In Business Centre Blog, News, Uncategorised

The Winchester Business Centre, on incubator space for small and start-up businesses run by the Winchester BID, has proven more successful than any initial predictions. This is great news for the BID as the centre generates additional income to be spent on projects and services for the wider city and it is proof that the district generally has a thriving entrepreneurial spirit which is surely positive. Reviewing the membership list of the Winchester Business Centre however highlights a different group of centre users, these people are not new freelancers setting up on their own or established small businesses looking for a break from their home office – they are employees in the very traditional sense, processed through the payroll of distant companies (sometimes even overseas) technically ‘homeworkers’ who have made a decision to branch out and find themselves a new kind of office space.
I recently read a piece from the Harvard Business Review entitled If Work Is Digital Why Do We Still Go To The Office it was an interesting discussion of the fact that the vast majority of office jobs can be fulfilled remotely in the twenty first century and yet for some reason we continue the daily pilgrimage to the office. This could be a result of being slow to adapt to change but the HBR, and for what it’s worth I, disagree. The article says, ‘[w]hat early digital commentators missed is that even if we can work from anywhere, that does not mean we want to. We strive for places that allow us to share knowledge, to generate ideas, and to pool talents and perspectives. Human aggregation, friction, and the interaction of our minds are vital aspects of work, especially in the creative industries. And that is why the quality of the physical workplace is becoming more crucial than ever — bringing along watershed changes.’
The Winchester Business Centre was launched to encourage the development of new businesses within the city and this is an objective that the centre continues to achieve but it appears that the centre has filled another gap in the Winchester market – a home for isolated telecommuters, in fact I recently spoke to a potential user of the centre who suggested that he was looking for an office for a couple of days a week not because of his role or to seek out networking opportunities but simply to get out of the house and benefit his mental health. The cubicle offices of the late twentieth century may be being dismantled rapidly but it seems that the four walls of the home office are not the small box that will rush in to fill the space – humans are collaborative social creatures and so, it would seem, our working lives are beginning to embrace that pulling us into collaborative and social spaces.

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