By RUTH LYNCH
What do General Electric, KPMG and The Guardian all have in common? The answer is that all three have tapped into the benefits that co-working spaces can bring to a big business.
They’re not alone. The right co-working space can provide precisely the right environment to gain fresh perspectives, to connect, and for employees to thrive. Far from being the preserve of startups, this is exactly the type of vibe that global brands can benefit from, too.
Here’s a closer look at why co-working setups are proving to be such a hit with bigger players…
“People open the door and say ‘we need to open a bank account’”. Speaking to Bloomberg, this was how one KPMG practitioner describes working alongside up-and-coming businesses.
The global accountancy giant embeds fee earners in co-working spaces inhabited by the precisely the type of client the firm is seeking to attract. By renting 75 desks at a tech-oriented business centre in Manhattan for instance, it means that experts in startup advice and tech innovation are on hand to give ad-hoc advice. The rationale is that the up-and-coming entrepreneur in need of a ‘quick chat’ today could well become the lucrative longstanding client of tomorrow.
Extending your reach in a crowded marketplace is tough, with the possibility of blowing big money in vain on marketing efforts. Take the example of a law firm seeking to build up its technological IP practice; in the long-run, a co-working presence in an Old Street hub could turn out to be a much more fruitful strategy than yet another expensive ad campaign.
The bigger the business, the easier it is for a goldfish bowl mentality to develop. Holed up in one place – perhaps with a floor plan that directly mirrors the company’s hierarchy, it can be a case of everyone quite literally ‘knowing their place’.
In a co-working environment by contrast, that corporate bubble can be markedly less intense – not least because going to work means routinely rubbing shoulders with people from outside of the company. After all, getting pre-occupied with office politics is far less interesting than making connections with the wider community around you.
One only has to look at some of London’s best serviced offices to see why they can offer a fitting home-from-home for a global business. Far from being anonymous workstations in out-of-the-way locations, the modern co-working space typically consists of a personality-packed, thoughtfully-designed hub. 24/7 access, hassle-free connectivity and meeting rooms on site mean that big businesses know that their employees have everything they need to operate effectively.
From the point of view of employees, the amenities and overall vibe on offer at many of these spots are another big draw. Quirky roof gardens, signature breakout spaces, a central location: the old corporate HQ might look positively humdrum in comparison.
Being seconded to a co-working space certainly need not feel like being ‘banished’. Rather, the promise of access to these hubs could and should be seen as a definite bonus – and definitely as something for companies to highlight when trying to tempt top talent into the organisation.
When The City of London Corporation looked at the profile of agile occupiers in the heart of London, it noted a strong emphasis on well-established corporates.
Take for example, an overseas company looking to establish a physical foothold in a new market – or a global player with a temporary need for extra space for a project. In each of these cases, co-working offices could be a highly attractive solution.
On the costs side, flexibility is another major draw. In an uncertain climate, entering into a long-term commitment on a lease may seem like a risky strategy. Monthly contracts and ‘all-in’ service costs can be as reassuring for global corporates as they are for SMEs.
Are you ready to explore the possibilities of co-working offices? For impartial advice from an agency that acts exclusively for occupiers, begin your serviced office space search today.
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