Natasha Guerra, CEO of co-working provider Runway East, whose spaces exclusively host high-growth start-ups, says: “The companies working from Runway East are members rather than clients or tenants. We see ourselves as custodian of a community of equals and not merely as a landlord or office space provider.” “Co-working spaces are chosen for the experience. The FM world has a lot to learn from the hospitality world. The best hotels connect with you in a special way and make you feel welcome so you want to go back. It’s all about the service and the people. The FM role in co-working is ‘Keeper of the Community and Culture’. The FM can curate who is in the space and its personality.” Gensler has designed co-working space since the phenomenon emerged about seven years ago, including two spaces in London, The Hub and The Nest. “Technology plays a huge role in enabling co-working spaces to become more efficient, grow faster, and offer an altogether rounded, excellent experience to everyone using the space,” says Robert Ollett. Guerra says: “We see a lot of potential for landlords and co-working operators to work in joint venture partnerships similar to those that commercial landlords have become accustomed to when working with large hotel chains. Property companies manage hotel properties through joint ventures with brands such as IHG and Hilton, providing prime space, outsourcing the management of the property to the brand, and splitting the income. This is a potentially highly effective model for co-working.” This increase was largely driven by the rapid expansion of companies WeWork and Amsterdam-based Spaces, which were responsible for more than half of the year’s take-up of co-working space across the UK. WeWork opened two spaces in Manchester last year and now has 30,000 members in the UK. Runway East, which has three spaces in London and expects to open two more in the capital, opened its first space outside London, in Bristol, this summer. According to Tidd, corporate occupiers of space are thinking differently about their portfolios and how the primary aspect of co-working – sharing – is being reflected in ‘more we/less me’ space.
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