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Designing a Productive Office Space

coworking, hot desking, offices September 14, 2017


by Lillian Connors

There are many things to think about when designing an office space. Aesthetics, function and safety have to come together to create a perfect environment for all employees. It can influence motivation, loyalty and productivity of the entire work staff.

Of course, the design cannot be randomly based on latest trends and what’s known to influence mindsets the most, it has to reflect the company’s purpose and goal. Modern tech companies have to embrace design concepts that encourage creativity and freedom of thought, but that are not too distracting. In order to achieve this, here’s what you need to know about designing a productive office space for a tech company.

Choice of color

Colors and various color combinations can have a big influence on the mood and behavior of people. Since you need your employees to be motivated above anything else, you’ll need to apply this theory to your office design.

The base color of your walls and floors should always be something non-intrusive. White is a good choice for tech companies, though it can also backfire since some people consider it to be too sterile and bland. Whatever you decide, the base color should be kept within the range of light pastel tones that give off an airy and spacious feeling. You don’t want your employees to feel suffocated by extremely strong and dark tones.

Striking nuances should be used for details. The base color should be mild, whereas the primary one should leave an impression. Red is an excellent choice for tech companies – an aggressive color for an aggressive industry that requires its employees to be relentless and ready to evolve. It’s an invigorating color that increases motivation and it combines well with blue or green.

On the one hand, green is a color associated with freshness and harmony, which can mean a lot in an environment in which employees have to relax from time to time. However, it might be too organic for a tech company – blue can also have a calming effect and it also gives off a formal, analytical vibe. Using a comprehensive paint colour chart will give you a much clearer picture how each colour will look on a wall when combined with your office furniture.

Lighting and layout

Lights should not be the focal point of your office design. In fact, you should avoid over-designed lighting fixtures altogether. Instead, choose something bright and unobtrusive, something that will liven up the atmosphere in the office – LED lights can be bright and they are also energy efficient. Light needs to upgrade the room naturally and not serve as a centerpiece of its design.

The layout will depend heavily on the type of company you are running. Neighborhood design is a perfect option for tech companies, since it combines two opposing designs – cubicles and open concept offices. Private areas are reserved for more complex tasks whereas the open space serves as a sort of a hub for employees, where they can exchange ideas, be social and execute more informal tasks.

Of course, this all has to be done according to basic safety precautions and rules. You need to design a place that will allow you to move quickly in case of an emergency. Having personally tailored emergency evacuation diagrams can be very helpful. You should also include emergency evacuation lighting systems, fire extinguishers and blankets, fire hydrant systems, doors, hose reels and indicator panels, emergency intercommunication systems, etc.

Office plants

Adding some plant life to your office is a perfect design choice – the environment will become more lively and less stressful. These plants can also contribute to the overall air quality and boost productivity. The science community has found that the presence of plants promotes positive brain stimuli in people, and workers are no different, even though their attention is focused elsewhere.

A good design in your tech company offices is not a factor to be underestimated. It can have an incredible impact on the productivity of your employees in the long run. The design should also be discreet in many ways, as the attention of everyone needs to be focused on work. This also goes for safety measures and obligatory emergency elements that should blend in with the environment.


About the author

Lillian ConnorsIf one thing is true about Lillian Connors, her mind is utterly curious. That’s why she constantly embarks on a different home and office improvements and spreads the word about them. You can check her out on Twitter and LinkedIn.



Ten Reasons to Celebrate Freelancing

freelancing, remote working, work at home June 15, 2017


by Clair Chaytors

Recent employment statistics reveal that, out of a record 4.63 million self-employed in the UK, around 1.9 million of these people are estimated to be freelancers! The freelancing route has indeed become one of the most popular ways to work in the twenty-first century.

