The growth of shared, flexible urban workspaces for start-ups and SMEs is now a very visible feature of British cities. In London there were around 132 co-working operators in 2014, and this has grown to over 150 in 2018, with 7.5% of all leases in 2017 taken up by co-working operators. Indeed, more than 21% of all commercial offices leases in Central London in 2017 were for co-working spaces.
For many start-ups and SMEs the flexibility, all inclusive cost and locations are the big attractions. From my own experience I know that there are numerous costs associated with renting your own dedicated office that become an uncomfortable burden, whether it be repairs and redecoration, business rates, cleaning through to dedicated high speed internet connectivity. More than this though, co-working spaces increasingly reflect a new interpretation of working, enabling an organisation to have a shared space that enables staff to work remotely and yet still be part of a team, to share communal space with other like-minded organisations and to enjoy a better location and facilities that would not normally be available to a smaller business.
The Harvard Business Review studied the co-working phenomenon to try to understand why people thrive more in such spaces when compared to people who work in regular offices. They identified the following three key features:
People who use cowering spaces see their work as meaningful. Unlike a traditional office, co-working spaces consist of members who work for a range of different companies, ventures and projects. Because there is little direct competition or internal politics they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in. Working amidst people doing different kinds of work can make one’s own work identity stronger. Meaning may also come from working in a culture where it is the norm to help each other out.
People have more job control. Co-Working spaces are usually available 24/7, people can choose to when and how to work, within a framework that allows them to structure their personal and professional lives to achieve the greatest level of productivity.
People feel part of a community. Connections with others are a big reason why people pay to work in a communal space, as opposed to working from home for free or renting a nondescript office. Co-working spaces expend great effort in developing their own vibe to help cultivate a unique experience that meets the needs of their respective members.
Perhaps the most important facet of the co-working revolution is the sense that members are joining up to a social movement. The ‘Co-Working Manifesto’, an online document signed by more than 1,700 operators identifies the values of this movement as ‘Community, Collaboration, Learning and Sustainability’.
‘Coworking is redefining the way we do work. Inspired by the participatory culture of the open source movement and the empowering nature of IT, we are building a more sustainable future.’
Co-working as a social movement; helping to build a smarter world, supporting sustainable development and with socially inclusive values is a pretty cool motivating factor for members. As part of this mission, co-working operators need to actively encourage the use of smart, low polluting, sustainable forms of transit to members and encourage them to ditch their cars.
PassageWay real-time digital wayfinding and smart mobility signs provide a simple solution to help Co-working operators promote sustainability, congestion and pollution reduction. PassageWay real-time digital wayfinding and smart mobility signs display real-time, really local transit and wayfinding information, curated for the co-working specific location. PassageWay not only draws real-time information across the entire Transport for London network, including bus, bike, tube, train, tram and boat but also displays any travel alerts that are applicable to a specific location.
Suitable for virtually any sized screen with a broadband Internet connection with a modern browser, PassageWay automatically updates 24/7 with no human intervention, displaying real-time data for the local smarter transport options chosen for the precise location. PassageWay offers free standard signs with options available for customisation and ad-free versions. Passageway real-time digital wayfinding and smart mobility signs provide a simple, robust solution to encourage the use of sustainable commercial and public transport.