London serviced office operator, BE Offices, has just launched a new pro-working space at its Minories business centre in London.
Minories is now the third business centre in BE’s portfolio to gain its own dedicated client pro-working space, which the company notes is “the latest trend to hit the serviced office market”.
While BE’s Managing Director David Saul is certainly no fan of traditional standalone coworking, there is universal value in providing both private and open collaborative space for workspace clients. BE is meeting this need with its own take on pro-working — boutique break-out lounges designed for collaboration, knowledge-sharing and networking between clients and teams.
Dubbed “grown-up coworking”, BE’s Financial Director and co-founder, Simon Rusk, explains their thinking:
“The problem faced by more conventional organisations has been that many coworking spaces are geared towards young entrepreneurs or youthful start-up enterprises, and they perhaps lack the formal professional space or appearance that some more conventional and slightly larger businesses require.”
Pro-working is considered an intermediary for professionals who want a collaborative workspace on a par with their corporate image. And just like coworking, pro-working takes different forms.
According to John Hampton, Senior Vice President, Corporate Solutions at JLL, it is often utilised by large corporations to meet employee needs without compromising on their corporate culture.
Explaining pro-working, Hampton says:
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“Companies can put their under-utilized office space to work and connect with a vetted network of professionals (outside of their employee base) who need office space … A company can monetize its long-term, underutilized office space by leasing it to its vetted business partners, with whom they are likely to collaborate with every day. It’s also significantly more secure for those using the corporate space than co-working locations or Starbucks.”
BE’s pro-working space is collaborative and certainly has the look and feel of an upmarket coworking space; yet it’s different from some corporate options given that it is reserved exclusively for BE clients.
However, this is nothing new. BE has brought the concept onboard and modeled it to meet their own client requirements, ensuring their pro-working offering aligns both with their design standards and collaboration-friendly specifications — complete with banquet seating, armchairs, meeting tables, an app-controlled designer coffee machine, even their signature art collection. Rather than inviting memberships or hot-desk usage, it’s an exclusive value-add for clients that differentiates BE’s product from other London serviced office operators, of which there is certainly no shortage.
It’s a smart move that capitalises on the current appetite for collaborative space without straying too far from the company’s core serviced office model — and it works. According to BE, having already experienced success with their pro-working concept at Cheapside and Threadneedle Street, it will now form the template for all of their future refurbished space.