A huge amount of negativity continues to shroud freelancing, yet is too often based on incorrect perceptions. For those of us riding this exciting career path, there are many positive aspects that never seem to get the exposure they deserve. So, here are ten advantages to bucking the norm and choosing the alternative route of freelancing:

1. Freelancers are their own boss

What many employees can only dream about, for freelancers it’s a reality. You are your own boss; you have no-one to report to and no-one to answer to. You will never again be overlooked for promotion and your hard work will no longer go unnoticed. You have made it; the only limits now are the ones you choose to place on yourself.

2. Freelancers do not face the dreaded commute

That time wasting, long-winded commute back and forth to the office every working day no longer applies when you are freelance. There is no reliance on late and overcrowded public transport. Being able to organise your own work day, and ultimately dropping the commute, means freelancers often achieve a couple of valuable working hours each morning, before most employees have even set foot in the office!

3. Freelancers choose their own desk space

Most freelancers thrive on mixing up their desk location. Whilst some prefer to make home their base, with the garden popular during the warmer months, others alternate between a string of coffee shops or even scenic park benches! Then there are the numerous hot desking and co-working opportunities that recognise the growing demand for creative freedom, as opposed to static working.

4. Freelancers don’t partake in office politics

There is no place for office politics in the world of freelancing. A water cooler or coffee break becomes exactly that; a five-minute drink. Freelancers are never dragged into petty squabbles and neither must suffer the morale crushing frustration at others who don’t pull their weight in the workplace. A freelancer learns in the very early stages of their career that time is a precious commodity, after all time is money, and therefore they use it wisely.

5. Freelancers are multitalented

Freelancers automatically become savvy in finance, payroll, administration, HR, sales, purchasing and IT. With no support or backup team you have to learn a multitude of skills, some that you were quite possibly oblivious to before becoming freelance. Because of this, many freelancers are fully self-sufficient, acquiring a vast amount of all-round experience and knowledge that looks great on their résumé!

6. Freelancers embrace new technology

All freelancers need to be tech savvy to survive in the current technological advanced climate, and most welcome new technology with open arms. With a wealth of programs, applications and equipment readily available on the market, technology makes freelancing so much easier and, as a result, you ensure you make good use of what is readily available and relevant to your own circumstances.

7. Freelancers are made of pure grit and determination

When you freelance, you fully understand that you take this journey alone, with no visible safety net. Yet, this mere thought is the driving force that you thrive on. You know that possibilities exist and you seek them, learning essential survival skills as you go along. As a freelancer, you learn to fight against the negativity and relinquish the chance to prove the haters wrong! Your success is your own responsibility – and you never take any of it for granted.

8. Freelancers grow in confidence with every successful contract

Freelancers do not receive a payslip, neither does a monthly wage appear in their account at the end of each calendar month. The pride you feel when you do receive payment though, means so much more than any assumed automatic payment. To a freelancer, payment received signals completion of a successful contract, all your own doing. The feeling of satisfaction is immense, as is the realisation that this is the path on which you truly belong.

9. Freelancers are social butterflies

Freelancers get out into the world and make contacts – that’s how they survive. Not only does this involve meeting a vast number of clients, but also a whole new community of fellow workers! When you freelance, you connect with other freelancers from all walks of life and creative sectors, many whom you would never have crossed paths with before going freelance. Hot desking and co-working creates an abundance of networking opportunities with like-minded people who inspire, offer advice and experience and even the possibility of valuable contacts.

10. Freelancers see the world of work differently

Some people believe that freelancers hate organised corporations, such is they have turned their back on working in these environments. Nothing could be further from the truth; in fact, freelancing opens your eyes and makes you appreciate the hard work such organisations dedicate to achieve their goals. Freelancers understand the commitment that is needed to run any business and, as a result, respect them a great deal more in return as they work alongside them.

