Author: David Matthews, Partner
Customisation, creativity, and collaboration.
Co-working spaces are a direct response to society’s increasingly agile ways of working. Inspiring, unique, and people-focused, they’re an exciting addition to the workplace sector.
While there’s a strong argument that offices as we know them won’t exist in 30 years’ time, I’d be willing to bet that co-working spaces become the new norm. In fact, co-working providers are rapidly becoming the largest tenants in major cities across the globe.
As workplace specialists, we’ve seen an influx of co-working spaces in the recent years.
It’s a trend that’s grown from the freelance ‘café culture’, with developers acknowledging that people who don’t have office spaces to work in often crave the atmosphere of being around others. The joy of co-working spaces is that they don’t just bring people together – they also cater to people’s personal preferences. An individual has the option to hang out in a communal space and bounce ideas off others, enjoy the quiet of a private room, or even sit and work on their own enjoying the background buzz of other people. It’s all about choice.
From WeWork’s stylish shared workspaces, and the Ministry of Sound’s contemporary club-style hub, to the Incubator building for start-ups, and The Pill Box which houses 100 companies… the co-working projects we’ve been involved in have given us an insight into what these unique spaces require when it comes to building services solutions.
5 key priorities for co-working projects.
1. Heath & wellbeing
If co-working spaces are to demonstrate their advantages over traditional offices, users need to be as productive as possible. … so health & wellbeing has to be our starting point.
Outside of the communal shared spaces, employers want to be able to create custom areas to distinguish their brand and style, and/or cater to their particular type of work. This requires solutions that are adaptable enough to work with any bespoke fit-out features.
3. Future flexibility
The one truth of business is that it’s always changing, so the flexibility for a co-working building to adapt to future demands is vital. Ideally, we should be thinking about solutions that could be quickly and cost-effectively adapted to allow for more complex working environments, such as production facilities and even research labs. Focus should be on the common spaces that can change quickly to reflect the community requirements and trends.
4. Unique architecture
Co-working spaces have to inspire. So it’s no coincidence that the vast majority of clients choose to refurbish existing buildings that come with unique architectural features: whether that’s a change-of-use project for a warehouse or listed heritage building, or the transformation of a ‘60s office. Our solutions have to focus on design and installation aesthetics to authentically showcase each building’s individuality.
5. Standard vs bespoke
All the above considerations mean that clients often have to consider a balance of standard and bespoke solutions. The best service for clients must offer quick-turnaround, proven services solutions, alongside the option for cost-effective – yet utterly bespoke – systems. Intimately understanding industry standards, as well as knowing how to push the boundary and challenge common approaches is where true success lies.