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Google-esque offices are inaccessible for Britain’s SMEs

A new survey conducted by Crown Workspace has revealed designers offices such as the likes of Google and serviced office provider WeWork, are inaccessible for a fifth of Britain’s SMEs.

Designer offices are increasing in popularity amongst businesses in the creative and technology sectors, but they are not deemed accessible for 21 per cent of SME business owners.

Whilst the likes of WeWork and Workspace are creating serviced offices aimed at new and small businesses, it is firms with a smaller turnover that feel they are not accessible. Just 54 per cent of companies with a turnover of under £1 million believe they are, compared with 92 per cent of companies with a turnover of £50 million and over.

Commenting on the findings, Simon Gammell, Director, Crown Workspace, said: “There is also a significant divide between the regions. In London, 83 per cent of business owners believe this type of office space is accessible compared with 60 per cent in the North West of England and just 54 per cent in the South East. Although, a reason for this could be that serviced office providers are more prevalent in London, therefore they are better known amongst the business community there than elsewhere.”

Business owners indicated several reasons why they are inaccessible to businesses like theirs. More than half (51 per cent) indicated that they are too expensive, almost a third (29 per cent) said they are in the wrong locations, almost a quarter (24 per cent) stated they do not suit their ethos or brand, and more than one in 10 (14 per cent) expressed they are not flexible enough for their organisational needs.

Gammell added: “Office design is changing at a very fast pace and so too are the requirements of occupiers. There is clearly a missed middle market forming of SMEs who feel this type of workplace is either unobtainable from a cost perspective, or simply it doesn’t meet their needs.

“Landlords and developers need to be mindful of the requirements of this large part of the workforce. Importantly, looking at where it builds new office space, the type of amenities included and above all, the bang for their buck that SMEs are receiving.”

According to Crown Workspace, there is much businesses can do within their own space to create the look and feel of a designer or Google-esque workplace. Adaptions needn’t cost a lot, and cost-effective updates could include better space management, implementing sound proof booths to restrict noise in an open plan environment, creating breakout areas, changing the colour palette, improving natural lighting and creating better storage utilising off site storage options.

Gammell concluded by saying: “Whilst the workspaces of the conglomerates like Google and Facebook appear to be leading the way in workplace design and the wellbeing of employees, the designs aren’t for every business.

“It is important that businesses focus on creating the right working environment for their staff, ethos and productivity. Creating a bespoke solution to meet their everyday needs, whilst also future proofing the workplace for new requirements.”


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