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Finding the right work environment for startups, entrepreneurs, and the self-employed can be an expensive and lonely journey these days. However, the need for collaboration spaces is increasing across the UK.
Co-working spaces, defined as membership-based workspaces in which different groups of freelancers, remote workers and other independent professionals work together in a common, collaborative environment, are opening up across the country, changing the dynamics of small business offices.
In addition to trendy open environments with hot desks and access to meeting rooms, they offer many free extras such as endless tea and coffee, super-fast WiFi and a range of inspiring ways to collaborate and interact with colleagues. The unique facility means that in addition to planned community events, in contrast to conventional office space, there is a relaxed, but professional, collaborative and creative atmosphere with the community at the center.
Related topics: Cool co-working spaces in the UK for your start-up or small business
Sharing a work space with co-entrepreneurs, freelancers, and the self-employed not only provides more control over their working lives, but also provides a low-cost social work space that can massively help those looking to start and expand a business without renting office space.
According to Small Business Labs, the number of people renting this type of space will grow from just under a million in 2016 to nearly four million in 2020. Indeed, brands like Starbucks are promoting their collaboration space with the ultimate goal of becoming what they have coined as the Third Space, ie. Home, Work, and Starbucks.
Mike Davis, Head of SMB at AXA PPP Healthcare, says, “Having a flexible modern work environment that employees can thrive in is key to building and maintaining a high performing workforce while protecting your business from the costly risk of losing valuable people. “
What are the advantages?
Promote a collaborative culture
For many companies that choose to have a shared work environment, it’s much more than just renting a desk in an office – it’s about being part of a community. By working at shared tables with professionals from different industries, employees can share their experiences, connections and knowledge. More importantly, professional collaboration can offer an alternative mindset and perspective that triggers cross-fertilization of ideas.
The sense of community in the workplace does not have to be limited to the community environment, however – all companies should promote a culture of collaboration. However, because many offices are organized by department, it can be difficult for management to maintain relationships between different teams. A simple but effective way to do this is to make sure employees step back from their desks and take regular breaks.
Create a flexible workspace
Furniture is key to any office, but as work practices evolve that aim to prioritize a more flexible and collaborative workforce, a company’s equipment and furnishings should make this easier too. One of the biggest advantages of a co-working space is that it’s agile enough to support all of the different ways a team or employee might want to work. For example, these offices usually have a large open layout to encourage teamwork, smaller breakout rooms when an employee is looking for a quieter and more peaceful environment, and additional desks for freelancers.
Businesses can create a similar design by introducing movable walls and office partitions. By implementing a sophisticated office partition system, managers can customize the space to accommodate both large meeting areas and individual cubicles. In this way, employees can change their work environment to suit the needs of a specific task or to suit their individual personality and ensure that productivity remains at the highest level.
Check out the infographic below to see the coolest co-working spaces around the country