So, calling all fellow freelancers; let’s blow our own trumpets, print off those business cards and create those attention seeking websites. Why shouldn’t we show potential freelancers, and indeed the future generation, that the Monday to Friday nine til five slog is no longer the only working route available? It’s about time that we changed perceptions; after all, those 1.9 million people can’t all be wrong…


About the author

Clair-Chaytors-bookwormmummyClair Chaytors is a freelance writer, specialising in digital content. Clair has been freelancing since 2015 after leaving the 9-to-5 of the financial world. You can find Clair on the web at Bookwormmummy.com where she likes to review books. She’s also active on Twitter where you can find her as @clair_louise80.

Home truths – Problems working from home

coworking, remote working, work at home May 31, 2017

You hear a lot about the benefits of working from home, and they are real. However, working from home comes with a some challenges as well. This blog highlights a business at home is not without problems. Here is a list of the top conflicts that you might experience while working at home:

1. Working too much i.e longer hours

In theory, staying home means fewer hours devoted to work. You won’t spend any time commuting and if you get your tasks done quickly, you don’t have to keep working for the rest of the day, correct?

In reality, you may find that you work more at home because you find it difficult to switch and this is where the line between work and family sometimes crosses. There is always the temptation to work long hours that may be difficult to resist, like checking and answering emails after dinnertime. Instead of spending quality time with the rest of the family, a home based businessperson sometimes falls into the trap of being consumed with work. They do not know when to stop.

work work gif

2. Putting on weight

When the fridge is only a few steps away, your day can easily turn into a grazefest. Got to keep your energy up?


3. Lack of Self-discipline or self-management.

You may feel smug as you watch people trudge through the cold and rain to the bus stop. Then enjoy your five second commute down the corridor in your pyjamas. But some people like the structure that getting properly dressed in a morning gives them.

Your productivity as a home-based worker may go up or down, depending on your self-discipline. Working on your own business at home means that you are boss – there are no codes of conduct to follow, no weekly performance reports to keep you in tow and no formal office routine.

Others find that they are spending way too much time watching television, or they are having a hard time getting out of bed. If you fail to maintain a certain level of discipline, compounded by ineffective time management, it will be hard to accomplish your goals.

self discipline

4. Chores aren’t a chore

Start-up home based entrepreneurs find that the main advantage of a work-at-home business – to be near family – can be a disadvantage as well. Daily household routine can be a source of distraction for your business. Instead of answering emails, for example, you feel compelled to do the laundry.

If you have kids, then your work-at-home life becomes even more exciting. Try closing an important deal over the phone with your customer while your one-year old child cries his heart out – in your home office!

Given the fact that your two roles are under one roof – being a parent, for example, and being a businessperson – expect to experience difficulties in juggling the demands of both home and business.

chores gif

5. Feeling isolated

With no co-employees or bosses hovering in your workplace, the start-up home businessperson often finds it difficult to adjust in a solitary work environment. Suddenly, the whole work has become so quiet – no more exchanging weekend stories, or exchanging jokes near the coffee machine.  The natural collaboration and exchange of ideas that happens in a office can be important.


6. Working outdoors isn’t as great as it sounds

You make sure you post a sun-drenched social media image of your outdoor laptop and refreshing drink combo every time the weather hits double figures. In reality though, wasps, sunburn and the annoying glare on your screen usually makes you pack up and head back indoors pretty sharpish.

working outside gif

7. Technology develops a devious sixth sense

Important Skype call with a client looming? On a deadline and need to email a document RIGHT THIS MINUTE? Your internet connection will choose that very moment to start playing up.

internet gif

8. You do actually get work done!

Despite what some might think, your home can give you a focused, interruption-free, creative environment that means you’re at optimum productivity. However, other people won’t take you seriously.

The common concern of most home based business owners is whether their clients will consider their business a substantial one. Since home businesses are often regarded as “little hobbies,” their professional image and credibility normally suffers. Worse, they are not taken seriously! Home business owners should therefore project a professional business image.

not taken seriously gif

9. More Interruptions

You start a home business, supposedly to be able to work from home — only to find that you cannot work from home! One reality home-based entrepreneurs are faced with is the fact that it is not easy to work from home. You might think you will have fewer interruptions at home than in a busy office, but that’s not always the case. For example:

  • The pet will need to be let out for a comfort break
  • You have forgot to put the garbage out when you hear the truck coming
  • You have unexpected visitors

Many entrepreneurs find that it takes a strong commitment, creativity in juggling various roles and tasks, and willingness to work beyond normal working hours to be able to successfully work from home.

