Why Charlotte, NC is Pursuing Non-Traditional Office Spaces
While that’s generally a dogma of progression, these days, there are still offices that haven’t adopted a modern environment. This is particularly the case in Charlotte, NC, where traditional office setups are still quite common. At a glance, it makes sense. Charlotte has a heavy presence of financial corporations, so there’s nothing surprising about good old-fashioned offices being their space. But with tech companies and startups expressing interest in Charlotte, NC, to chase young and innovative employees, traditional workplaces are running to catch up with the change.
While non-traditional office spaces are not the status quo for current office environments in Charlotte, it can be rather easy to adapt with the times. Non-traditional offices spaces, as explained by business.com, “accommodate a company’s geographic barriers, per its digital workplaces, as well as its employees’ individual and collective needs, be it from diversity or otherwise.”
In layman terms, non-traditional office spaces aren’t just about modern aesthetics and open workspaces — although those features definitely are common — but instead, they’re focused on fostering a welcoming and flexible office culture. This may come in the form of the ability to work from home, the ability for employees to dictate their own hours, and features such as full kitchens and fitness areas within the office building.
The importance of non-traditional office spaces can’t be understated. For younger employees, the appeal of a non-traditional office may be flexibility of space, facilities, and working hours. Meanwhile, older employees may appreciate the flexibility in other ways; for example, employees with children can better cater to their kids’ schedules.
Beyond appealing to all generations — because who wouldn’t want a cool new workplace – cutting-edge offices also have productivity benefits. A non-traditional office space typically results in higher creativity, productivity, happiness, and satisfaction from employees. All of these benefits thus lead to better work. Period.
Entrepreneurs who are based in North Carolina and pursuing office space may also love non-traditional options. While coworking has taken much of the U.S. by storm — especially in large markets like New York City, Silicon Valley, Atlanta, and Los Angeles — Charlotte is just catching on to the benefits of non-traditional office spaces of the sort. This trend, which is inching across the country at a voracious pace, has some impressive statistics. “More corporate clients are turning to this kind of space for innovation labs and in-house incubators,” according to Curbed, “and the desire for a different experience with more networking opportunities means more demand for operators large and small.”
These innovative spaces serve as an example for old-fashioned workplaces to learn from. A recent Gaston County space in downtown Belmont, NC serves as an emerging face. The new firm, TechWorks, serves as a coworking space for entrepreneurs and startups. The office boasts an open floor plan, large meeting rooms, outdoor workspace, and access to technology that most people can’t get their hands on. This transition from the stuffy setup of offices past, to a new one focused on modern design and innovation, is a great example of appealing not only to younger folks, but also to workers of all ages who are looking for a more relaxed — albeit productive — workplace.
These aren’t just anecdotal statements; the research doesn’t lie. As reported by Forbes, “The number of co-working spaces has increased to about 7,800 worldwide, a rise of 36% between 2014 and 2015.” And coworking isn’t just for budding entrepreneurs. Coworking spaces are heading to Charlotte as tech firms follow and utilize non-traditional office spaces as well.
The interest in the Charlotte market for offices that will house tech firms is supported by data as well. Along with Idaho, “North Carolina had the largest increases in software’s contribution to GDP [from 2014 to 2016].” Additionally, North Carolina’s software GDP grew 41% to $3.8 billion in those 2 years. Employers are following talent, and it’s increasingly clear that talent lies outside of Silicon Valley. Two big firms, Infosys as well as Swiss bank Credit Suisse, made their way to North Carolina last fall.
It’s reassuring that tech firms are increasingly popular in the Charlotte market — and more importantly, that they’ll keep making their way here. Corporations and developers alike are seeing the benefits of investing in non-traditional office spaces in the Charlotte market and Belmont, NC area. After all, higher employee satisfaction and efficiency are nothing to sneeze at. This trend, as evidenced by its growing prominence, points to how the modern workplace has evolved. In the past, the ultimate goal was a corporate job where you could climb the ladder and snag a corner office. However, these days the name of the game is innovative space. On a corporate level as well as in the entrepreneurial sector, times are changing, and quite frankly, that’s a good thing. If you’re able to adapt to the future of office spaces, then you’re sure to experience work in a different light.
by Alexis Dent