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For Siemens USA, a Boston coworking space provided all the answers
There was a time when coworking spaces were traditionally thought of as the preserve of the plucky startup. With low barriers to entry (it’s possible to rent a desk or a meeting room by the hour, if that’s all you need), it made sense for a new business just starting out. In fact, Uber started life this way. But large corporations can benefit from collaborative office space too, as Siemens USA Head of Real Estate Michael Kruklinski explains.
In an interview with the Commercial Property Executive website, he reveals why Siemens opted for a coworking space in Boston – its first in the US – in its search for a new office. After discussions with employees, the company realised that what workers needed were a set of different spaces to move between depending on the task at hand. “There are three types of spaces at SCW@Boston,” Kruklinski says of the company’s SCW-branded premises, adding: “clubhouse (kitchen and recreation), garden area (“soft-seating”, collaborative area) and grove area (bench seating, offices, traditional work area).”
For Siemens, it was all about creating “a series of neighbourhoods” to move about in during the day – something the office space-provider was happy to accommodate. “The idea was to give our employees dedicated areas that match their style of work,” Kruklinski explains. “For instance, if they want a quiet space where they can work in a traditional environment, the grove area is perfect.”
The coworking space was the result of extensive consultation with colleagues – millennial workers in particular are increasingly asking for more flexibility and a better work/life balance, and those employed by large corporates are no exception. “After observing how our internal customers were demanding a push for flexibility and shorter terms, we came to the conclusion that the needs for a corporation like ours couldn’t be met by the offerings on the market,” Kruklinski says.
Alongside networking opportunities for workers, coworking space also allows them flexibility – and for the organisation too. If an outside division needs to be added to the mix to work on a particular project, say, then that can easily happen – and it can happen at speed, without any of the red tape involved in negotiating a more traditional lease. It’s all part of the dynamic offering that a coworking environment can offer a company, whatever its size. Given that Uber started life in a similar space, followed by exponential growth as its business spread into new markets all over the world, perhaps flexspace was the only sensible option.