New Zealand start-ups can enhance innovation and networking by moving to collaborative workplaces, according to a new global survey by Regus.
The survey found that this type of workplace not only reduces costs for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), but can make them more innovative and help them make important business connections.
Unlike traditional offices where companies and even divisions of a company are separated, collaborative workplaces feature people from different companies working in the same office space.
Nick Bradshaw, Country Manager for Regus New Zealand, says collaborative workplaces offer a number of benefits for start-ups that traditional offices lack. “Everyone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone, and this is definitely the case in New Zealand with our famous ‘two degrees of separation’,” he says.
“By giving you face-to-face contact with people from other companies and even other industries, the collaborative workplace allows you to better leverage these personal connections.”
The Regus survey analysed the views of over 22,000 respondents in more than 100 countries including New Zealand. It found 89 percent of respondents think collaborative workplaces are value for money and 89 per cent say that they help reduce cleaning and maintenance costs, both in line with the New Zealand results.
However, New Zealand businesses were even more emphatic than their global peers on the networking benefits of collaborative workplaces.
Collaborative working is seen as a valuable way of creating connections with partners (81%), providers and suppliers (87%) and even potential clients (84%), while 85% of New Zealand respondents think it encourages mingling with other firms.
Networking is particularly important for small businesses. According to Statistics New Zealand, 97% of businesses in New Zealand employ fewer than 20 people.
New Zealand respondents to the Regus survey also believe collaborative working encourages workers to think innovatively (66%) and entrepreneurially (62%).
Importantly for start-ups, collaborative workplaces can reduce the cost of growing their businesses. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (74%) say they allow them to expand and retract more rapidly and without incurring hefty penalties, as they are usually more flexible than traditional leasing arrangements.
Nick Bradshaw says many New Zealand businesses struggle to grow beyond the SME stage, and the high cost of expanding to new premises is one factor. “Unlike traditional leasing arrangements, collaborative workplaces are generally more flexible allowing firms to expand and retract as the market demands.”
March 15, 2015