Can Coworking Space Change the Financial Industry?

As technology becomes an integral part of our lives, it has shifted the way we live, work and interact with one another. These major advancements within the digital economy, such as automation and a growing network of increasingly connected devices, have disrupted virtually industry on the planet. With more connectivity, a growing awareness of the importance of human-eccentric workspaces has blossomed, one of the primary example being the burgeoning coworking space movement. Originally created out of necessity, housing the developing freelance economy, co-working has also resulted in the transformation of the industry as well.

To understand just how influential the co-working movement has been, we can look towards its impact on not just the corporate work structure, but also the way it has affected one of the oldest industries in the world, the financial sector. Seemingly set in stone, the rise of the community mindset has not only changed the physical structure of banks but also greatly contributed to the way the financial sector better serves citizens and businesses. While automation has already facilitated our ability to move money digitally and exchange funds quite seamlessly, will it actually be coworking space, a socially-minded movement that will change the financial industry?

Coworking space has influenced the way banks do business

No matter where you are in the world, banks tend to be rather impersonal. Situated in large imposing buildings, with staff hidden behind cubicles, most people don’t envision the bank as a welcoming place. In recent years the open flexible plan associated with shared workspaces has caught on in the banking world, with banks around the world changing their surroundings to benefit not just customers, but their employees as well. In 2015, the Royal Bank of Scotland opened up their own coworking space, Desk Union, in Edinburgh. Transforming the bank’s most notable location, today, the coworking space isn’t just for RBS employees, but also welcomes everyone from innovators to remote workers, recognizing the importance of a diversified workplace environment.

Financial institutions are becoming centers of innovation

As more and more people end to do their banking online, banks have had time to reflect on their presentation, while also inviting new opportunities to upgrade their services and open themselves to innovation. BNP Paribas Fortis, one of Belgium’s largest banks has reinvented their look to correspond with the many changes taking place today. A “bank for a changing world”, BNP is engaged in various schemes aimed at stimulating the entrepreneurship ecosystem. Offering several platforms that grant entrepreneurs access to funding, called MyMicroInvest, in addition to partnerships with Ulele, a European crowdfunding site that offers give and take incentives which are not necessarily financial. Additionally, BNP pays has paid tribute to co-working, by opening 9 of their own innovation hubs that provide an invigorating workplace that comes with added support from BNP Paribas experts specializing in startups.

Coworking space humanizes financial research

Companies rely heavily on financial analysis when it comes to ensuring things are running smoothly. With a significant increase in connected devices, we now have access to large sets of data that tell us more about ourselves than we ever thought could be humanly possible. For financial institutions, understanding that measuring success is not only dependent on increasing revenue and productivity but also employee well-being. Human-centered market research is now a major part of a balanced financial analysis, with experts in this field taking a note from socially minded workspaces and institutions. Although it is expected that artificial intelligence will be conducting the majority of data analysis, those working in this field will be able to thank the coworking movement for opening up new opportunities for them to work with the human side of the financial industry.

While the there have already been major steps taken towards a more human-centric financial industry, there is still a long way to go. Yet, with banks now opening up their own coworking spaces and financial experts recognizing the value of well-being, we are certainly moving in the right direction.

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