The media is awash with references to Millennials and how they’re changing the world of work. They’ve certainly be heralded as the ‘bringers of change’, with their need for independence, mobility and flexibility driving a new paradigm in workplace relationships, spatial design and business culture.
The perfect example of this new way of working is the arrival and popularity of flexible co-working spaces. This is more than just paying to use a desk in a generic office while in the capital for the day (which is referred to as serviced office working) – this is about businesses embracing the flexibility and dynamism that co-working spaces allow.
The arrival of companies such as We Work – which offers engaging shared workspace, community, and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and small businesses, is case in point and showcases just how seismic the shift is.
Where once the only workplace option was to invest a sizeable sum in the lease of an ‘owned’ office, businesses can now reap the benefits of shared co-operative type spaces. Firstly, these businesses don’t have a fixed cost on their bottom line, nor are they searching for properties, negotiating leases or paying for fit-outs. Instead they’re letting their people work alongside other like-minded people and businesses, sharing skills and enjoying the purpose-made, well designed, dynamic and mobile-ready environments on offer.
It’s an interesting idea and its value is clear. A construction firm delivering a two-year project in a city would be well placed to take advantage of a more cooperative and shared space, rather than taking a dedicated office with a fixed lease and all that comes with it. A creative agency just starting out might prefer to use a co-working space to create the right entrepreneurial environment for its team and to put colleagues alongside potential clients and partner agencies.
We’re sure to see more of this as businesses look for ways to reap the productivity and recruitment benefits of occupying dynamic and well-designed environments, without any of the commitment or capital expenditure.
Millennials are thought to be the most flighty of all generations, refusing to settle for the status quo and favouring sociability, community, collaboration and mentoring. Co-working spaces put ticks against all the wants of Millennials and give businesses a new and exciting opportunity to network, develop skills and identify new talent too.