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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?
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.
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.