Abigale Neate-Wilson: Workspaces need to be anchored in communities

The Whisky Bond.
The Whisky Bond.
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They say it takes a village to raise a child, but what does it take to raise a village?

Once upon a time, property developers would build an office block for it to be snapped up quickly by corporate businesses who really just needed walls and a roof for their employees.

The property market was booming; employees were plentiful, and whether or not they liked their office was not a matter of concern for their bosses. Factory next door pumping smoke into the office? Deal with it. Dark alleyways all around and no lift to the top floors? We pay you!

Times change. With the ‘Google effect’ changing how we view the workplace – no longer just bricks and mortar, but a place where employees might actually want to come to work; a slim-lined workforce and a thriving creative and cultural sector; the time had come for businesses to view their spaces differently, or risk losing out.

Add to this new health, safety and wellbeing legislation and a more competitive office market, and it started to become clear that offices needed to stop being so square.

Staff no longer wanted to travel to work with nowhere to go at lunchtime. Nearby cafes, gyms and shops began to clock on and realise the potential of being near to, and collaborating with, workspaces that can house up to thousands of hungry, fitness-loving people. Collaboration, between businesses and even departments within businesses, became a buzzword. Like-minded companies and organisations began to gather in the same location.

In short, destinations and ‘hotspots’ – villages – were being created.

There are very few places in Scotland where this has been more evident than at The Whisky Bond. Located in an area where (few would argue) it would have been nigh on impossible to visualise a thriving creating scene even a decade ago – we are now home to a whole community of designers, makers, creators and brand builders.

Our community collaborates, socialises and exercises on the amazing waterfront setting. Around us, in a previously somewhat isolated radius, now lives a blossoming community of like-minded people, water-sport facilities and cultural organisations such as The Glue Factory and Scottish Opera, all of whom have been attracted by the destination. The village.

This has been helped along immensely by other organisations with the same vision. Scottish Canals have worked tirelessly to regenerate the area, now dotted with houseboats and fantastic waterside leisure facilities. We are no longer a workspace in isolation; we are at the heart of a waterfront community that shares our ideals.

It takes a village to raise a child but it takes a shared vision to raise a village. The creative sector has taught us that working isolation is all but archaic, and we couldn’t agree more.

Abigale-Neate Wilson is Project Manager at The Whisky Bond

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