August 2017

How collaborative working environments are taking SMEs by storm in 2017

Author: White Rose Office Park

To think that offices, in some cases, are still silent hierarchical spaces made up of private rooms with closed doors; off of long corridors may, in 2017, feel a little behind the times. Although of course, the traditional ‘private’ office space will always have a place, to some degree – as SMEs prepare for a Millennial take over, it’s no surprise that collaborative environments are taking SMEs by storm in 2017.

Adaptations as opposed to modifications

Collaborative working environments aren’t merely a modification of traditional open plan call centre style office spaces. These unique working environments embody the very heart of adaptation, incorporating smaller, less formal environments with wall-less meeting rooms, hot desks and dedicated quiet areas with a hope of improving creativity, productivity and employee well being, by encouraging cross departmental discussions – as part of one dynamic process.

Cater for flexibility

With 13.9% of the working population now choosing to work from home, and even more choosing to work remotely on an ad-hoc basis, it is becoming more and more important for businesses to offer staff the flexibility to work in the best way for them or risk losing out to competitors who do. This movement is also mirrored by an uptake in the use of cloud based software among SMEs, which allows employees to work at any time, and in any place with an internet connection. Further up the chain, this is giving business owners the flexibility to take more time out of the office and improve their work life balance, spending more time with family or on holiday without the mild panic that may have occurred only a few years ago.

Once adopted only by less corporate businesses, it is now becoming ever more prevalent that less formal working areas promote cross departmental discussion and skill sharing, which, when paired with the increase in flat hierarchy structures offers employees more and more opportunities for career progression, and SMEs the capabilities to ultimately be better.

With flexibility comes more open negotiations on price

In capital cities such as central London, the cost of a desk per person per annum can be up to £14,000. With the price of office space on the rise, taking up fewer desks or re-working your space is likely to ultimately reduce your costs. This is a model adopted by companies such as WeWork, who offer collaborative working environments to businesses of up to 50+ employees within large premises, based on desk numbers and the number of more private spaces required to promote ‘organic networking, and month-to-month flexibility’ within each business.  

If you take one thing away from this, let it be the fact communication, collaboration and flexibility are key for any SME looking to grow their business, and finding the right office space environment could be half of the battle.

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