Baroness Michelle Mone and her husband Doug Barrowman have announced they are to invest £18m in a new workspace concept to meet the post-coronavirus demand from businesses.
Marking their first collaborative business venture as a married couple, neospace will offer 78 tech-led private offices, 20 co-working flexi-pods and nine meeting rooms for companies tackling hybrid working as a result of the pandemic.
Flexible membership plans will be offered at the 55,000 square foot space in Aberdeen instead of long-term fixed leases – along with a state-of-the-art gym, a full timetable of instructor-led exercise classes, a TrackMan golf simulator and steam and sauna rooms.
Baroness Mone described it as “a real labour of love born during lockdown”.
She said: “Scotland is dear to both Doug and I and we want to give something back and where better than Aberdeen, a city that has always excelled in business and innovation – neospace has been designed to support people as they return to work and seek out new ways of working.
“There is a real lethargy around home working, around Zoom calls, around working in silo; people are desperate to get back to work and to see people, but not necessarily in the traditional way – five days a week in a big office space.
“What we have tried to do with neospace is to create a community where ‘work life’ and ‘real life’ collide – ultimately, a multi-use environment where individuals and businesses can work, rest and play, all under one roof.
“Over the past 12 months, the exodus from offices has really challenged people’s mental health and raised big questions about future ways of working.
“Not everyone wants or even needs to spend great swathes of time commuting to an office every day; and not every large corporate wants to be saddled with a large office and a long lease. British business has moved on.
“With neospace, we feel we’ve created an inclusive society and the perfect workspace for both established and small businesses as well as new start-ups; no long-term leases, just rolling memberships and the opportunity to give your employees a safe, healthy and invigorating environment where they can thrive.”
The offices range from space for two people up to a 30-person facility with hot desking also on site.
Mr Barrowman came up with the idea and vision for the concept, utilising Riverside House which his family office has owned since 2012.
He said: “Covid and home working changed the bricks-and-mortar proposition forever.
“For many business owners and entrepreneurs, nothing will ever be the same again when it comes to working life and the traditional office space.
“Our vision with neospace was to create a next-generation workspace to support different working patterns, but – more importantly – to support a fulfilling work environment where health and well-being has equal standing.
“Following the pandemic, no one-size-fits all and that’s the strength of neospace; the space is supremely flexible and designed to be built around individual needs, presenting them with the right space at the right time.”