The past few years have seen coworking spaces increase in popularity among startups and freelancers, who have been flocking to these purpose-built hubs to reap the benefits of shared office life.
But it’s not only the small businesses and self-employed of the world who stand to gain from jumping on the collaborative, co-hab bandwagon. Some major corporations like Microsoft, Facebook and Starbucks have also been experimenting with coworking spaces for a number of reasons. Here, we explore how more traditional companies can – and should – be incorporating shared offices into the mix.
What is a coworking space?
Coworking spaces are different to traditional offices in that they house an amalgamation of companies, freelancers and contractors, who all carry out their jobs under the same roof. They’re often modern and funky with a clear focus on providing an exceptional working environment for workers to utilise, with shared lounge, bar and hangout areas, fully equipped meeting rooms and other fun perks. Cleaning and maintenance are taken care of by the building’s owners and membership fees can be much cheaper than renting a traditional office space, plus they often require less commitment.
That all makes sense for startups and freelancers, but why can bigger, more established companies benefit from them too?
Ditching the corporate machine
With one recent study citing that 77% of office workers feel their workspace has an impact on their sense of (or lack of) fulfillment, it feels like an office-life revolution is imminent. In many industries, it’s no longer feasible to expect people to rock up to the same, monotonous space every day. People want flexibility, freedom and far more options. They want to be able to go to one side of town one day, and another the next depending on their commitments, and to experience regular changes of scenery to keep them from stagnating. When all’s said and done – the world of work is changing, so more traditional companies need to change too.
Rubbing shoulders with innovators
There’s evidence to show that people thrive in coworking spaces – more so than in a traditional office space. This is most probably down to things like an unmistakable sense of community, plus the flexibility that comes from having more than one work environment at their disposal. But there’s also a huge amount to be said for the fact that workers can learn from, and gain inspiration from other like-minded thinkers. By using coworking spaces, more established companies can reap the rewards of having their staff rub shoulders with innovative startups, inducing the kind of creativity and motivation you could only dream to find in a traditional office.
Saving a few welcome bucks
Coworking spaces could save larger companies money, too. A full-scale, fully furnished office could be ditched for a smaller core office and a few coworking spaces dotted around the city. This way, staff get to enjoy the flexibility of working in a place that suits them, and employers cut the costs of things like providing food, drinks, luxurious furnishings and expensive office facilities.
Integrating teams and impressing clients
For large scale projects that involve various teams from both your own business and your clients’, bringing everyone together in a coworking space can be a great way to enhance the collaboration experience. By housing a project team under one roof, you get to cut out all that wasted time from travelling between offices, not to mention those awkward and unsuccessful conference calls where people struggle to get heard.
Coworking spaces tend to be about two things – convenience and improving the quality of working life. So when it comes to finding one or more shared offices for your company, try to assess things like location, proximity to key travel points, facilities and the overall aesthetic and vibe of the space. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be well on your way to a flexible, creative and happier company culture. And who can argue with that?