Office not important: The ‘touch-down & take-off brigade’

Often, at this stage, the need for a physical infrastructure away from the kitchen table or spare room becomes increasingly crucial, but many start –ups are still not in a position to commit to a permanent office space.

The quiet entrepreneurial revolution in the UK, over the past few years, has opened a genuine need for innovative space in which to do business.

Until recently, the only option for this section of the business food chain has been to inhabit a string of coffee bars in between meetings, juggling laptop, pre-requisite coffee and trying to block out the noise while working.

You see, entrepreneurs, in fledgling stage are not just cash strapped, but time strapped too – so anywhere with wifi and protection from the elements to make use of the working day is bliss. But now there’s another option for the fledgling entrepreneur.
Over the last 18 months, the UK has seen a new generation of entrepreneurial space hitting the UK with ‘touch-down & take off’ hubs springing up all over the UK. In essence, these hubs provide a space akin to an exclusive club or a gym membership.

A modest monthly subscription means that entrepreneurs can find sanctuary in specifically created spaces, designed for work and play. Unlike most traditional offices, networking and exchanges of ideas underpins the whole feeling of these places.

An example of this phenomenon, is the recently launched Club Workspace, two of which opened in late spring of this year and with a further ten opening across London over the next 12 months. Wifi, meeting rooms, tea, coffee the opportunity to benefit from a networking club – which includes mentoring – is indicative of the new generation of ‘touch-down & take-off’ hubs previously missing for the entrepreneurial and start up community.

Harry Platt, CEO of Workspace, which is spearheading the Club Workspace initiative, says, “The launch of Club Workspace, and other similar concepts, is a direct response to the recognition that early stage entrepreneurial businesses will be the main engine of economic growth in the UK and a major provider of employment now and in the coming years. These businesses need to be provided with support to allow them to flourish.”

In a large organisation, a chat at the coffee machine and informal exchange of ideas are things which most working people take for granted – but as a start up business, the opportunity to easily network and be surrounded by other dynamic and innovative organisations reduces the feeling of isolation.

One of the biggest issues facing fledgling entrepreneurs is ‘professional loneliness’. With ‘touch-down & take-off’ places now being designed for entrepreneurs in the UK, networking events are often integral to the membership, along with communal meeting areas, including cafes and bars.

All these elements help take away that sense of isolation which can hamper creativity and the gusto required to make young businesses a success.

Office environments and ‘touch-down & take-off’ spaces should support the schedules of the business person, not dictate how they structure their day. This is what this new wave of hubs allows fledgling businesses to do.

How this new wave of working spaces will evolve depends on the 21st century entrepreneur and how much more innovative business life becomes.