Office space in London is at a premium, with many freelancers and small business owners finding it impossible to afford rental costs in the city.
When working from home is no longer possible, either due to expansion or suitability of the space, many small businesses are left wondering how and where they’ll find a new space that suits their needs.
In an inspiring example of paying it forward, one financial PR company in London has opened up its space to a small business that was looking for a new home – and created an innovative juxtaposition in the process.
How one business in London pays it forward
Communications firm Lanson’s is based in a large Farringdon office came up with a novel idea for helping a small business find secure premises – it offered its own space.
Lanson’s chair Clare Parsons was introduced to a theatre company called HighTide. HighTide helps new playwrights get their ideas off the ground through a theatre festival and back in 2008, Parsons offered the founders the chance to hot-desk at a few spare workspaces in their office.
The relationship blossomed so much that Lanson’s decided to convert its basement into a suite of offices specifically designed for HighTide. Since Lanson’s doesn’t charge HighTide for the use of the space, the theatre company is able to reinvest its takings on commissioning new work.
You scratch my back…
There’s a long tradition of established companies helping local startups, but often this comes in the form of cash donations. Lanson’s has managed to buck this trend by offering suitable workspace and in return, its own staff get complimentary theatre tickets and the chance to attend read-throughs of new plays in the office.
The relationship has brought a new vitality and energy to Lanson’s space too – you’re as likely to see creatives and cabaret performers wandering around as you are to see PR gurus.
The trend is becoming more popular, with many large firms recognising the many benefits of altruistically sharing their space with startups. For many CEOs it’s a case of remembering their roots – most of them were once sole traders or small businesses trying to fend for themselves.
The benefit for larger firms is that they often get to share skills and knowledge from outside their own industry – a novel approach to staying on top of their game.
As rent prices increase in cities like London, shared workspaces could be the approach that becomes increasingly more common.
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