Customers share RBS office space

Customers share RBS office space

A unique collaboration between RBS and one of the bank’s customers has turned part of an iconic Edinburgh branch into a shared workspace for a community of entrepreneurs.

Desk Union is a newly established business that works both with commercial landlords and corporates who have room to spare, and with small businesses looking for a flexible and affordable workspace.  Victoria Arnold, founder and CEO explains, “The way people work is changing. We’re no longer restricted to set hours or based in office cubicles. Businesses crave ‘touchdown’ workspace, where workers can meet, connect and collaborate with like minded co-workers.”

Now, the first floor of the St Andrew Square branch is providing entrepreneurs with just that. The space which is initially available to Royal Bank of Scotland customers, is open as a touchdown workspace with bookable meeting space and a number of membership options so there is something to meet everybody’s needs. 

The partnership between Desk Union and RBS developed after Chris Wilson, Managing Director of Branch and Private Banking in Scotland, was impressed by a pitch given by Victoria at an event earlier in the year. “Working with Victoria was a great opportunity to support an existing customer, whilst at the same time allowing us to show our commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and playing our part in helping to get the economy moving.” 

The pioneering co-working space, branded Desk Union at The Square consists of 24 workspaces alongside a large meeting room, which is available for hire by the hour. The space opened for business earlier this month and already seven businesses have moved in.

Zoi Kantounatou of Power of Youth, has recently joined other like-minded entrepreneurs and begun working from the newly-opened shared workspace.  So far, it’s going well. “The space has been open less than a week but already there’s a great sense of community.  People are bouncing ideas off each other and starting to work together.  There’s an energy about the place that’s really motivating.”

Russell Dalgleish, Managing Partner, Exolta Capital Partners and Board Member of ‘We Are the Future’ was one of the first to join.  “The doors opened at 10.00 on Monday, and I was here at 10.05 to join up because why wouldn’t you?  It’s a really impressive space in an exceptional location.  We’d got to the stage where we were choosing cafes as meeting venues based on the volume of their background music.  Here we’ve got a really high-quality working environment and meeting space, that’s easy to get to and gives us a certain amount of kudos.  That’s actually really helpful.”

The benefits the project is creating for Edinburgh-based start-up businesses are clear, and Chris is keen for RBS to build on the early success and positive feedback from customers.  He confirms the bank is keen to continue to find new ways to support entrepreneurial customers, adding that, “The money made from this project will be reinvested back into creating similar work-spaces around the country so that other entrepreneurs and businesses can benefit.”

Early feedback from Desk Union customers supports the value of the initiative.  Musing on the future, Russell Dalgleish adds, “This is a great way for entrepreneurs to meet up, network and develop their businesses.  It would be extraordinary if the bank could roll this out within other branches across the UK.  Imagine the effect of that!”

You can book a tour of the space and find out more on the Desk Union website.


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