With more and more businesses realising the benefits of working remotely and not being tied to a single location, we’re seeing an influx of workers turning to coworking spaces and shared offices. In fact, it’s estimated that almost five million people will be working from a coworking space by 2024.
But what exactly is a coworking space and what can it mean for your business? In this article, we’ll uncover everything you need to know about the rise of coworking spaces, how they can benefit you and how to find the perfect space to work from.
What is coworking space?
A coworking space is a shared office or working space where individuals and businesses can work alongside one another, regardless of whether they work for the same company or not. Coworking spaces are an affordable and flexible alternative to traditional offices, serviced offices or home environments, offering a collaborative space for any type of business or entrepreneur.
How does a coworking space work?
While it might sound self-explanatory, there’s a bit more to a coworking space than just turning up and getting on with it. Many coworking memberships enable you to choose how to work in a coworking space, whether you prefer to rent a private desk or hot desk. Some also offer pay as you go coworking space where you only pay for what you use.
Once you have a membership, you can either start building relationships and a stronger presence with your private desk space or enjoy the freedom and flexibility of hot desking in different locations. At Easy Offices, we enable you to rent a desk by the hour so you can work conveniently from any one of our coworking spaces in the UK.
What’s included in a coworking space?
There’s a reason why big corporations are moving into coworking spaces, and it’s not just the flexibility or affordability when compared to traditional leased office space. Coworking spaces usually come with everything you need to run your business and keep yourself and your employees happy.
Most coworking spaces provide you with super-fast WiFi, a telephone and communal kitchen area as part of your fee. Depending on the space, some coworking offices will benefit from business lounges, meeting room facilities and even staffed reception areas to help with admin tasks. Many also provide you with plenty of networking opportunities and events to help you boost your reputation and build relationships with other professionals.
Why use a coworking space?
While freelancers make up around 41% of a coworking hub’s workforce, this doesn’t mean these locations can’t be beneficial for other businesses. There are several reasons why someone might use a coworking space, whether you’re a freelancer, a startup or an established business looking to move costs away from a fixed premises. Here are some of the key advantages of coworking space.
By working alongside other professionals, you never know who you’re going to meet or who might make a significant change to your business. It’s possible to find mentors who can help you grow your business, new clients, fresh talent or professionals in a similar industry who could have a mutual benefit for both your businesses.
In the modern workplace, flexibility is key. Research has found that 71% of people consider flexible working as important to their job satisfaction and coworking spaces can really help your business to become more flexible.
If you’ve always worked on a 9–5, single office basis, coworking could provide you with the opportunity to offer flexible locations and working hours for your employees, giving them a better life balance and improved morale.
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Coworking spaces are great for growing businesses or those who need to scale up and down depending on requirements. Most memberships are flexible and allow you to rent more or fewer desks depending on the needs of your organisation. For example, if your business experiences a seasonally busy time of year, you could rent more desks for any temporary employees you have hired.
You can even hire desks on an hour-by-hour basis, letting you simply use a workspace for the time you need without paying for a full day.
As well as the affordability that comes with only paying for the desk you are using, coworking spaces also offer more ways to save money. With a traditional office, you’ll need to pay for furniture and other building costs like energy. You’ll also need to fund amenities for your staff like WiFi, tea and coffee and kitchen snacks. All of these costs add up, but in a coworking space, most of these are included in your membership fee depending on the space you occupy.
In a similar way to collaboration, coworking spaces also enable businesses to take advantage of networking opportunities. This could be in the form of a networking event at your office or simply chatting to other coworking space users while you make a coffee. On average, a coworking space has around 190 members, giving you lots of different people to interact and engage with.
What makes a good coworking space?
What one person deems as a good coworking space will largely depend on their business needs and specific requirements. Therefore, there are a few things you should consider when thinking about how to choose a coworking space.
A good coworking space will be in a location that makes sense for your business and is convenient for you to travel to. For example, if you are in the finance industry, it would be advantageous to work from a space in London, specifically the city of London where many other financial organisations are based.
As with any office space, cost will be a consideration. A good coworking space will offer value for money and be within your budget. You should always weigh up what is included in your membership for the price when comparing to other coworking spaces.
Usually, the more amenities the better – as long as they are relevant to your business and you will make use of them. For example, a coworking space might have a wellness centre that can be used by members, but if you’re not someone who would use it then it might be better to look for a coworking space that offers amenities better suited to your interests – you would still be paying for it, after all.
With over 1,000 coworking spaces in the UK alone, it’s important to look for a space that aligns with your style. You might need a space with bookable meeting rooms, or an office that enables you to book a private room from time to time. However, you may also prefer an open plan design with plenty of room for creativity and collaboration with others.
While some businesses like to run a traditional 9–5, it’s not unusual for startups or freelancers to require more flexible office hours. This is a key thing to look out for when you consider what makes a good coworking space, and many will have 24-hour access to cater for these needs.
As the name ‘coworking’ suggests, a good coworking space will always have a sense of community and an environment that fosters networking and collaboration. Research even suggests that 79% of professionals have expanded their social networks by working in a coworking space.
You should research whether your space has multiple communal areas, business lounges or regular meetups to help you build relationships with other like-minded professionals.
How to find coworking spaces
Once you’ve established what a good coworking space looks like to you and your business, you can begin your search. It’s a good idea to start searching for coworking spaces in your desired location on the Easy Offices website, before going into the details to find the right space for you. Our coworking space search is also a great tool for helping you find the perfect office.