From Micro to Multinational: Coworking in London Goes Corporate
When was the last time you took a really close look at the different styles of office space in London?
On the outside, office buildings may all look the same. But step inside and you’ll find a treasure trove of different workspace styles and designs accommodating a rich variety of businesses. This melting pot of entrepreneurial talent ranges from micro to multinational, startup to corporate, and spans multiple trades and industries.
The collaborative workspace trend has intensified over the past 10 years, giving way to a fascinating array of niche workspace styles under the broader term of coworking.
Coworking growth in numbers
Once a niche corner of the flexible workspace industry, coworking has evolved into its own market, housing a buzzing collective of spaces ranging from trendy basements and loft spaces to plush business lounges.
At GCUC 2015, a conference and workshop for coworking operators, it was revealed that there are now over 3,000 coworking spaces around the world.
However given the agile nature and shifting boundaries of coworking, it is difficult to define this style of workspace – much less quantify it. And while GCUC puts the figure at over 3,000 (as of 2015), eOffice suggests the number is much higher:
“2014 ended with 5,800 coworking spaces. french to lithuanian dictionary In 2015 it is predicted the number to rise to 9,700″ (eOffice blog, January 2015)
Positively, we can be sure that the coworking market continues to grow – and with that growth comes many new and exciting shared spaces that are appealing to an ever-expanding style of workspace client.
Coworking goes corporate
For instance, over the past couple of years we have seen a surge in business centre-owned coworking spaces and an even greater push in corporate coworking.
Corporate coworking is one of the latest trends to develop in the collaborate workspace market. This is largely driven by a desire for larger firms to move away from conventional HQ environments to a more fluid and collaborative setting, in which workers can interact and ‘cross pollinate’ with other coworking members.
One such corporate coworking operator active in the UK is Servcorp.
This global serviced office operator is better known for its five-star business centres in prestigious global locations, which includes One World Trade Center in New York, 101 Avenue des Champs Elys├⌐es in Paris, and Emirates Towers in Dubai.
Here in London, Servcorp occupies an┬áimpressive location in┬áMayfair Place in the heart of Mayfair, W1 – an elegant property that was once the Duke of Devonshire’s residence.
Servcorp is accustomed to providing world-class serviced office space and virtual services for clients, but is it a good fit for coworking?
According to OfficeBroker’s Corporate Account Director Alex Williamson, Servcorp has neatly captured the essence of coworking whilst still retaining the elegance of its Mayfair surroundings.
“It’s five-star coworking in one of the most prestigious buildings in London,” said Alex, following a recent visit to the London business centre.
Alex explained that Servcorp has also given its coworking space a unique design, in a nod to the independent style and bohemian allure of coworking’s much-loved spaces: “They have had a professional graffiti artist come in to design a big feature wall, which is quite distinctive for a listed building in Mayfair!”
In addition to this style of corporate coworking, OfficeBroker is working with other business centre and coworking operators who continue to roll out a rich variety of collaborative spaces, particularly in London.
Among them, WeWork, Central Working, and Workhouse primarily offer shared spaces, while established business centre operators including The Office Group offer their own stamp of coworking space under the same roof as serviced and managed office space.
According to DTZ, between 10-20% of The Office Group’s office space portfolio is communal, with “demand increasing”.
In its ‘Coworking Revolution’ whitepaper, DTZ discusses some of the most prominent shared office operators in London. On Central Working, it describes it as “boutique style working space with interiors featuring designer furniture and modern art”, while The Office GroupΓÇÖs Shoreditch location “features antiques sourced by creative practice Acrylicize”.
One of the greatest assets of coworking is its ability to appeal to a vast array of businesses and industries, leading to a melting pot of entrepreneurial talent. And with the arrival of corporate coworking by world-class providers, the allure of coworking continues to expand.
So next time you walk past a London office building, why not step inside? You might be surprised at what you find.