The rising popularity of coworking spells good things for London’s serviced office market.
What is coworking?
Let’s start with what coworking isn’t. Coworking is not corporate, in the traditional sense. Neither is it isolationist or inward-looking. Coworking is about collaboration and productivity. Walk into this coworking space in Moorgate and expect to be treated to purified water and beer…on tap- and not just on Fridays.
Offices certainly aren’t what they used to be. It seems like nowadays, everything is designed with the individual in mind, from the the way the spaces are curated, to the personal touches and perks that make them truly unique.
Successful coworking providers such as WeWork and Work.Life have created an identity which is channeled into each of their centres. It’s not just about the branding, it’s about user experience too. People are savvy and the bar has most definitely been raised.
Fore Street, Moorgate EC2
This centre is as much a social hub as it is a working space.
What’s life like in a coworking office?
We caught up with Deepak Ravindran, CEO and Co-founder at OddBox, the startup who deliver wonky fruit and veg to homes and businesses. Oddbox are currently coworking at Impact Hub in Brixton, South East London.
Deepak explains that there are three main benefits to coworking:
“1. Accountability: I have tried working from the kitchen before but it is a lonely place. It just doesn’t work. Working in a coworking space on the other hand gives you accountability as you talk to and work alongside other entrepreneurs. It helps add a certain structure to your day.”
“2. Networking: Via in-house networking events you meet people who are beneficial to your business from graphic design to sales opportunities. You also hear about other events, meetups etc. while talking to people. Coworking water cooler conversations are never mindless gossip!”
“3. Psychological boost: As an entrepreneur you go through massive ups and downs on a day to day basis. Working in a place and talking to others who go through the same journey makes you feel a certain kinship and opens your mind to the fact that you are not alone! This keeps you going on ‘down’ days!”
Deepak at work in Brixton
Why is coworking proving successful in the capital?
Initially, the coworking model only really proved popular with startups looking to collaborate and freelancers needing a constructive place to work. Now, corporations are getting in on the action too, swapping suits for casual wear and switching boardrooms for creative zones. KPMG, Microsoft and HSBC are among some of the blue chip companies getting involved.
Why? For two main reasons really: talent and image. For starters, surrounding yourself with young techs and entrepreneurs gives you a rich pool of talent to draw from when recruiting. Moreover, what better way to gain an understanding of your target market than working alongside them and immersing yourself in their culture?
Many blue chips are aware that their image doesn’t always resonate with younger generations; buying into the coworking concept can help them to to shift people’s perceptions. In short, they become innovative and cool as opposed to corporate and unapproachable.
These figures put the London shared office space market into perspective:
According to Capital Economics, London is the largest market in the world for serviced offices, with approximately £16bn of space in total
Shared offices (or coworking) have acquired 900 000 sq ft/ 8% of newly occupied space over the last five years
The UK capital gets the most enquiries: almost 50% of all UK queries in 2016 were from prospective London tenants
Last year, the number of operating serviced offices in the capital was at an all time high, with 333 in Central London and 720 in London on the whole (based on SOS data)
What does the future hold for coworking?
Coworking is undoubtedly an ambitious sector. According to the Coworking Survey 2016 forecast, 79% of spaces planned to expand, with 14% looking to acquire more space within the building- a significant 43% with brand new locations. 88% anticipated getting more members, 72% hoped to host more events and 84% to generate more income. Let’s see what happens in the coming this year…
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Are you interesting in renting a coworking space? Browse our site or call us on 08005244118 to explore our locations.