Utilising Corporate Office Space: Q&A With Victoria Arnold, Desk Union CEO
On July 9th 2014 Desk Union signed a revenue share partnership with the Royal Bank of Scotland that allowed them to utilise the banks corporate office space as a Desk Union co-working hub. The Co-Working space, named Desk Union at The Square, is situated on the first floor of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s flagship headquarters in Edinburgh. It is initially open for RBS customers only, but intends to open its doors to the general public soon. According to Victoria Arnold, CEO of Desk Union, the space is already thriving.
What reaction have you had, two months in?
The response has far exceeded what we expected. In month one we had 15 members sign up to use the space and took more than 40 hours of meeting room bookings. As soon as potential members see the space they just seem to love it. It’s such a wonderful feeling to know that you’ve created the kind of working environment people want to be a part of.
How does this co-working space differ from others?
The Scottish co-working market is fairly under developed in comparison with the rest of the UK. Where it does exist, it’s still very formal and shares the ambience of a business centre or similar. We wanted to create a community focused space. We’ve collaborated with local business to supply items for the space, we’ve up cycled furniture and (we hope) we have created a relaxed place to work that offers a place to focus but have fun too. As a growth business ourselves, we can completely relate to our members, on a level that most operators can’t. This means that we know what the market wants and how best to deliver it.
What inspired you to use corporate space for co-working?
We wanted to do things differently, and join the dots between empty commercial space and growing businesses. There are so many value added benefits for corporate organisations in developing workspace for customers and stakeholders such as customer insight, marketing and CSR. Equally it opens Grade A, prime location space up to growth businesses. It’s a win for all involved. Another example of how collaborative consumption can benefit corporates and small businesses.
What does this mean for Desk Union in the future?
Our vision for Desk Union is to roll our corporate co-working concept across many more RBS branches, and over the next 12 months, establish partnerships with new corporate clients across the UK.
Might we see more co-working spaces opening up in corporate buildings?
Absolutely! We hope to have our second RBS space operational by Summer 2015… and we don’t plan on stopping there ;-)
Victoria Arnold has been CEO of Desk Union since June 2012. As an entrepreneur, Victoria found she needed space that could offer flexibility that was affordable and around like minded people. Discovering a surprising lack of options for new economy business owners and spotting that many larger businesses were downsizing in the struggling economy, Victoria set up Desk Union as an online marketplace to connect SMB’s and Entrepreneurs with companies who had unused workspace.
To find out more about Desk Union take a look at their website: www.deskunion.co.uk