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How can SMEs benefit from a flexible workspace environment?

Written by Richard Morris on Thursday, 11 April 2019. Posted in HR, People

With flexible working becoming increasingly popular, startups must leverage co-working spaces. It’s beneficial for your staff as well as easier on your budget

How can SMEs benefit from a flexible workspace environment?

To many, co-working can seem like a foreign concept, reserved for lone entrepreneurs and the super-creative. But as the concept of flexible working has evolved, today’s co-working spaces have become more than just an office attracting a diverse range of companies in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re looking to run a remote team, build an enterprise or offer greater flexibility and autonomy to employees, flexible workspaces can provide the answer. 

The market is growing rapidly, with some forecasts predicting that up to 30% of corporate real-estate portfolios could be flexible workspace by 2030. But, what does this mean for SMEs looking to take advantage of this growing trend?

(1) A cost-savvy solution for SMEs

Given the rise in real-estate costs, flexible working provides an affordable solution for companies as they continue to grow and build their workforce. Since the financial crisis, access to funding has become a challenge for smaller businesses, creating a barrier for those looking to obtain contracted office space. This is one area where the rise of flexible workspace has been particularly transformative, alleviating the significant financial burdens associated with renting office space in a premium location and levelling the playing field for companies unable to invest in permanent space. 

Flexibility is also a key draw here. Flexible workspace membership agreements give SMEs the ability to scale up and down depending on activity levels. For example, for small-business owners who are looking to expand rapidly during early stages, co-working spaces allow them to take on space as needed until they’re ready to invest in a permanent contract. Furthermore, this agility allows businesses to be close to talent, suppliers and customers when needed.

(2) Creating a culture of collaboration

But flexible working offers more than just attractive and affordable office spaces to smaller businesses. Adopting this way of working also has benefits for employees. For starters, flexible working provides companies with an invaluable culture of collaboration and creativity – something that's essential. 

Sharing office space with everyone from designers and program developers to researchers and marketing experts means that creativity and collaboration comes naturally. From stopping to chat over a morning coffee to networking over after-work drinks, co-working spaces have the potential to open-up new opportunities for businesses looking to build relationships and make new connections.

During the early stages of a company, introductions to new clients or contacts can be vital yet time-consuming. Flexible workspaces remove this burden, allowing businesses to network in the comfort of their own workspace, acting as a prime location for external meetings. As a networking resource, the benefits of co-working spaces are endless.

There is a reason why more and more people are gravitating towards flexible working. This new way of working provides the space for people to come together under one roof, bringing real benefits, particularly for businesses in its early stages. 

About the Author

Richard Morris

Richard Morris

Richard Morris, is the CEO of IWG UK, the international workplace group

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