas with one another.
Also, most spaces work to arrange events and seminars for residents. These range from gym classes to more formal training seminars and external networking opportunities.
ForburyTech is a one-stop complete business advisory service, which is dedicated to supporting technology businesses.
We can connect you with the experts you need to help your business grow – whether that is banks or other sources of finance, lawyers, accountants, business advisors, insurance brokers or HR support.