The home is a fertile ground for interruptions. Your family and kids may demand your attention, you have housework that needs doing, dogs barking, even the daytime soap operas!

Working at home is especially tough if you have a baby or very small children who demand your full and complete attention. Or you simply are not used to the isolation and freedom working from home brings that you think you need to take a course first on time management to be able to work effectively from your home.


The best way to overcome this is rent a hot desk or coworking space. Check spaces available on Deskonnect.

How to Rent a Desk: Five Tips to Get You Started

coworking, freelancing, hot desking, remote working, work at home April 21, 2017

rent a desk

It has never been easier to rent a desk space. Coworking and hot desking spaces are opening almost on a daily basis all across the world, so the ability to rent a desk to sit at and get stuck into whatever it is you need to do, is relatively easy.
What’s less easy is finding the right place for you. Here are our five best tips to help you rent a desk that’s right for you.

1. Rent a desk in the right location.

This might seem an obvious tip, but you’ve got to make sure that any coworking space that you’re going to commute to, even just a few times a week, is located somewhere that will be beneficial to you. A great coworking space that takes two hours of public transport to reach every day might not be the best location, unless it’s offering something that you can’t get elsewhere – like being next door to your biggest client. Similarly, a shared office space at the end of your street may also not be the right place for you. There are a lot of variables.
Look around at the list of available coworking spaces and see how far they are from your home. Look also at areas that might take you closer to your clients, or to people that you already collaborate with. Consider each space individually. Look at commute times, what it will cost you to get there, and what people or clients might be close by. What are the pros and cons of the location of each space. Make a list.
Once you can see all the factors in a comparable list, you can make your choice. Deciding to rent a desk in a great looking place that’s in the wrong location could prove costly.
Which leads us nicely to our second tip.

2. Look for a flexible plan.

If you’re new to coworking and hot desking, it’s not a great idea to fully commit to rent a desk until you’re absolutely happy that it’s the right place for you. Lots of spaces will have flexible terms, allowing you to use the space for a low number of days per month, or to switch plans easily if you need to. Look for a plan that will allow you to rent a desk in their space a few times, preferably for full days, until you can be sure it’s the right space for you.

3. Check the price.

Again, an obvious tip, but there are large differences in pricing between city-centre locations and more suburban or regional settings. Look at the cost of each coworking space and judge what you’re getting against the commute time and cost. In tandem with the need to look for a flexible plan, be aware of what the other plan or membership levels cost, in case you need to switch at some point should your usage need to go up or down.

4. Facilities.

Most modern freelance office spaces are equipped with fast broadband and wifi facilities, as well as the basic things you need, like comfortable chairs and sturdy desks.
What you may not consider at first sight are equally important aspects of the facilities like, what are the toilets and washrooms like? Can you get a shower if you bring your bicycle to work? Is there a place to heat or cook food at lunchtime? And most importantly, is the coffee free?
When you call a coworking space to enquire, ask if you can visit and get a tour of the facility. You can then get a good look round and judge the standard of facilities for yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask about anything that you see – there’s no such thing as a stupid question.

5. Rent a desk that lets you network.

One of the main benefits you get when you rent a desk in a coworking space is the ability to network with other people like you. Because the space can be full of freelancers, it’s a great way to connect with other people, often running their own businesses and to collaborate on projects you never thought you’d have access to.
When you go to see a new space, ask about the other occupants and try to get introduced to a few. Find out what sectors the people work in and whether much in the way of collaboration happens between coworkers.
You’ll very quickly get a feel for the networking opportunities and how the other users of the space might relate to you and your projects.

