Changing Face of How We Work
Bill Gates published an interesting book call ‘Business at the Speed of Thought; Succeeding in the Digital Economy’, nearly 20 years ago. The booked written by one of the commercial pioneers of the digital revolution, was really a call to arms to businesses leaders, management and executives on how they could transform their businesses with technology. His statement at the time, at the turn of the millennium was most businesses were only realising 20% of the benefit technology could afford them. His focuses were on; customer/partner processes, employee management and processes.
Whether you have read the book or not, many of the suggestions and processes he outlined in practical terms have been adopted by many of the global corporations, governments and SME’s to evolve the way we work, compared to 20 years ago. No more faxes, files of paperwork, ‘agile’ and ‘the cloud’ are part of the way we work, and the movement and access to labour, resource, partners and customers being global are all benefits of our businesses and economies working at the Thought of Speed.
None more so in the way we practically work. Technology has enabled us to work remotely, more flexible hours releasing the mentality of being changed to the desk. The growth of coworking and community based hubs and clusters is systematic of our changing attitudes to how we work from both employers and the workforce.
Coworking has become the latest ‘hot topic’ in the business commercial premise world, and why has this way of working changed the market so significantly, (a recent JLL report cited traditional leased office market only growing 1% year on year until 2022, whilst coworking / flexible office market growing 30%)?
Freedom Works, a Sussex based co-working and flexible office brand have opened up 4 workspaces in little over a 24 month period, on what has been a phenomenal trajectory fuelled by demand. “People want to work locally and can”, explains Jon Trigg, Founder and MD of Freedom Works. “We’ve got nearly 1,000 businesses within the community and by the end of 2019 will have over 1,500”, goes on to explain Trigg.
Community is the key word. Technology has come full circle in being an enabler for freelancers, micro businesses and SME’s to work in shared environments - where the human nature of working amongst each other has provided wider benefits. “Collaboration is key to why people stay in our spaces”, states Trigg.
“The Coworking and Flexible office model is a market disrupter, as we do not tie people into leases or licences...it’s a truly agile way of having a place to work from. But, the key to it, is our members stay because it works for them”, he explains. “People collaborate with their neighbours. Co working and shared spaces not only offer a roof over your head but a place to do business”, further explains the Brighton based business man.
Freedom Works have 4 spaces across Sussex. Gatwick opened in April 2019 (with 200 desk capacity), Chichester in January 2019 (with 90 desks), Worthing and Hove (both with 200 desks) in 2018 and 2016 respectively. All filled or filling in the case of the recently opened spaces.
The changing way people are working is driving demand; Platform9 in Brighton and Hove have two vibrant work spaces near or at capacity, with other local providers like CoTribe in Horley and Redhill and CoHub in Eastbourne.
“Our view is that shared workspaces housing local business communities will become the norm in the next few years. The benefit is huge; collaboration, strain off our overloaded roads and rail network and importantly a better quality of life, allowing home grown talent to remain at home”, concludes the passionate MD of Freedom Works, Jon Trigg.
Technology is an enabler and is allowing Sussex to work smarter, maintain our talent and provide friendly and co-operative spaces for new business to come to the South East.
This fundamental change in the way we work has furthermore been a contributory factor into how towns in Sussex are changing. None more so than Crawley, in the heart of the Gatwick Diamond. In what was a new town back in the 1960’s with a core retail centre and very little town centre housing, the change to mixed development, driven by work where you live has allowed town centre planners to design a new format of town centres, which will provide a bustling centre to Gatwick’s nearest town.
Technology has changed the way we work for the good, in allowing us to work locally, in communities where we collaborate and by doing so we are bringing the heart back into the towns we spend our leisure time, in short improving our quality of lives.