The UK is rightly proud of its start-up culture, with 80 new companies founded every hour, says Andrew Clough, Managing Director, The Brew. But despite this, our productivity levels remain stubbornly low, falling significantly behind other major economies, including the US, France and Germany.
Productivity is ultimately a measure of efficiency – how much are you getting out for what you’re putting in – and for small businesses it can be the difference between success and failure. With fewer resources and a fledgling team, you have to be extra innovative to compete with the big boys and achieve your business goals.
The work environment is often overlooked as a driver of productivity, when in fact it can have a huge impact on your motivation, creativity and agility as a business, not to mention your overheads. And this is where co-working comes in, giving you a more dynamic alternative to a dreary serviced office, or local café.
There are now at least 7,800 co-working spaces around the world – twice the number there were just two years go. Here’s seven reasons why it could be just what your business needs:
- Networking: With open-plan, collaborative design, co-working gives you access to a ready-made community of businesses and freelancers with shared values and ambitions, so you’re never short of people to meet and connect with. Most also put on a packed schedule of events and workshops to facilitate new relationships. As networking is one of the best ways to get your name out there, win new business and attract investors, these events and informal meet ups are invaluable. You might even make some friends at the same time.
- Collaboration and innovation: With such a diversity of businesses and individuals operating in one place, co-working provides a melting pot of ideas and collaboration opportunities to take advantage of. A survey by Deskmag found that 71% of co-workers feel more creative than they would in a normal office, and our members agree, saying it pushes and inspires them to consider different strategies and partnerships than they would have done alone.
- Looking buyer and investor-ready: For those seeking investment, or looking to attract a buyer, co-working is a big differentiator, giving you the healthy balance sheet and innovative thinking that appeals to potential suitors. With one fixed monthly cost, you can demonstrate low overheads, with no complicated and expensive bills on top. Plus, by basing your business within a hive of ideas, you’ll impress investors with your innovative thinking. Giving them the peace of mind you’re a safe bet!
- Building your culture: Research has shown that people who belong to co-working spaces report levels of ‘thriving’ that approach an average of 6 on a 7-point scale – at least a point higher than the average for those in regular offices. The study found that those in co-working spaces are more likely to see their work as meaningful, have more job control and feel part of a community. And happy, thriving employees can only be a good thing for your business.
- Recruitment and retention: Attracting the right people can make or break your business so appealing to the top candidates is essential. Co-working ensures you appear established and trustworthy, while offering potential employees a stylish, inspirational and well-located environment to call home. Bringing top talent into the business is one of the key drivers for future growth, so it’s more than worth the investment.
- Space to think and create: A study by Steelcase found that employees who have more control over their working environment are more engaged and productive, and this is one of the big differentiators of co-working; it gives you a variety of spaces to choose from. Employees can select their environment based on the task at hand, whether that’s somewhere quiet to write or think, something more collaborative for brainstorming, or a more private, formal room for client meetings.
- Work-life balance: Co-working spaces can also help employees achieve a healthy work-life balance, through encouraging them to work at the times that best suit them, whether that’s early morning or later in the evening (many spaces are open 24/7). In fact, Deskmag found that only 30% of co-workers prefer to work during normal business hours, enabling them to better juggle the competing demands of work and personal life. No surprise then that 70% feel healthier as a result!
The Brew offers stylish, professional and cost-effective co-working at five locations across East London.