Finding the right coworking space to rent a desk in doesn’t need to be difficult. The growth in the number of spaces means that there is more choice now than ever before and in this case, the more choice the better.

To see what’s available, search our listings and rent a desk in the right place.

Coworking Versus Renting: A Quick Look at the Maths

coworking, freelancing, work at home March 30, 2017

coworking versus renting

In this post, I thought I should write about coworking versus renting from a purely financial point of view, to reflect on how the numbers stacked up when I first looked around for an office and why coworking versus renting turned out to be a no-brainer for me.
If you’ve read some of my earlier blog posts about how Deskonnect started, you’ll know that it came about as a result of looking for a place to work that allowed me to leave the house each day and ‘go to work’.

At the time, I started looking for an office to rent, with the idea that I might persuade one of my freelancer friends to share it with me and split the costs. Although there were quite a few options around, the maths quickly didn’t add up. The cheapest space I could find was just over £300 per month to rent, but that was before I had added rates, utilities and broadband charges.

A quick mental calculation made me change my mind about finding an office of my own. With basic rent of £300, I would need to allow for additional costs of £50 per month for electricity and heating (quite likely more), and another £50 per month for broadband and line rental – double that if I wanted the fastest line available. On top of that, add 20% VAT, and running the gauntlet of qualifying for small business rates relief. That meant that even before considering the impact of any rates, I would have to find over £500 every month, just to keep the lights on. I don’t know about you, but I can still recall painful months when I didn’t manage to invoice as much £500.

For some freelancers and business owners, that doesn’t sound like a lot of money. In some sectors, the day rate means you can earn that in your first working day each month. Sady not in my main sector though.

It then also occurred to me that a great many tenancy contracts come with almost punitive rental agreement terms, that would make me liable for insurance and repairs for whatever building I rented. This is an open-ended risk that no microbusiness in my position would take on. When I spoke to the agents and made it clear that the landlord would be responsible for repairs and insurance of any building I agreed to rent (not contents, I’m not that mean), every single one of them looked at me like I had horns. ‘That’s just not how it’s done’, one rather condescending agent tried to point out.

That was the last straw. Dedicated accommodation for my one-person business wasn’t going to happen. The coworking versus renting equation had been proved. It was work from home, or find another company willing to rent me a space. Luckily, my search ended when I found a great coworking space in Prestwick, where I work alongside a great bunch of people. The maths showed that for a microbusiness, renting property makes no sense unless you have enough turnover to be careless about what you pay out.

Coworking versus renting is a question many freelancers struggle with but the maths make it clear. If you can rent a coworking desk for between £150 and £350 per month depending upon your location, renting an office makes no sense unless you absolutely have to have a dedicated place to bring clients and trade from. For the average microbusiness or freelancer, looking a coworking versus renting is likely to save you a minimum of 50-60% of the cost of having your own place. A saving that can’t be ignored.

Coworking versus renting? Coworking for me every time.

6 Secrets: Using Co-Working Spaces for Small Business Startups and Creating Successful Products

coworking, entrepreneurship, startup March 6, 2017

Coworking is a truly global phenomenon. Worldwide we’re seeing coworking spaces and communities springing up, making working life better and more productive for microbusinesses, remote workers and startups everywhere. So, when Usman Khan got in touch with us from Karachi in Pakistan, we jumped at the chance to find out about coworking around the world and his secrets for coworking success in Pakistan.

Over to you Usman.


Sharedesk coworking

Sharedesk, Karachi

by Usman Khan, of Sharedesk in Karachi

Can you picture a co-working space? Young motivated people sitting on couches with a laptop and a cup of coffee, either as a team or as individuals. Isn’t this a perfect place for a startup? Indeed, it is. As a startup, you’re short of money, space and knowledge. A co-working space can inevitably present great benefits to a startup, such as getting assistance in decision making and a well-settled workspace. But, how can the startups utilize it?

Here are 6 secret ways that startup businesses can use co-working spaces to emerge victorious.

