Pro-working, Car-working and the Changing Shape of Flexible Workspace
Another week, another new flexible workspace initiative; it seems variations on the flexible workspace model are springing up faster than we can keep track. The latest entrant? Pro-workingΓÇª
What is pro-working?
Devised by US-based company Caf├⌐ Inc., pro-working is a twist on the co-working concept. ItΓÇÖs intended for business people who find co-working space a little too ΓÇ£crunchyΓÇ¥ ΓÇô by which we think they mean the informal environment typical of many co-working spaces.
According to Jeff OΓÇÖDell, Chairman of Caf├⌐ Inc., the ΓÇ£proΓÇ¥ signifies ΓÇ£professionalΓÇ¥ and ΓÇ£productiveΓÇ¥. That can mean a lot of things; but in essence, if you donΓÇÖt like your co-workers to hang out in hoodies, pro-working is the alternative.
However, pro-working is just the latest in a series of new variations on the flexible workspace model.
Diversification: the shape of things to come
That the flexible workspace industry is diversifying is no big surprise in itself. Back in December, we asked fourteen industry experts for their predictions for the year ahead. Several said they expected to see further diversification of the types of flexible workspace offered within the industry, including Jennifer Brooke, Chief Executive of the BCA, who spoke of ΓÇ£niche market entrantsΓÇ¥ and Frank Cottle, Chairman & Founder of Alliance Business Centers, who ┬áoffered the following insight on what to expect:
ΓÇ£In addition, it will be a year of increased ΓÇÿvariety and choiceΓÇÖ in terms of officing and service offerings from the industry; with more coworking in various new formats, more meeting room companies offering business centre-like services, and more technology companies vying for the wallet-share of the mobile worker.ΓÇ¥
Co-living, car-working ΓÇô the future of workspace?
Just over two months on and those niche market entrants have been appearing at a steady pace. WeΓÇÖve already covered co-living this year ΓÇô a specialist live-in business incubator for entrepreneurs. At the other end of the spectrum, Officing Today reported on a London coffee shop which is trialling offering space to mobile workers on a pay-as-you-go model.
Meanwhile, Regus ΓÇô the worldΓÇÖs largest serviced office operator ΓÇô has recently revealed its concept for a self-driving car which could be used to provide flexible office space on the go. This last example is only a concept right now ΓÇô but it illustrates just how committed the industry is to innovation.
All in all, one thing is clear: the flexible workspace industry is living up to its name and becoming more flexible than ever before.
Will pro-working take off? Will the self-driving car office become a reality? WeΓÇÖll all have to wait and see. Setting aside the fads and fancy terminology, what the emergence of these niche workspace options shows is the willingness and ability of the industry to meet the diverse needs of businesses and the ways that they actually want to work.
What do you think? How many of these workspace trends are here to stay? Share your thoughts in the comments below.