If you believed everything you read in the news at the moment, you’d be forgiven for finding the closest sandpit and burying your head in it! In amidst the columns of doom and gloom reporting from home and abroad, there’s much to be read about the tailspin that companies like WeWork and Central Working are finding themselves in. Both offer flexible office space with open-plan co-working, but after years of huge growth are now facing trouble, with WeWork having to lay off 2,000 staff recently and Central Working going into administration.
But does this really point to a downward turn for demand in this style of flexible working? Or just property companies overstretching themselves. We think it’s the latter. As despite what you may see in the news, the number of co-working spaces continues to grow worldwide, and actually increased by a fifth last year – with almost 2.2 million people expected to work in over 22,000 co-working spaces by the end of this year.
So what makes co-working so successful? There’s the obvious reasons such as flexibility, productivity and reduced costs compared to taking on a permanent office, but it turns out that the social aspects are considered most important when choosing a co-working space. According to Deskmag’s global co-working survey, members of co-working spaces in Europe view a lack of interaction as the most important reason for wanting to end their membership.
Here at our Future Business Centres, we place an emphasis on the importance of community. Perhaps this is why our members tend to stick around! The centres bring in a unique network of businesses, and because of our not-for-profit status and foundation of impact businesses, our members care about similar issues, which creates a community of like-minded people who enjoy being around each other.
As our co-working spaces are within the walls of our thriving business centres which also house private offices, events and social areas or cafés, there are lots of opportunities for our members to meet people, and attend regular socials, networking, hackathons, or workshops.
We’ve loved working alongside and getting to know other start–ups within the building, often helping each other with common problems that we’ve faced or sharing helpful contacts
A place for growth
Around 71% of co-working members around the world have collaborated with someone they work alongside. This certainly rings true in our centres; our members tell us that one of the most valuable aspects of the space is the people they meet.
FLIT, creators of a new folding electric bike, have been part of our community since they were starting out over 2 years ago. They began in our ‘hatchery’ co-working space, and took part in one of our incubator programmes where we give free business support and desk space for start-ups. In this time, they’ve grown and developed their offer, and now have a private office of their own in our Cambridge centre. Here’s what their team say about the space: “The Hatchery at the Future Business Centre provided us with the perfect working space solution for us to build our business. We spent just over 2 years in the Hatchery, and have now moved to our very first FLIT headquarters in an office within the Future Business Centre. We’ve loved working alongside and getting to know other start-ups within the building, often helping each other with common problems that we’ve faced or sharing helpful contacts. Allia has created a great community and provided support that has helped us build FLIT to what it is today.”
By creating additional opportunities for members, co-working spaces can become more than just a place to work; they can be a space to meet others, collaborate, and grow. Many co-workers do outgrow space, and we hope that you do, because it’s a sign of your success!