Meetings. Everybody has them, nobody seems to like them much. Analysis suggests that on a global scale:
- Only 6% of meetings have 10 or more attendees
- Over three quarters of meetings include no more than three people.
Furthermore, most meetings are booked at short notice, giving facilities managers a headache.
“Large meetings can be a drain on productivity, and therefore the trend is towards smaller, less rigid gatherings,” says Johnny Mhar of Via Offices . “More businesses are now using, and investing in, collaborative spaces.”
“Technology is moving people away from the old, more formal style of meeting, providing opportunities for instant link-ups that are non-dependent on location”
“You can hold detailed meetings with people on other continents that don’t depend on all the attendees being present in the room,” offers Johnny. “Conference calls, online video, even social networks, are all crucial in building and maintaining business relationships.”
Reclaiming the Workspace
Large conference rooms and boardrooms are increasingly looking as though they belong in the past.
“Over 30% of meetings are no-shows, and you even get recurring meetings with zero attendance,” Johnny remarks. “They can be inefficient, and their unpopularity is infectious. They lower, rather than raise, expectations.”
“Providing collaborative work areas is a better use of office space, and it gives people a greater sense of freedom, while retaining the means for them to meet up and exchange ideas and views”
This model has proved popular with organisations, and it also works for SMEs and sole traders in shared workspace.
“It engenders a sense of organic openness, where opportunities for networking, and collaboration, present themselves naturally.”
Getting the Balance Right
There are studies that suggest a completely open working environment may do employees more harm than good. It may be distracting and stressful for some.
What are the implications for collaborative spaces? As Johnny sees it, the solution is in creating a sense of balance.
“People need more choice. It’s not a case of all or nothing. Shared workspace should offer a range of options, for example. So, you might choose to have your own office with a shared space attached. Or you could have a fixed desk within a more open area.”
What Johnny provides, through his own business centres, is the opportunity for SMEs to exploit shared workspace, while retaining as much of a fixed base as they require.
He achieves this through careful office design, with the use of breakout and collaborative areas where people can meet without a constraining sense of too much formality.
“Modern business means being agile and adaptable, but also open to collaboration and widening your network,” concludes Johnny. “Where you work should reflect this.”
For an additional read, please visit Can Shared Workspace Offer SMEs Room to Grow?