Pro-working; an effective solution beyond co-working
We have all witnessed the emergence and remaining dominance of co-working workplaces globally, but where do we go from there? We touched on co-working in a previous Insight article, and discussed the pros and cons. It was concluded that co-working with a balanced and considered office design is beneficial for businesses who thrive on internal and external collaboration, in particular tech companies.
Co-working is not the be all and end all, and a one-size-fits-all approach cannot work with the multiplicity of small businesses that exist in a diverse range of industries. As a result, unique solutions are occurring that take the principles of co-working, and tailor them to suit a different kind of business. The term Pro-working, or ‘Professional-Working’ addresses some of the issues with co-working, and its emergence is an important addition to how businesses can function.
What is pro-working?
A new set of standards for a unique way of working has materialised, but what is pro-working? Pro-working addresses some of the issues that can occur from co-working. Co-working is set up to house informal startups, with an open and specific focus on collaboration, networking and knowledge sharing. This approach works for many, but the problem occurs when a business also needs privacy, a sense of identity, and a space appropriate for client facing opportunities. Pro-working provides a solution for businesses such as these, enabling occupiers to have everything taken care of, to focus on only the most important aspects of the business.
Pro-working takes aspects of the hospitality industry and applies them to the working environment, by providing a high-end service including concierges, a dedicated team to look after calls and greet clients, mailing rooms and private meeting spaces. With many business owners now looking for the highest quality space that they can find to attract and retain talent, increase productivity, and ultimately find an ideal space for their business to grow, pro-working is an attractive proposition. To demonstrate this, we look at a real-world example of pro-working in action.
Taking pro-working to the next level
Interaction recently designed and built a 13,000 sq ft space in Bath for Clarendon Business Centres that takes pro-working to the next level. Julian Cooper (pictured above), Managing Director of Clarendon Business Centres discusses working with Interaction to create an inspirational pro-working hub:
Q: What prompted your decision to bring a pro-working space to Bath, and generally?
A: My team and I had been looking for a sizeable and suitable space in Bath for a number of years; somewhere that was central but also large enough to accommodate different sized office spaces, breakout and meeting areas. When we came across Cambridge House, it ticked every box and had the potential for us, with the help of Interaction, to transform it into a luxurious working environment in an area that is a thriving hub for growing businesses.
Q: Why is pro-working an effective solution beyond co-working?
A: Co-workers and pro-workers both look to collaborate, network, exchange skills and knowledge share. Pro-working adds value by providing a surrounding that will ensure clients get the best first impression of your working environment, and have no uncertainty about the integrity and competency of your business. Providing an inspirational working environment for businesses will not only attract and retain the best staff but often results in higher morale. With the selection of different sized offices, productivity is higher as you are guaranteed privacy. By elevating these facilities, we’re giving businesses quality foundations to help them grow and continue to be successful. At Clarendon we provide flexible working and offer our clients the flexibility to use us on a daily, weekly or monthly rate basis.
Q: What do you see for the future of pro-working?
A: I certainly see more companies having higher expectations when they look at office space. The UK is the leading global serviced office sector, with the largest and most mature market, accounting for over a third (36%) of the worldwide serviced office footprint. The main contributing factors that have made pro-working as successful as it is comes down to office space that is, in a prime and accessible location, high-quality and stylish interior, friendly and professional front of house staff and a safe and secure working environment with onsite facilities such as showers and breakout areas.
All office workers expect to have IT facilities and spacious offices, but it is the extra details that raises this to another level, and these factors certainly contribute to the rise and continuing prevalence of pro-working.
Pro-working fills a gap that allows small businesses to thrive in a professional and high-end environment, but it will not be for everyone. This will not be the end of co-working, the two will continue to coexist to serve distinct purposes. Pro-working will become increasingly popular, as this model offers a more professional and corporate environment compared to traditional serviced offices or co-working spaces, and aids in helping small to medium businesses thrive.