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Corporate co-working: How big firms can benefit

James Layfield
Co-working spaces can help corporates to reduce their real estate expenditure (Source: Getty)

You may already be familiar with the basic concept of co-working – shared office clubs, which provide businesses with the flexibility to grow at their own pace and a community to readily tap for business leads, assistance and ideas. Once the preserve of freelancers and startups in deepest Shoreditch, today co-working clubs can be found across London, catering for business of all sizes.

Many of the capital’s bigger stalwarts – law firms, banks, tech giants, management consultancies and property developers – are now enjoying the benefits of these spaces, either seconding teams or partnering with co-working providers to open entire offices. And the providers of these spaces are adapting to suit the needs of big business and SMEs alike.

Here’s why large firms need to embrace the age of the corporate co-worker:

Unlocking innovation

No matter your size, innovation is the Holy Grail for today’s businesses, and shared offices are a hotbed of idea sharing and collaboration. Some of the most exciting and innovative startups are based in co-working clubs and large corporates have realised that they’re missing out by secluding themselves within their own ivory towers.

An increasing number of big firms are embedding their in-house innovation teams in shared workspaces, where they can tap into the free exchange of ideas that comes naturally to these communities and showcase their own initiatives at the same time.

The workplace is changing

Reports into the future of the workplace from the likes of PwC predict that technology will empower big business to move away from centralised headquarters and instead opt for more remote working from an extended network of hubs. This is expected to boost productivity by cutting commute times, and will also have bottom-line benefits for corporates by allowing them to reduce their real estate expenditure.

Appealing to the best talent

Flexibility is frequently cited as the biggest non-numeration benefit for employees, particularly millennials. It’s important to appeal to talent in this increasingly critical cohort, who are now transitioning into key management positions. Providing employees with beautifully designed hubs, alive with ideas and a sense of community, does wonders for productivity and wellbeing too, as well as being hugely inspiring for existing and prospective clients.

Maintaining flexibility

Co-working clubs allow companies to grow or contract at short notice, instead of negotiating long-term property leases months in advance. This has always appealed to startups, whose size can change within a fortnight, and it’s also an attractive proposition for bigger corporates, which need to be more nimble than ever when it comes to resourcing.

Firms relying on project teams consisting of seconded staff or consultants need to quickly draft in expertise to turn an innovation into reality. Co-working provides a space that can adapt with the size of a team, without the need to continuously go back to the negotiating table.

Power of community

The best shared workspace providers take an active hand in the communities they’ve built, to foster the exchange of ideas and business leads.

These communities are curated – consisting of professionals who actively want to help each other. They should be the envy of all businesses, big and small.