Bristol’s newest and oldest co-working hub

The Colston Office Centre has just launched its’ co-working space with the first Jelly of 2013.

With eight people from a host of different business attending on the 27th February, plus our experts at hand to provide advice and help on a wide range of issues, and some very positive feedback, I think it’s safe to say the day was a success.

In fact, we already have some repeat bookings for the next one, which is on Wednesday, 27th March.

So, why is it also the oldest co-working space?

Well, we have actually been doing this for several years, with some success - offering hot-desks, events and advisers – we have just never called it co-working before.

What is co-working?

It is an idea from the states that is similar to our incubation hubs, such as SETsquared at Bristol University.

The premise is that local entrepreneurs meet up, work and network in shared space: there may be open work desks, more enclosed booths for concentration or privacy, informal meeting areas for chat and brainstorming, formal meeting space and central resources like copiers and admin support.

In addition, sites may provide mentors, consultants, even an ‘executive board’ to review business plans, as well as trusted third party service providers, a variety of events and training along with the chance to meet potential funding/investment partners.

Does this exist in Bristol?

As mentioned, we have SETsquared, Science City, BRAVE, Wilder Studios, Mild Bunch, the Wool Hall and other community groups, which help to make Bristol a healthy and vibrant business community encouraging business start-up and growth.

The benefits to the businesses that use the spaces are obvious: sometimes free, but always economic space; opportunities for collaboration, learning and networking; and access to help and support.

While employment law and technology is increasingly making it easy to work from home, many solo and mobile workers find this an isolating experience and welcome the opportunity to work in a shared environment.

There is also a significant benefit to the community as new and small businesses are encouraged and nurtured to grow and make an important contribution to the local economy.

Do we need office space?

The current state of the commercial property sector is testament to the fact that demand for conventional, leased office space has reduced under the pressures of the economic climate. Technology is also a great enabler, allowing the modern workforce to work from anywhere, and this is being used to good effect by many companies, both large and small.

The serviced office sector has, however, remained buoyant and is even still growing. And business centres are the perfect environment to develop co-working spaces.

However, I believe that even business centres are going to have to think about the way people want to work, both now and in the future, and adapt their services to suit. While the idea of an office will not disappear any time soon, we all need to work hard to reflect the future of work and what that ‘office’ might look like.

So it looks like the newest (and oldest) co-working is here to stay and if you fancy giving it a go for free, then you can book a space at the next Colston Jelly here.

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