Businesses ‘will thrive given right environment’

FLEXIBLE workspaces that reflect the demand for adaptable and affordable office space are opening in Guernsey as working patterns change – and have a pan-Channel Islands feature.

Les Vardes House in La Charroterie is the first of the Polygon Serviced Offices (PSO) to launch in Guernsey, and the company behind them says it is meeting demand for a different kind of office space that can either grow or shrink as your needs change, which is of course very relevant in the wake of the global pandemic.

Polygon Collective has also moved into Les Vardes House, making it the company’s headquarters and is seeing tenants move in from January 2021 as well.

The Collective said the PSO model was to create ‘smart spaces’ for businesses to thrive, meet and work in as part of a community. Spaces have been designed and equipped to enable anyone from start-ups to established businesses to connect, collaborate and grow.

It will also be the first inter-island space, whereby tenants can freely use the facilities between Guernsey and Jersey as a hub for meetings, work and presentations.

A second building, Bucktrout House, on South Esplanade, featuring serviced offices, is due to start operating at the beginning of 2021. It comes after the Collective expanded its commercial property portfolio with properties to be refurbished specifically for state-of-the-art serviced offices earlier this year.

‘If anything, this year has shown how life as we know it has changed and a drive towards a new way of working and living has emerged,’ said Martin Belcher, founder and chairman of Polygon Collective.

‘We continue to see real demand in bespoke yet flexible and affordable office space. The office certainly isn’t dead, but a shift from the conventional way of working is something that people are thinking more and more about no matter what their size.’

The Collective said its commitment underlined the confidence that it had in the future of the Guernsey economy, at a time when inward investment in the island is extremely important when planning to modernise and refit buildings using local contractors.

Mr Belcher continued: ‘We have faith in the Channel Islands, and we see significant opportunities for expansion in the post-Covid pandemic world, particularly if Guernsey can move forward as a “virus-free bubble”.

‘We think times are changing in how we work and how we look at our working environment. We believe that shorter terms, more flexibility and affordable yet state-of-the-art facilities that create the right environment for businesses to thrive have to be the way forward.’

He also revealed that Polygon has decided to give an annual bursary of £10,000 to assist start-ups and early-stage businesses grow and develop their potential. This year, Digital Motion Workshop founder Aaron Smillie will be receiving the bursary.

Mr Smillie said: ‘We are thrilled to be the recipient of the Polygon bursary. It will be instrumental in helping DMW take the next big leap.

‘We’ll be using the bursary to help employ our very first digital apprentice. We are searching for someone who wants to start a career in animation. They’ll be working directly with me in our incredible new office space at Les Vardes House.

‘DMW is a branding and animation studio dedicated to bringing brands to life. Since our inception that goal has meant many things to our clients, from helping them build creative brand strategies to animating content that tells their unique stories in the most exciting and engaging ways.’

Polygon Collective is an independent and family-owned business with a track record of more than 40 years in the Channel Islands. It has a real estate portfolio in Jersey and Guernsey and now offers serviced offices in both islands as well as having the premier benefits and salary survey analysis company in the Channel Islands in Polymetrix.

Polygon also invests in tech and creative start-ups and earlier stage businesses in the Channel Islands to assist the growth of this important sector.

It has also committed to support local community and charitable initiatives, such as the ‘GuernseyTogether’ pin badges, funding the Gadoc Curtain Up show at the end of lockdown and supporting the Renoir exhibition at Beau Sejour, plus Guernsey arts, theatre, music and rugby amongst others.

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