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The rise of co-working and the future of the workplace in Britain

There’s no doubt that co-working is hugely on the rise across the globe, particularly in cities like London, with a high population of startups and creative young companies. But if you're imagining rows of identikit desks and bland carpets, think again.
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The office as we once knew it is getting a serious makeover. To entice businesses and entrepreneurs to become tenants, co-working spaces are becoming increasingly differentiated and bespoke, offering a range of features and perks, from state-of-the-art gyms and cafes, to more left-field offerings – such as meditation rooms and yoga studios.

Going all out, one startup space in East London recently announced plans to build an indoor lake on its top floor, while another allows tenants to cycle right up to their desks.

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Not just a nine-to-five

In other words, it’s not just the way in which we work, but the places where we work from, that are changing rapidly. A sceptic might argue that this new wave of office buildings is unnecessary and full of gimmicks to get startups handing over their cash, but this is missing the point completely.

For many people, particularly if they’re running or launching their own business, work isn’t nine-to-five drudgery anymore. It’s fun, it’s exciting, definitely at times rather crazy, and companies want their working environment to reflect this.

For example, at Interchange, we’ve worked with the world famous designer Tom Dixon and his team, to ensure the interiors of our Camden space are as creative and innovative as possible – just like our community of startups.

The future of the workplace

But where does the workplace go from here? When flexible working first became popular and tools such as Skype began to be widely used, some predicted the death of the office.

In the future, we would all be working from home, in cafes or remote parts of the world and holding meetings via hologram technology, without having to physically be in the room.

But the reality is, although working remotely and flexibly can be great, it can also be very isolating. People want to work as part of a community or wider team, it’s encouraging, motivating and it can also be essential for growing business in terms of connections and shared ideas.

There has even been quite a bit of news recently about co-living – where affordable accommodation and co-working meet. Imagine that!

Read more on the office environment:

The work-life balance

So maybe co-living isn’t right for everyone but it does hint at the trend that the boundaries between our home and working lives are more fluid than they used to be. Employees and business owners want to work somewhere that fits in with both their private and professional requirements.

Just as many people work from home some of the time, they also want to feel right at home in their office space and have the ability to balance interests such as keeping fit with getting work done and socialising with clients and colleagues after hours.

The future of work is evolving constantly and staying at the forefront of these latest innovations is going to be very interesting – the only real certainty is, it definitely won’t be dull.

If you need further convincing, here are six reasons a creative workspace can play a big role in productivity investment – as revealed by a finance boss. 

Vanessa Butz is the MD of Interchange, a new co-working space for creative companies in the heart of Camden.

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