Britain is rapidly becoming a nation of co-workers. In recent years, the rise of the start-up and an ever uncertain political and economic world has seen office sharing culture becoming mainstream. So, how does a more creative enterprise fare when sharing a workspace?
Small businesses are big news these days. According to the 2016 Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe survey, in the City of London alone 98% of businesses are small and medium-sized enterpirses (SMEs). No longer phased by a dystopian nightmare of large businesses providing rows of desks in cubicles for their employees, or entrepreneurs having to find space on a kitchen table to run their businesses, the new generation of workers are embracing shared space where they can network and collaborate in pleasant surroundings, all the while splitting the rent and overheads. Here at Guildhall, we believe that co-working is key to start up business success and our student entrepreneurs share office and creative space. Dedicated work space is important, especially for artists and creatives who are used to a "gig" mentality and are natural collaborators. However, a practical as well as artistic head is needed by the creative entrepreneur in their search for the right premises - and awareness of co-sharing etiquette is vital.
Keep it clean
It’s common sense, but essential to office harmony. Creative businesses have a tendency to sprawl – whether it’s props, scripts, paperwork, instruments or equipment. A regular clean-up of desks and team storage is a must. Be mindful of respecting shared spaces such as the kitchen and bathroom. A tidy and pleasant environment can work wonders for concentration and inspiration. When considering renting a desk in a shared space, take a good look at any additional storage that might be available, as well as the general tidiness of the office by those already working there.
Turn down the diva dial
Keep noise down to an acceptable level both in your creative and office space. In the office, maintain a reasonable tone and keep private conversations private by taking them outside. Don't forget that you can use headphones if necessary. Got a musical or theatrical company? Be mindful of others and stagger rehearsal times to suit your co-working colleagues.
Good office sharing involves feedback and review on a regular basis. Be on the same page and share vital office information such as key dates, fire escape routes and important numbers. One of the benefits of shared office space is the possible collaboration that can happen between non-competing companies. Get to know your neighbours. You might find opportunities to share clients, contacts or lessons learned with each other.
All About The Preparation
Want a tranquil space or more of a campus feel? Be resourceful and look at the many different styles of office sharing available. In London, spaces range from work and living space such as Impact Hub in Westminster to the quirky White Collar factory in Shoreditch. Your office says something about your business. You’ll need to bring clients and partners in for meetings now and again – and potentially have to hire staff to work at the shared space too. Be sure the space will give the right impression.
To share or not to share? That is the question. Our ethos is to enable emerging and established artistic professionals to make a real difference in society by adapting their talents to the current business markets. At this time of great change, having a co-shared office can help an entrepreneur feel legitimate and taken seriously without committing to a long-term lease. As an entrepreneur, you’ll face many decisions for your business. A place to call ‘the office’ or ‘studio’ is an important one.
By Professor Helena Gaunt, vice principal and head of academic affairs at Guildhall School of Music and Drama