The explosive growth of coworking is a trend that looks set to continue, as business owners, freelancers and remote workers look to coworking as a practical, cost-effective solution to their workspace needs.
While the definition of coworking is blurry at best, there are certain ‘norms’ that are expected – such as a community-driven environment that’s focused more on the people than the building. BLANKSPACES and Indy Hall are two dedicated coworking spaces that are prime examples of the ‘people first’ ethos.
And while business centres don’t necessarily need to add coworking to their portfolio, an increasing number of centres are exploring the concept by introducing collaborative workspace in many different forms.
Here, we shine the spotlight on a few of them and demonstrate the creative ways in which business centres offer collaborative space to meet the needs of their clients. Whether or not you choose to label it ‘coworking’, it showcases the superb versatility of shared workspace and just how flexible the sector really is.
1. Virtual benefits: A recently launched concept by United Business Centres blends shared workspace in a business centre environment with the company’s own virtual office services. The solution provides a private desk in a shared office along with storage space, a business address, mail handling and call answering. Having been introduced at its Oldham location, United Business Centres is now rolling out the concept across more venues in 2014.
2. Luxury space: A number of operators such as Avanta and The Office Group offer high-end coworking spaces. These spaces typically occupy prime locations and offer carefully designed spaces and furniture, targeted at start-ups and small businesses looking for a professional, collaborative workspace environment. In most cases, clients have a choice of spaces such as large open tables, semi-private booths and business lounges.
3. Integrated solutions: Some business centres choose to segregate their coworking spaces, but Bristol-based Colston Office Centre integrates its offering as part of the business centre. The coworking element is a shared office that forms part of the centre, adjacent to the main reception, with an open-door policy that increases collaboration between serviced office clients and those who use the shared facility. As well as offering a relaxed environment, this approach also showcases the other types of space available, which is useful for any coworking clients considering an ‘upgrade’ to serviced or managed space.
4. Standalone coworking spaces: In contrast to the approach above, some business centres choose to offer a standalone coworking concept, which is separate from their serviced office element – either in terms of location, or branding, or a combination of both. Liberty Hubspace is one example – it’s a coworking facility based in Fife that’s effectively part of Liberty Business Centres, yet operates with its own branding and target market.
ClubWorkspace is another example. The company is part of Workspace Plc, a brand that offers a diverse range of workspace, including business centres, manufacturing and industrial space. ClubWorkspace is the coworking arm of the company, but you wouldn’t know it. It’s completely separate – with its own branding, budget, management and marketing. With six independent coworking spaces and five more on the way – it works!
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Every business centre that offers collaborative workspace puts their own unique stamp on it, offering a tailored solution that befits their brand, their space and most importantly, their customers. It adds an incredibly diverse range of collaborative space to the coworking model that ticks many different boxes. They’re unique, bespoke and ultimately flexible – a prime example of everything the business centre industry represents.
What collaborative space does your centre have to offer? How does it enrich the coworking niche? Let us know!Share this article