Types of Flexible Working Spaces
The rise of a new generation of workforce has led to the phasing out of the traditional way businesses and office spaces have operated. Over the past couple of years, many have claimed that the traditional office has become obsolete, and it has been replaced by flexible working places like business lounges, co-working spaces and short term serviced offices.
Reports reveal that over the past few years, serviced office spaces in major commercial markets such as United States, and the United Kingdom have grown over 10-15%, and analysts peg this figure for India to be over the 15% mark.
This shift has majorly to do with the fact that increasing number of people today are looking for a flexible, cost-effective, ‘plug and play’ solution when it comes to fixing down on a place to work, and as such these instant office spaces provide facilities tailored to your needs for a fixed rent.
These flexible offices come fully equipped with necessities such as phone, photocopier, high-speed Internet access, state-of-the-art lighting, furniture, air conditioning, along with meeting and conference rooms. Users also get access to cafe, pantry and business lounges along with administrative, IT and maintenance support.
A recently published article by Business Times, aptly notes that “flexible working both meets the needs of employees and improves companies’ capacity to serve customers and, in doing so, it secures competitive advantage.”
Over the past couple of years, the flexible office space industry has evolved in a way to cater to different businesses by providing them different packages depending upon their varying needs. Let’s take a look at the basic types of flexible working spaces available in the market today.
These are targeted largely towards MNC’s and small and medium sized enterprises who need a fully functional office space for a large number of employees but do not want to invest highly in an office premise and handling the various aspects involved in setting and running it.
Business Centres offer themselves as great alternatives for companies which are always looking for newer ways to reduce overheads, increase productivity and improve efficiency. For companies shifting their base of operations, or whose infrastructure budgets are minimal, business centres are a boon as they offer a prestigious professional commercial location to these companies without having to invest in a property or enter into rigid long term lease agreements.
Co-working spaces are great for productivity and work-life balance and hence, co-working spaces over a short period of time have become hugely popular amongst startup owners, and work-from-home employees across the world. These require less investment and prove highly effective for startups. For work-from-home employees and startups, these create infinite networking opportunities that are difficult to recreate in traditional office settings.
In terms of facilities, co-working spaces work on the idea of sharing even basic amenities such as Wi-Fi, coffee machines to shared staff members, such as receptionists.
Co-working spaces have their obvious benefits over traditional offices, and a recent report from Vix and OfficeVibe reveals that Co-working spaces are not only more economical, but 64% of the employees working in a Co-working space environment are able to meet deadlines, while 68% of them were able to focus better at work as compared to employees working in traditional office spaces.
An invention of the modern day cloud computing era, a virtual office, like its name suggests is an office space that exists in the cloud, but added with the benefit of a physical address at a prestigious location. A virtual office setup allows dynamic entrepreneurs and employees to work on the go, or from any location while still providing them a fully functional team to handle their mails, calls and voice messages and providing secretarial support services.
Due to its design, virtual offices provide basic level interaction with a client much like traditional office space, but at the fraction of the cost.
For the employees, the presence of a virtual office enables them to work remotely which according to a survey conducted by uSamp helped increase productivity for close to 70% of the sample audience.
Business Incubators & Business Accelerators
Business Incubators and Accelerators, a fairly new and emerging type of workplaces, are designed especially for small businesses and startups. They attempt to provide guidance and support for business development.
Business incubators are usually funded by private companies or municipal entities and public institutions, such as colleges and universities with the goal to help create and grow young businesses. They seek to provide resources and services that include office space, capital, shared services such as telephone, secretarial office, and production equipment, and networking connections.
Business Accelerators are also similar to incubators in the sense that they are aimed at ensuring growth of the startup. The emphasis of the business accelerator is on rapid growth, and to sort out all organizational, operational, and strategic difficulties that the business might be facing.
Which type of workplace solution is your business looking for? Tell us in the comments below.