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Flexible working and co-working: the way forward for small businesses?

23rd January 2018

Flexible working and co-working: the way forward for small businesses?

The UK saw a record number of new businesses start up in 2016 – more than 650,000 – and with a new company being formed every two minutes, that’s a lot of people looking for space, looking for funding, looking for customers and looking for help.

Often, one of the hardest things about starting a new business is the fact that you’re doing it alone. So it’s no surprise that co-working spaces have become more popular. These are dedicated communal spaces where entrepreneurs, business owners and freelance workers can rent a desk or hot-desk on an ad-hoc basis.

What are the benefits?

Co-working spaces bring a wide range of benefits to start-up and small businesses:

Cost-effective – you don’t have to rent a whole office and pay ongoing rates for utilities and bills. Instead, the rent is all-inclusive and you can often pick and choose from a range of packages to help you manage your costs.

Collaboration – being around other business owners helps you to get a better perspective on the decisions and choices you are making, and gives you people to bounce ideas off. Even just having the hum of other people working around you can help you to be more relaxed and more creative.

Networking – there’s always the possibility that the person two desks down knows someone who can help your business or who wants to buy from you. Or maybe there are some complementary skills in the room that give you the opportunity to take your business in a different direction. Always be open to networking with others.

Choice – you can choose to work at home or to go to a co-working space, so work in the environment that best suits your mood or the tasks you have to do during the day. And don’t forget that co-working isn’t just for business owners – if you work for a larger company as a remote worker, you can access all the benefits of co-working too.

Creativity – one of the things that a lot of sole traders or freelance workers say they miss about corporate life is the chance to discuss projects and be creative within a team. Co-working spaces often have whiteboards or breakout areas that give you the space to do that type of brainstorming, and if someone else just happens to be walking past and contribute, so much the better.

You can also adopt the co-working environment in a bigger business – the simple re-arrangement of desks, break-out areas and creative zones can help you to foster a collaborative, team-led environment which in turn could boost morale and improve productivity.


Since becoming an Academy we have lost the safety net of the LA. A lot of new financial accountability and responsibility now lies on the Business Managers shoulders. Having the services of Wise & Co has given me confidence to deal with these new challenges.
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