With large numbers of businesses across the UK developing hybrid models of working, allowing staff to work remotely for part of their week; can employers use co-working spaces to capitalise on the benefits of a flexible workforce whilst retaining staff motivation and creativity?
Working in the office part time, with the remaining hours completed outside of the traditional environment, is becoming an increasingly popular model adopted by several of the country’s biggest companies. However, casting off decades of office-culture and workplace norms can be challenging and can push workers outside of their comfort zones. For some, going into a physical office offers social stimulus and routine that has been lacking throughout the current pandemic.
Many employees are keen to avoid re-starting the old daily commute but are also looking for a break from home-working; co-working is an option that can have a positive impact on motivation and efficiency, as well as mind-set and wellbeing. Providing balance, flexibility and choice, co-working offers a communal space to work alongside other people from a range of different businesses.
Holly Jones, Newtown Enterprise Hub Manager says:
“There’s a common misconception that a co-working space is just for creative freelancers, but actually it has huge advantages for both corporate employees and freelancers alike. We’ve welcomed employees from local businesses that have been established for years, who just need a space away from the office and from the distraction of other colleagues to work on a project or run through some ideas.”
Located in the quirky Pryce Jones building in Newtown town centre, the Newtown Enterprise Hub provides a collaborative co-working environment in Mid-Wales to network and fill the empty social gap many home-workers are currently experiencing.
“It goes without saying that a co-working space also has great economic benefits. It offers a cost effective and flexible solution for self-employed people, or small businesses who aren’t ready to commit to renting or investing in an office space or those looking just to rent a desk for a few days a month. We’re confident that the future of co-working in Mid Wales will be a positive one, and we’re keen to welcome a new cohort of workers now that we have been able to re-open”
With a long-term ambition to encourage up to 30% of the workforce to consider working from home or closer to home, the Welsh Government is championing co-working Hubs as a positive option for hybrid workers and local communities. Welsh Government has launched a new website with interactive maps so people across Wales can help them decide where best to locate flexible co-working hubs so they get maximum use.
Newtown Hub co-worker, Rowan Carron from Lavoro said,
“I chose to co-work because there’s a lot of distractions in our main office. It’s good to completely get away from that and drill down on some key projects that you want to progress to keep the company moving forward.”
Building connections with others is a big driver in the uptake in co-working vs working from home. Many co-working spaces have their own personality, and the managers of each space work hard to create an atmosphere where different personalities can thrive alongside each other. Co-workers also reported that having a community to work in helps create structures and discipline that motivates them.
Newtown Hub co-worker, David Davies from ISCENNEN said:
“It's great to have a venue where you can meet and network with people, which is perhaps the main attraction for me.”
So what does this mean for office workers in Wales?
While traditional co-working spaces were seen as havens for creatives and freelancers, our change in working patterns make them the perfect option for hybrid workers keen to benefit from a stimulating environment. There is a real opportunity for businesses across Wales to build co-working into their hybrid working strategies in order to realise the value it brings to employee’s motivation, satisfaction and wellbeing.
The Focus Newtown Enterprise Hub is an innovative space to incubate and accelerate new and growing businesses based at the Royal Welsh Warehouse, Newtown, Powys. Focus Newtown Enterprise Hub is funded by the Welsh Government.