By now we have all heard some variation of the co working figures that point to the fact that the number of co working spaces has grown by 400% over the past two years. No matter how this is interpreted, one thing is certain: the trend is undeniable and isn’t losing steam. So what is the ‘big deal’ about co working anyway?
The co working culture and atmosphere is the most effective we have seen at fostering the building of business relationships and allowing ideas to flow freely. Just like the industrial revolution ushered in (or demanded) a new more effective way to produce large amounts of goods, co working represents the new work model for the optimal production of this era’s most valuable resource, knowledge capital. Through co working, this process occurs at a heady pace. Nothing remotely (no pun intended) similar happens under the traditional isolated, office cubicle silo model. The co working movement has gained an impressive following, not to mention funding, and now workspace providers such as The Rostie Group have no choice but to think long term. By looking to the future and the new beta reality of the workplace, we hope to continue to attract a multitude of freelancers, start-ups, satellite offices, mobile workers, entrepreneurs and of course, capital.
The notion of traditional “work” is shifting in its ideology from a ‘place’ to an ‘action’. Work is now what you do and not where you go each morning. As the culture changes and more people either work from home, coffee shops, Shared Workspaces and co working centres, larger tech companies and venture capitalists have been paying attention. They have recognized the potential for growth in a relatively new market and realized the enormous opportunity in offering technical services and products to these centres.
Google UK aims to help improve the success of London’s start-up community in “TechCity” with their Google Campus. By working with partners such as Seedcamp, Tech Hub, Springboard and Central Working, the focus will be to provide space for startup companies. They will also host daily events, a technology speaker series, networking events and run a mentoring program.
Google also has a sponsorship arrangement with TechHub in London which Your Virtual Butler recently visited and saw first hand in all its co working, collaborative glory. The Rostie Group is the official lab site of Your Virtual Butler; software designed specifically for the Shared Workspace and co working industry. Other sponsors for TechHub include Pearson (which owns Penguin, the Financial Times and others), and BlueVia (a branch of the Spanish telephone company Telefonica). In return for financial support, they can use event space, network with coworkers, and stay up-to-date with technology developments in the start-up realm.
Cisco has ventured into the European co working arena with its collaboration with Amsterdam to launch its first Smart Work Center (SWC). It will set up in the community of Almere, an area which has an all-fibre broadband network. Cisco has taken the opportunity to introduce its conferencing and collaboration technologies within the SWC.
Co working centres attract a high number of start-up tech companies and entrepreneurs as space is affordably priced and they are given an opportunity to network with a variety of others in their industry. If a fledgling start-up is only beginning to turn a profit then spending a large sum on rent for a downtown office is not viable and the co working alternative begins to look very attractive.
The paradigm is shifting and several companies are choosing the co working models, inspired by the examples of Microsoft, Cisco and Adobe, being themselves promoters of these new workspace notions. Companies are beginning to forego the idea of the fixed desk in favour of office-wide mobility.
Co working spaces are increasingly used by big companies using remote access technologies as workers are based in different locations. Mobile workers and satellite office workers now require and depend on a much greater level of individual technology than ever before in order to communicate and collaborate with fellow employees as well as customers and prospects. Items such as laptops, smart phones, online productivity tools, video conferencing equipment, virtual offices, and file sharing software are all critically necessary to work anywhere yet still be connected.
Companies that facilitate the idea of mobile working, work shifting, and telework often supply video conferencing equipment, online solutions, file sharing, network capabilities, cloud storage, webinar equipment, and productivity apps. Companies such as Citrix Canada and Your Virtual Butler, both of which are housed in our centre allow this new co working movement to gain further momentum. We have been a proud incubator of small businesses and start-up companies since the early 90s and by focusing on technology we hope to attract an even higher number of early phase tech companies.