Multiple surveys have shown that flexible working is on the rise, and quickly. One report this year from IWG found that 85% of businesses have introduced a flexible workspace policy in the last 10 years. Within this growing market, entrepreneurs, SMEs and freelancers have already begun to reap the benefits of hot-desking, co-working and virtual offices. But there is another product beginning to rear its head: business clubs. This approach to flexible working, combining space with concierge-style service, can help growing enterprises maximise productivity and employee engagement. As employees and employers become increasingly well-tuned to the benefits of flexibility, those starting a business venture in 2020 should consider how such an approach could be valuable to supercharging their growth.
Employees are increasingly demanding flexibility. The same IWG report found 83% of employees would turn down a job if it didn’t offer flexible options. As a result, the future of work has filled many column inches this year, with co-working, innovative workspaces and ‘work perks’ like free beer on Fridays now a regular part of an attractive job offer.
What is a business club?
Membership to a business club gives professionals access to flexible workspaces like business lounges, meeting rooms and hot-desks, which are supported by concierge-style services that aid a business throughout the working day; whether that’s with IT issues, making reservations for lunch or organising travel across the city.
It offers access to multiple workspace locations across a city, which allows for yet more flexibility. Essentially, employees can choose, day-to-day, which address suits their assigned work best. Should you need total isolation to produce a report, you can work from a discreet business lounge in a convenient location. If you need to bring a remote team together to collaborate, you have inspiring communal workspaces. Require a boardroom to impress potential investors? You can easily book a premium meeting room in a highly sought-after postcode. It’s flexibility in a new way; marrying time and space to make each working day bespoke. Such an approach can prove well-suited to the ever-changing dynamics of a growing business. Rather than assigning yourself to a co-working space or a traditional office, employees can decide their preference on the day – the best of both worlds.
Co-working and hot-desking have historically been viewed as the territory of tech start-ups and innovative millennials. However, business clubs can provide enterprises from any sector and any nature with access to flexibility. For example, there are discreet and traditional spaces for those that need them, and collaborative and innovative ones for others.
Also, for SMEs, building a network of contacts can prove beneficial for growth, with ample opportunities to identify and build relationships with new investors, potential recruits and partners. By having access to a range of other businesses and inspiring professionals in a business club, an SME’s employees benefit from not just a sense of community but also heightened employee motivation by rubbing shoulders with other successful and ambitious professionals.
With the service also provided by a club, growing businesses have support at their fingertips to help their business run smoothly – particularly useful for small businesses who may have less resource on hand to help out with admin. This can in turn free up time for employees to spend on tasks like new business pitches to support with growth. Consider the productivity of your team if employees didn’t have to sort out IT queries or order working lunches, but could focus on revenue and relationship building tasks.
The workplace of choice in 2020 will reflect our attitudinal shift in work-life balance. Productivity and time efficiency are increasingly central, thanks to technology and our desire and expectation to spend more time doing things we love. Maximising the services attached to a business club allows you to do just that. Also, by changing your work location according to what best suits your schedule, you can cut the commute and find more time for hobbies or family. Extract the admin tasks, get support with organising your day and see blocks of time open up that let you do what you love. Again, for those setting up growing enterprises who need to maximise their day, this approach to work can prove highly effective.
The future of work
In a society that increasingly craves ‘experience’, businesses should consider workplaces that support them in maximising flexibility and productivity. As businesses, especially those in growth mode, seek to make the best use of time and space, business clubs may prove a helpful solution. They are spaces that allow time to be reclaimed; something that is increasingly valuable in a world that operates at breakneck pace.
By Beth Hampson, Commercial Director, The Argyll Club