The Melting Pot on Rose Street announced they were searching for a new city centre space for up to 200 workers in Edinburgh as they revealed ambitious plans to open new co-working hubs around Scotland.
Bosses at the social enterprise said the pandemic had hit their hot-desking business hard, but they are pushing forward with “drastic” changes to provide spaces that provide a safe “middle ground” to prevent people feeling isolated while working at home.
Since opening its doors in 2007, Scotland's Centre for Innovation has helped over one hundred entrepreneurs to get new ventures off the ground through their Good Ideas programme, including the Edinburgh Tool Library, StreetFit Scotland and the Edinburgh Student Arts Festival.
Now they are searching for a larger, Covid-19 fit space in the city centre that will allow up to 200 desks with distancing measures in place and will also lead a research project with the University of Edinburgh to find out workers and employers want from office spaces, funded by Foundation Scotland's response fund.
Founder Claire Carpenter said businesses were making drastic moves to create workplaces needed for Covid-19 times.
“The pandemic has changed the way we work,” she said. “People don’t want to go back to the office full time. Some workspaces are not ready to welcome them back yet.
"Co-working offers a middle ground. Companies can save on operating costs while still offering their employees a workspace outside their home. It's flexible and better for wellbeing, people are not isolated."
"For co-working to really make an impact in this new era, it needs to be hyper local. People should have access to these kinds of workspaces within walking distance of their home.
"We want to make that happen. It starts by scaling up our offering in Edinburgh. We need a bigger space in the city centre and then hope to set up satellite spaces around Edinburgh. And we’re looking to work with local communities to set up similar spaces across Scotland. Co-working is a crucial part of the economic recovery of Scotland.”
Cleo Goodman, communication and social impact manager, said: "We've got our virtual pot for members to keep in touch virtually until we get a new space up and running. Our members have lots of different setups, from self-employed to remote workers.
"They have stuck with us through hard times. I think they all really value and need a community and even if they are bedded in to work from home, most want some in-person contact. We can help bridge that gap."
Simon Francis, founder member of Campaign Collective, said: "Access to The Melting Pot was crucial when my home broadband went down. If the government is serious about getting people to work from home in the longer term, supporting organisations like The Melting Pot to provide this kind of facility will be absolutely crucial."