Make connections and build a network

Do you know the key to a successful startup business? It’s networking. In order to become successful, you have to communicate your product to your target customers, spread the news about it, meet clients and acquire feedback.

But, how can you use a co-working space for networking? Co-working spaces are friendly places where you’ll discover like-minded, passionate and dexterous people who work hard for online marketing. You can use them to network your products. Moreover, there are many other people of different fields working right there. You can establish good connections with them which will naturally help you your business flourish.

Work at any time of the day

Each and every individual has a time when he is more productive than the others. Moreover, some office professionals also tend to work more, outside of normal business hours. Are you one of them? You can use co-working spaces to define your own easy time schedules.

Make your clients happy

Have you ever met your clients at the coffee shop for meetings? Doesn’t it look awkward? I’m sure it does. In the worst cases, it may even result in loss of customers. When you’re using a co-working space, you can utilize its facilities to conduct your meetings in conference rooms. It will leave a better, long-lasting impression on your clients and it will surely make them happy.

Quickly start a fully functional service

If you don’t have enough money to buy an office or to house your team members, don’t worry. Co-working spaces are fully equipped with amenities such as spacious conference rooms, lounges with comfortable sofas, mailboxes, Wi-Fi facilities and recreational areas. You can even get premium facilities, for example, top-class ergonomic furniture. You can easily set your startup without hassling to set up an office.

Utilize available talent

Don’t have enough cash to establish a team for your business? Do you need a business professional for assistance? Do you want to access freelancers?  Co-working spaces are the best place to build relationships which can assist you in establishing your business. Here you can find freelancers for those tasks which you can’t do on your own such as web design and online marketing. You’ll have the professionals within your reach to discuss the solutions to mutual challenges and the business plan with them. You’ll find talented people from a variety of different businesses and fields to help you in any problem.

Foster creativity and productivity

Do you feel distracted while working at home? In a co-working space you’ll have a dedicated workspace which is away from all the distractions. You’ll boost your own creativity and tend to think productively. You’ll have the facility of cozy couches and plush chairs to sit down and enhance your thinking skills.

Are you ready to join a co-working environment? They provide cost-effective solutions which attract the young business person towards it. They will surely prove to be effective for your startup business.


About the author

Usman Khan is a digital marketer from Karachi and has his own digital agency. He also has extensive experience in providing blogs and quality content. He offers a shared office in Karachi so that startups and freelancers can work privately in a co-working space.

Working from Home: Better by Design?

freelancing, remote working, work at home February 20, 2017

working from home

In some of our previous posts we highlighted the number of microbusinesses in the UK. They make up over 95% of the registered businesses, providing over 30% of all UK employment. That’s a staggering set of figures but what’s even more staggering is the numbers of people working from home.

The latest available figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated the number of people working from home at over 4.2 million in the UK. This is a steep rise from 2.9 million in 1998 (Home workers rates and levels: Jan to Mar 2015, released April 2016).

Why then, do we not see huge leaps forward in making working from home easier through design? Housebuilders seem to have missed this entirely. They continue to shoehorn as many boxes onto the same piece of land as possible, with little regard to how some of their prospective buyers need to use the home.

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to attend a fascinating seminar and discussion session organised by Can Do Places. They’re a great nurturing network trying to make workplaces and communities more enterprising, through coworking spaces and community benefits. At the session, we met Dr Frances Holliss, an architect and Emeritus Professor at the Cass School of Architecture at the London Metropolitan University. Dr Holliss gave us an interesting talk on how homeworking was once the norm with most homes having integral workspaces. The industrial revolution and changes in the culture of work changed this, but we may be coming full circle again.

The number of people working from home seems to be rising faster than ever before. But mainstream housebuilders don’t seem to be designing modern homes to cater for this way of living. Most modern housing is designed almost exclusively as living spaces, leading to conflicts in the way that the spaces are used. Bedrooms become offices, hallways become warehouses.

