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Connectivity, flexible desks, plenty of breakout areas, rooms to play significantly increase employee satisfaction

by | Sep 3, 2015 | Business, Real Estate | 0 comments

London based entrepreneur, angel investor and founder of eOffice, Pier Paolo Mucelli, is a pioneer of the collective workspace in Europe. Founded in early 2000, eOffice is a “modern workplace offering a sociable business setting for like-minded startups and entrepreneurs”.

eOffice has since expanded and can be found throughout many of London’s central locations, like Piccadilly, Soho, Fitzrovia, Holborn. The franchise is also responsible for managing a network of over 200 independent business centers and coworking spaces worldwide.

Hi Pier, as one of the pioneers of the social workplace, how would you define what’s important in a contemporary work environment?

Since we launched the first eOffice back in 2002, we have always adopted the open-plan office environment, where entrepreneurs work in close proximity to each other, offering more opportunities for people to meet and interact.

The concept of “coworking” has steadily, but surely, promoted this type of workplace, transforming it from a cool trend into a necessity for entrepreneurs and freelancers, looking for a flexible office solution, away from the solitude of working from home.

How is this representative a new model of work?

The essence of working alongside like-minded professionals is currently seen everywhere from coffee shops, hotel lounges and professional coworking spaces. Some of those spaces are even adopting the next phase in the trend, co-living. The emergence of We-Live and Common in the United States and Zoku in Europe (Amsterdam), have created a hybrid between the hospitality and workplace industries, by merging the aspects of business and leisure that are tailored to the needs of the startup sector.

Some of those spaces are even adopting the next phase in the trend, co-living.

Why is design essential for your space, and why is the look and feel of a workspace so important?

The design and feel of the workplace have become of vital importance to an employee’s satisfaction, focus, and drive. We can observe how large companies, such as Facebook, Google or LinkedIn have transformed traditional offices into a branded playground for work and interaction.

How did you personalize eOffice?

At eOffice, we have always put extra emphasis on the quality and durability of the furniture as well as the ergonomic advantages of the chairs. To achieve this, we have worked with a number of established suppliers within the office sector.

We brand our coworking centers with bright, inspirational colors, displaying plenty of artwork, designer pieces, as well as indoor plants. We are also partnering with GreenWill, following their green policy for a sustainable business center.

Your business model is focused on teaching your clients about contemporary business culture. How do you achieve this?

We provide clients with a flexible workplace environment and services, enabling them to grow their business and team. We also organize regular networking events as well as in conjunction with our business partners from the startup ecosystem. This combination offers our members the possibility to interact, exchange ideas and business contacts, as well as granting them the experience of the benefits of coworking for their own advantage. However, we do not interfere in our members’ activities, and we do not provide mentoring. If we have members who are not interested in networking they are not obliged to join with any of our organized events.

What types of clients join eOffice?

At eOffice we have a diversity of clients, ranging in size and professional background. We attract predominantly companies within the media and technology sector, but we have our doors open to all types of exciting startups and growing companies.

What types of services do you offer them?

Pier Paolo Mucelli

Pier Paolo Mucelli

Along with office space on hourly or full-time basis, we also provide a list of different services tailored to the needs of startups such as our “Virtual Office”, “Company Formation”, “Meeting and Conference facilities”, and “Business Address”. We also have an international network of 200 independent coworking spaces worldwide, giving our members access and free day office space in any of the locations.

We also partner with a number of Funding Organizations offering our members access to their network of Angel Investors and VCs.

In your opinion, how has the development of these open spaces influenced the culture of work?

Open-plan spaces stimulate and encourage communication, interaction and cooperation between employees. All of this comes naturally, which creates a stronger, more collaborative team. It also makes senior managers and team leaders more approachable, which ultimately creates an efficient and more productive workflow. Overall, open-plan spaces provide many opportunities for impromptu meetings and discussions, paving the way for problem solving and creative thinking.

What does a social work environment offer that a traditional one does not?

The main advantage of the social work environment is the ability to interact with like-minded professions, creating a pool of opportunities, business ideas, and contacts. People prefer social work environments as they meet entrepreneurs from different industries and personal backgrounds, widening your professional network and commercial awareness.

It seems that some major corporations are steadily gravitating towards social workplaces, why do you think that is?

Google was one of the first fast growing businesses to shout about the importance of the innovative, open-plan workspace. Companies like UBER, Twitter and Facebook followed in their footsteps.

This transition is also in close relation to Millennials joining the workforces, which will be around 75% of the world’s workforce by 2025. The Millennial mindset cherishes collaboration, flexibility and autonomy, thus these are key features companies must take into consideration when they are re-designing their office. Social workplaces provide connectivity, flexible desks with plenty of breakout areas and rooms to rest, refresh and even play, which significantly increase the employee satisfaction. These features also promote attachment to the company brand while simultaneously cutting out unnecessary desk space complying with the mobile nature of today’s work.

What are some of the challenges of creating a productive workplace for those who might be more used to traditional offices/methods of work?

If you offer open-plan workplace environment you need to balance it with enough meeting rooms and phone booths where members can have privacy. Movable partitions and dividers allow people who are used to a more traditional office environment to quickly adapt to the perks of having your dedicated office space within a bigger workplace. A spacious communal area will also allow members to willingly interact and alternatively have a time on their own.

What are some of the major changes the workplace has undergone over the last 5 years? How does eOffice address these changes?

There are changes derived from both technological advances and accelerating urban social trends. From the technological angle, we have noticed an increase in the use of laptops, wireless connectivity, and VOIP services. This has allowed the workplaces to be more flexible and users to sit and work in the different areas workspace.

At the same time, there has been a renaissance of city living, with more and more young professionals and small families choosing to live in urban centers, rather than rural locations. A large part of this is because these individuals require a central location to work and meet colleagues on flexible basis.

At eOffice we are centrally located and able to take advantage of these trends directly in London and via local partners in the main world cities.

Amanda Gray

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