Flexible working: the benefits of an efficient workspace
The way many of us worked was already changing when the pandemic hit and accelerated our demands for increased flexibility.
Mantle Business Centers, which operates Kings Court in Stevenage, was ahead of the curve in developing serviced office sites to meet a variety of needs, says Marie Gorman, deputy director of marketing.
Here she describes the benefits of a flexible workspace:
Q: Is flexible working a new concept?
A: No, it has been evident for some time that many people want to work flexibly. This was motivated by technological changes, which make it easier for us to work remotely, as well as by economic factors: many people no longer want to pay the travel expenses. They also want to spend more time with their families. This has just been accelerated by the Covid-19.
As a real estate developer and serviced office operator, Mantle has grown its sites over the past decade to ensure they provide the flexibility people are looking for. We now have seven business centers, most of which are in the East of England, and pride ourselves on retaining our customers, many of whom have been with us for a very long time.
We have developed a brand; everything is recognizable as part of a Mantle business center, from our designer interiors to our furnishings.
Q: What kind of person wants to be able to work flexibly?
A: It can be anyone, from an individual to a company with 50 employees. Our tenants are largely service providers, such as accountants, IT, HR and recruiting. Some of them use our business centers for their satellite offices. They have a head office in London, for example, but have another base elsewhere with other teams of people who want to be closer to home.
Our clients can be anyone who wants to be able to grow and contract their business without having to pay for the space they don’t use. It could be a company or an individual who wants to be able to recruit people for a short-term contract only – and we can accommodate that.
Q: What are flexible workspaces like?
A: Well, Kings Court, for example, was a former head office, conveniently located within walking distance of the city center and the main train station, with frequent services to London King’s Cross.
A London based architectural firm oversaw its complete renovation and we opened it in 2017. It has almost 200 offices and like all of our business centers has a stylish interior. There is a reception team that takes care of everything on behalf of our customers, so they can just plug in and go. When people rent space from us, they also get a service.
Q: What are the benefits of having a flexible workspace?
A: People like to work in different ways. Some like to walk into an office, but they don’t want to be tied to a desk all day and they want other facilities. We have meeting rooms, a phone booth for those who want quiet conversations, and high tables if people just want to chat with a colleague, so there is a bit of variety. There are private offices, coworking spaces, and home-flexi options, where you can walk into an office part of the time and work from home on the other days.
We also offer a virtual office service for those who work elsewhere but want us to take calls for them and receive their mail. People can choose an option based on their needs and budget – and we have a whole range of different possibilities. But whichever option you choose, having a reception team to handle things for you can save you high costs and precious time.
Q: What are the advantages for your clients of coming to an office?
A: They appreciate the community aspect, mingling with other people and companies who share the space: it’s great because there can be real opportunities for collaboration. We also do internal networking events, where we bring other companies, and again, this gives people the opportunity to network and make valuable connections.
While some people sometimes want to work from home, they also like to walk into an office. Maybe they don’t have a dedicated workspace at home or it can be loud and distracting.
In terms of career development, it can be very helpful to have colleagues and mentors in the office with you to support you. It is also good for mental well-being to interact with others and to have a distinction between your family and work life.
When you leave the office, you leave your work behind and you can switch off. We focus on well-being in all our offices: their beautiful interiors inspire productivity and creativity and make our buildings pleasant places to come to work.
For more information on Kings Court visit mantlebusinesscentres.co.uk, call 01438 878800 or email [email protected]