“Coworking” Has Arrived In Harpenden, But What Is It?
For many, work has meant the daily commute, arriving at 9am (ish) and clocking out again at 5pm, or 6pm these days. But the way in which the next generation of employee's work is evolving.
According to Virgin, “around 2.8 million of us in the UK work from home. That’s 10 per cent of total employment." With this number on the rise, collaborative workspaces are growing in popularity, where for a small membership fee people have access to everything they need to carry out their work.
Spawning the phrase “coworking”, these workspaces are now the office of freelancers, small business owners and work-at-home parents where free coffee, beer and the obligatory bean bags and palm trees are an office essential! Well almost anyway.
To the average millenial, they simply don't know a time when coworking wasn't an option. If you didn’t know, “millenial” is the generational label given to those born just after 1980 who then started their working careers at the turn of the millenium. Gen Y are the youngsters chasing millenial’s tails.
Coworking in London has been booming for years with industry leader WeWork (above) taking their US launched model and replicating it globally. They now have 32 sites across London town with over 80,000 members by the end of 2016.
Their Executive Vice President of Real Estate for WeWork Europe, Patrick Nelson, says, “I think that a lot of office space is a disappointing experience. I think there are a lot of instinctive qualities that the current office environment lacks. If you can create an environment with community, interaction and high energy, that will result in a strong community and a productive environment.".
It would seem people who think it's all about the free beer and coffee are somewhat missing the point.
So when Sebia Daly and Natalie Harmer decided to finish their 15 year stint in the heart of Shoreditch, London, they saw an opportunity to bring this model to Harpenden where small businesses are thriving.
Sebia tells of the starting point for The Harpenden Collective (above), “We knew lots of freelancers and parents who work independently and they only had the coffee shops or the library as a place to get away from the house and get their work done. So we decided to start The Harpenden Collective to give those people a place to focus and allow their business to thrive.”
Natalie believes the best part of The Harpenden Collective is the membership community. “The magic of this place is when our members receive business referrals from other members and when they collaborate on a projects to enhance their offering. We get really excited when new members walk through the door because you never know what their background is and what they’re going to bring to the table. So far, we’ve got to know some amazing and inspiring people, it’s great to have them all in one place.”
Now in it's 2nd year and residing in the picturesque Harpenden Hall, there are over 70 members from a vast array of industries, including Sebia and Natalie who run their own established businesses, with local, London based and global clients.
There is no question of coworking becoming prevalent as the workplace of choice for employees. Research carried out by the largest media investment group, Group M, found that 71% of those surveyed wanted flexible working.
One study says the average 18 year old will now have 17 jobs in their career across 5 different sectors. People are having to be versatile and utilise all their skills, not just one for 50 years.
The trend has been set and coworking spaces are in high-demand. As Harpenden’s first, The Harpenden Collective are drawing an eclectic mix, from 20-something tech geeks, to parents running their own business between school drop-offs/pick-ups.
“We’re really proud of what we’ve created here in Harpenden and we’ve got big plans to grow in 2018 and beyond. If you’re a freelancer, small business owner, or if you just want access to some beautiful business facilities, get in touch and we’ll give you a free day-pass for you to try us out. Never know who you might meet to help your business grow!”
Get in touch to book your free day-pass!
Our memberships start at £20 a month and give you access to:
Access to contemporary workspace
Harpenden business address
Local business directory of over 70 local businesses
Complimentary member to member meeting room for 1 hour a month