So the question I ask myself is: when will we see innovative design to accommodate working from home as a mainstream consideration in housebuilding? Will the big builders ever pay attention? Can working from home be better by and through, design. The answer is undoubtedly yes, but when?

When you think about it, coworking is a direct result of this situation. Many homeworkers, myself included, reached the point where working at home could no longer be sustained. This is either through workload or family pressure, but is primarily because the home is not designed for working.

Let us know your thoughts. It’s a massive subject and we’re keen to find out what others think.

If you’d like to know more about some of Dr Holliss’ work, take a look at these great links:

Coworking Spaces Are Evolving: What Does the Future Hold?

coworking, freelancing, hot desking February 2, 2017

coworking spaces

Relatively speaking, coworking spaces are still in their infancy and many people still aren’t aware that they are an option. Most major cities have many spaces already but not all cities and countries have embraced coworking yet. For many location-independent workers, coffee shops are still the workplace of choice.

Who Uses Coworking Spaces?

The answer might surprise you. Writers, coders, graphic artists, freelancers, remote workers, startup founders and virtual assistants – to name just a few – are all finding that coworking spaces are an amazing way to work, collaborate and fight isolation.

What’s In Store For Coworking Spaces In 2017?

The future of coworking spaces is exciting. The biggest surge we’re likely to see is in networking. As more and more types of workers like artists, founders, marketers and engineers, begin using these spaces there will be more collaboration and networking; more cooperation and relationship-building.

Coworking spaces will evolve to meet workers’ needs just as they have appeared to meet a demand, but one thing is for sure, they will continue to become more inviting and offer a more comprehensive range of services and amenities.

Right now most coworking spaces offer individual work areas, conference rooms, enclosed spaces for things like video conferencing or recording space for podcasts and video creation, whiteboards and projectors. This is in addition to wifi, fax machines and copy machines. These are fairly standard, but what we will see in 2017 is a workspace that allows people to collaborate on projects, and which also encourages more time spent with offerings such as cafes, lounge areas, entertainment, outdoor space and more. Retail shops will appear and coworking spaces will begin to appear and evolve in living areas, such as apartment buildings. This will create the ability to truly work, eat, sleep, shop and gather, all in the same space.

People who use coworking spaces are often interested in self-improvement and maintaining a lifestyle. Being aware of this means offering fitness centers and other services, meetups and even courses and seminars that are of interest to this specific group of people.

Coworking Spaces Are Targeting Niches

More and more now, we’re seeing coworking spaces that specialize, for example tech startup spaces, or spaces with 3D printing facilities for product development and rapid prototyping. It’s only a matter to time until we also see women-only coworking spaces, and supportive workspaces for specific industries, such as engineering and green business.

The motivation for this is to create a more cohesive, tight-knit community within the space encouraging loyalty and collaboration. By doing this, and by offering exclusive amenities and benefits, owners hope to create an environment coworkers will want to stick with.

Another trend taking off is restaurants and cafes catering more and more to laptop workers. We looked at this in our recent blog post Coworking and Restaurants: Repurposing Spaces and Releasing Potential.

Historically, cafes have been coworking spaces out of necessity. Ask most freelancers or founders what their favourites are and they’ll run off a list of work-friendly cafés and restaurants with fast wifi and a welcoming vibe.

We will start to see more existing cafés billing themselves as workspaces, offering better services and a more welcoming attitude toward their regular “office” customers, as well as additional services that make them more appealing to the location-independent crowd.

So Where Are We Going?

As more people see the benefits of shared workspaces, the demand will naturally create more supply, and so more competition. If you’re already taking advantage of coworking spaces, you’ll likely see more options, better amenities and surprising new services. There may be tie-ins and bonuses. Maybe the coworking space that caters to international travellers will set up car-sharing or car rental services, tours or have their own accommodation. This is actually already done in some Asian and even European cities, but these are still few in number.

The technology will continue to advance, but the personal touches will flourish, as well. The future of coworking is bright: very bright indeed, and it’s only going to get brighter.

