THINK of pro-working as co-working’s more mature older sibling, who is also better dressed and much more sophisticated.

Linda Trim, a director at FutureSpace, a high-end work space joint venture between Investec Property and workplace specialists Giant Leap, said: “Pro-working is rapidly growing in popularity with professionals and businesses worldwide that want a shared workspace that meets their polished image.” She said that pro-working has introduced a new kind of shared work spaced that is more advanced than co-working and which focuses more on services than just the space, much like a five-star hotel. “There is now a clear and growing distinction between co-working spaces that tend to cater to freelancers, and pro-working offices that offer a more formal, luxurious environment with facilities to match.”

She added that in the past few years, many long-established and professional businesses became conscious of the benefits that sharing a workspace had to offer, such as reduced cost office space, collaboration, networking, and exchanging skills and knowledge. “The problem they faced was that many locations on the market just didn’t fit with their identity. They were utilitarian and geared towards freelancers, as well as more informal start-ups and lacked services like the latest technology and formal spaces in which to meet clients. “They were hip and often grungy and clearly not the best fit for professionals who want their workspace to match their image – and not be disturbed by endless games of ping pong,” Trim said. But now that companies and consultants operating on a more traditional structure are learning about the benefits of sharing workspace with like-minded businesses, the market is looking to accommodate their needs. As much as pro-working is a play on co-working, it has evolved from a typical serviced office set-up, but with the added element of the best boutique hotel hospitality such as concierge services, personal assistants and access to gyms.

Trim said: “In addition, the pro-working offering is inspired by the community spirit that co-working has brought to modern office life. Pro-working aims to allow formal businesses to create communities with compatible professionals. “Co-working made this transition effortless for lone workers and small companies who depended on flexible work options. Now pro-working is doing the same for the professional set.” She said that one of the key workplace trends today was to really invest in your people and make sure they were happy and able to produce their best work, which is why the shared market is such a hit the world over. “Pro-working places are particularly appealing for companies that want to expand because the offices are ‘on-demand’ – there is no need for lengthy procurement processes or Financial Intelligence Centre Act requirements. “They also offer extreme flexibility in that the office space is there for as short or long a time as you want it,” said Trim.

Linda Trim is a director at workplace design specialists FutureSpace

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