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Why Flexible Offices And Co-working Spaces Are Driving Business in London

A recent study put the number of co-working offices in London at over 200 – the highest of any city worldwide. What is it about the capital that attracts these offices – and why are so many organisations drawn to them?

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Flexible or co-working is hailed by its advocates as a revolution in the way people work, offering flexibility, state-of-the-art offices, and a network of likeminded people to work alongside. Many have excellent bars, restaurants, and communal areas attached, so it’s not too difficult to see their appeal above a standard, serviced office.

There may be some businesses for whom a traditional lease will still seem attractive, but it’s becoming apparent, most of all to those who actually use these spaces, that the benefits go beyond comfort and convenience. The users of these workspaces have access to key advantages over traditional office spaces.
Coworking London
Co-working spaces have, in the past, been primarily associated with startups and other small to medium enterprises, who value the convenience of not having to worry about the details of arranging a sufficiently fast internet connection, or indeed having to expand after a period of business growth. However, larger businesses and corporations have also been taking notice of the advantages available to the users of flexible working spaces.
 
Where these users feel the true benefits lie is in the people they share their space with, especially when co-working spaces take an active role in trying to promote a community atmosphere within the workspace.

The UK’s tech sector is going from strength to strength, growing at more than double the rate of the UK economy last year. Of course, the tech industry also exists outside the bounds of the M25, but the capital is still very much at the centre of it all. The number of small and medium enterprises has increased by over 40% since 2010, with much of this growth in the tech sector.

It’s easy to see why coworking and the tech sector are so closely associated. The flexibility offered by theses spaces dovetails with startups’ often sharp business growth periods. But it’s the collaborative, community focused nature of many of these flexible working spaces that is truly driving business in London.

Working in a well-designed office with a breadth of amenities can make for a happier workforce, and more businesses are taking note of this for the positive effects it has on everything from productivity to employee retention. When companies making use of flexible working spaces find it that much easier to retain the most talented and productive staff, it’s hardly surprising that the UK tech industry is able to maintain such an extended period of growth. 

But it doesn’t stop at the employees; what flexible and co-working spaces offer their users that is absent from traditional offices spaces is the network – the other users who are there to learn and to grow alongside likeminded people. It’s here where the business advantages start to become apparent.
Having access to a wealth of knowledge and expertise – especially in the close confines of a workspace – can be absolutely invaluable to startups and established companies alike. Some workspace providers know this and have actively leaned in to the community aspect of their spaces, encouraging community and communication through events and socials.
London Offices
The community aspect is vital to many flexible workspace users, and it promotes more than a healthy, happy work environment. The community itself can drive innovation and business growth. When a fledgling startup finds itself surrounded by skilled, driven people with a wealth of ideas, that drive can and does diffuse into the surroundings.
Through fostering a culture of knowledge sharing, users of co-working spaces are finding themselves learning along with the people with whom they share a space; and perhaps most importantly, by tapping into the expertise, and making use of the knowledge that’s available, their businesses can grow.
When a business finds itself in need of help or inspiration, with co-working spaces the answer, the skills, or the business connection are so often in the room. Even more so for the flexible working spaces that spread their focus beyond one or two industries.
Flexible office space London
The growth in the UK tech industry in general, and startups in particular shows no sign of abating. According to one study, as many as 40% of the working population could be self-employed, freelance, or working for startups and other SMEs in as few as five years. 
It’s a remarkable prediction, but one that emphasises the inevitability of focus on business networking as the primary driver of growth. Startups and other users of co-working spaces are – for now at least – simply the ones who are sufficiently forward thinking to have capitalised on it.