Why Do So Many Coworking Spaces Look Like Coffee Shops?

coworking, hot desking, offices January 18, 2017

coworking space

The coffee shop and the modern coworking space: in some cases they’re virtually indistinguishable. So I thought I’d take a look around and figure out why. There’s a lot of opinion out there on what makes a good work environment and what really doesn’t. Did you notice that I didn’t refer to these workspaces as offices? Well, maybe that’s for a reason.

As someone who spent 20 years in a ‘traditional’ office environment, I’ve become very choosy about where I work and what it looks and feels like. The traditional office no longer inspires me and I found that I just didn’t want to spend my waking hours in a sterile environment looking at carpet tiles, polystyrene ceiling panels, flourescent lights and non-descript tub chairs. An inspiring and comfortable coworking space is another proposition entirely.

When I looked around I realised I’m not alone in this respect. One of the reasons I can see that many coworking spaces look and feel more informal – like coffee shops, or even like homes in some cases – is because when working there, people want to feel part of a community, not a workforce. Most coworking spaces actively promote and encourage networking all day, every day. Many encourage people to change desks when they feel like it, and to work in spaces that inspire them, make them think and best of all, make them feel happy to be there.

The traditional flourescent-lit office is dying as a preferred location: it leaves too many people feeling uninspired and unproductive. Workers left the office behind because it didn’t work for them and thousands are finding new passion, productivity and success in their chosen coworking space, feeling more comfortable, informal and homely. The rising tide of self-employment is also seeing people become much more discerning about where they spend their days. Without an employer dictating which bland space you have to operate in, you can choose to be in different places, with great surroundings and inspiring people.

What makes you want to work in a more design-led or comfortable coworking space? Let us know.

Will Coworking Affect the Business Survival Rate?

coworking, entrepreneurship, startup December 14, 2016

business survival rate

The business survival rate (or business failure rate depending on whether your glass is half full or half empty) is always an eye-opening statistic. While poring over some ONS data a few days ago (I know – there’s so many other things I could be doing!), I noticed that the 2015 recorded business survival rate for businesses reaching 5 years old is only 41.1% in the UK. That means that approximately 3 out of every 5 businesses formed in the UK cease trading within the first 5 years. That’s a startling statistic by any stretch of the imagination.

Take a look for yourself on the ONS website.

Being connected to the coworking world, and a coworker myself, it occurred to me that the small business failure rate stands a good chance of being positively affected by the coworking phenomenon sweeping the world – not just the UK. Many new businesses stretch themselves financially and keeping costs down while using money wisely is a key strategy for every startup. While renting an office space seems like a vital part of starting your business, in the early days of trading – or even pre-trading – paying a large rent every month could sink your new venture. No one starts a business with the intention of being a small business failure rate statistic.

Coworkers everywhere have realised that only paying for the space you need – maybe a desk or two – means you can control those accomodation outgoings and get much more bang for your buck. Renting a desk is generally far cheaper than renting a whole office space, much of which you’ll probably not be using for a while.

So if the finances of coworking make sense, what else can a startup benefit from by sharing? It’s actually quite a significant number of ways. Startups everywhere are recognising that coworking and hot desking brings much more than just financial advantages. Coworking puts you in the same space as like-minded people, working on their own projects or startups. You can network every day, meeting new people in different workspaces. The people you meet expand your network and open new doors to skills, advice and experience that you won’t find by hiding in an office on your own. You can see how others go about their business and every day’s a school day as they say – so you learn as you go.

One of the hot advantages in coworking spaces is the ability to collaborate with others and bring together a skillset to make your project or startup work.

As a result, I fully expect to see the business survival rate increase in future years as we all take on a new mindset around how to set up our startups. Ensuring startups operate in the right environment in the first crucial years can only improve the UK’s business survival rate driving in particular, the small business failure rate down.

What else do you think affects the business survival rate in the UK? Let us know.

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