One of the trends set to grow in 2019 is the rise of co-working and flexible offices.
Only a short while ago flexible working was accepted in pockets, the preserve of start-up businesses and freelancers - but it has evolved further and is becoming more and more mainstream.
Now, everyone is talking about the topic and the likes of agenda-setting co-working giant, We Work – which has driven much of the growth in the area - is operating in more than 22 countries.
The popularity of flexible offices has been parallel to the rise in the number of self-employed workers and the advancement of technology over the last several decades – which has made remote working easier.
Studies predict growth of co-working
There is a growing body of research indicating co-working will only rise in the coming years because now giant real estate bodies have accepted it is not just a ‘fad’ and many are developing the concept within their own portfolios.
Others predict that the rise of co-working will eventually see the death of the traditional office. Research from design firm, Knoll, states that the number of co-working spaces around the world has increased by nearly 700 per cent since 2011.
Small and larger businesses are choosing to put their employees and teams in shared work environments which data shows can boost productivity and other factors of well-being.
As the market matures, niche co-working spaces are emerging for particular industries, political movements, technologies and even woman-only ones. In 2019, competition is set to become even fiercer.
What Facilities Management can learn from co-working
The rising popularity of co-working spaces isn’t only a result of higher number of self-employed workers and advancements in technology.
It’s a result of a shift in ways of working and the expectations we have to the places where we work.
We want our workplaces to hold team spirit, be collaborative, purposeful and we see them as motivating spaces that can enhance our creative thinking and help us putting our work lives into a perfect balance.
To create a successful workplace, the human interaction, socialisation and collaboration must be in the forefront of everything we do. With that also comes a shift from focusing on pure facility services to people-centric hospitality services, where service employees take part in creating the optimal experience for the people coming in and out of the office.
Or with other words orchestrating services and people encounters that will help businesses to meet their desired business outcomes.
But it also means not letting your workplace experience be limited by your office walls. Give people alternative places to work, meet, collaborate and offer new ways that people can get their work done. Everyone is different. And so are the ways they best can collaborate, be productive and creative.
Taking that people-centricity into account when developing workplaces of the future will without any doubt be of benefit of every employee and any business.