As business owners demand yet more flexibility from their workplace, business centre and flexible workspace operators are responding with greater versatility - offering a more 'hybrid' workspace solution to fit today's diverse business requirements.
BCA Member Bruntwood, which offers a range of serviced and conventional workspace in Birmingham and the North of England, is a prime example. The firm has just expanded its already comprehensive offering with the introduction of a new 2,200 sq ft coworking space, named 'Together', at 127 Portland Street in Manchester.
"We have always held the philosophy of providing every type of office space businesses need," explained Colin Sinclair, Director of Property Marketing. "We want to break down boundaries and offer a style of workspace that suits everyone."
Is this new coworking space a sign that more workspace operators, Bruntwood included, are moving towards a more 'hybrid' business model? It certainly fits within the flexible workspace sector, as it means that operators have the potential to accommodate small or medium-sized firms as they move through the various stages of business growth.
"We're already hybrid, and we've always offered our customers a blend of workspace and options, so they have the option to move around within the same location," said Colin. "There is still huge demand for serviced offices but this opens up new ways of working that offers even more flexibility."
The decision to introduce coworking to 127 Portland Street was based on its "natural fit". According to Colin, the area is a "creative junction" and has a high concentration of creative companies who want a more flexible base in the city centre, and who have expressed interest in their coworking solution.
"We were doing deals even before the space was finished," Colin explained. "It has a social environment and a community vibe that's developing organically. We're in the process of building an event space inside too, which will enhance the community spirit."
As part of their 'hybridisation', Bruntwood has opened up its Wi-Fi connection to enable clients to access the Internet connection anywhere within the building. This in itself encourages a more collaborative, community-style environment.
Interestingly, Twitter has been a significant source of leads for Bruntwood's new coworking facility, which demonstrates the type of businesses attracted to this style of workspace - creative, social, online, and digitally savvy.
'Together' was officially launched in early March and Bruntwood intends to closely monitor its first coworking 'trial', before looking to expand the initiative across other locations.
As we already know, coworking is an exciting market that enriches our industry and allows flexible workspace operators to fulfil a greater diversity of requirements and reach new audiences. Understanding your market is key, and Bruntwood have not only identified a specific workspace need, but bridged the gap - connecting with new business communities and showcasing their brand in the process. This is one example of how flexible workspace operators can grow their brand and broaden their target market - and the BCA looks forward to tracking Bruntwood's first foray into coworking, and its future endeavours.