As more and more news stories internationally are covering coworking, it is gaining in popularity and people are asking, what is a coworking space?
Wikipedia says: Coworking is an arrangement in which workers of different companies share an office space, allowing cost savings and convenience through the use of common infrastructures, such as equipment, utilities, and receptionist and custodial services, and in some cases refreshments and parcel acceptance services. It is attractive to independent contractors, independent scientists, telecommuting larger work teams that want flexibility and to avoid wasted real estate space if some employees are working from home, and work-at-home professionals, and people who travel frequently. Additionally, coworking helps workers avoid the feeling of isolation they may experience while telecommuting, traveling, or working at home alone, and eliminate distractions.
With more than 2000 coworking spaces around the world, the coworking movement has been in rapid development over the past decade. It is therefore hardly new, but is definitely gaining in popularity. It’s a way of working that provides a collaborative space for remote workers, freelancers, entrepreneurs, startups, and small companies to work together. It’s often done in an open plan environment with shared resources in order to develop a sense of community, while saving expenses compared to traditional leases. It’s different than a typical leased workspace because the people in coworking offices generally are not all working for the same company.
The idea of a collaborative working environment is to give people the opportunity to work in an inspiring, functionable, workspace with other professionals. It’s a perfect fit after working at home through a pandemic and acts as a great break from any routine. Many companies are now offering coworking space to their employees or guests. Coworking offices also often serve as a go-to hot desk for executives that are traveling or on the go. When the hotel doesn’t offer a business center or needs more amenities, coworking is the answer.
Coworking spaces tend to combine the best of a home office with a social environment. Working there, a person has the benefits working from home, such as solitude of an office, the freedom to simply sit on a couch, and the ability to work with others and have coffee chats on a regular basis. When a Coworking space has a variety of businesses in one location, it further helps businesses to grow by meeting people and creating partnerships. It gives daily opportunities, where traditional leases of one business in one space, does not.
Additionally, coworking spaces offer more than just an office space and meeting place; they also act as incubators for small businesses by providing resources like conference and training rooms, recording studios, event spaces, etc. This allows entrepreneurs to spend less money on starting their own business and focus on providing what they do best – their product or service.
Coworking spaces offer the same amenities you would find in a traditional office, along with a lot more. Reception services, such as a shared mailbox or delivery location with mail distribution, along with printing and copy services are often included. Custom décor, or predecorated office suites, along with lounges, meeting rooms and an assortment of beverages and snacks are also part of most coworking memberships. Let us not forget that the basics such as wifi, utilities, and cleaning services are all free, even for those coworking businesses that have daily plans.
A key differentiator between a traditional lease and coworking is the length of contract. Most coworking facilities offer annual contracts, rather than multi-year leases. Many also offer monthly or even daily drop-in rates, so it can be a lot more affordable than being tied to a lease with annual price increases, especially if part of your workforce is working from home, some, or all of the time.
People want flexibility. They want to be allowed to work from home, make their own hours, and pop in the office for meetings or to focus. Everyone is different and there is no one-size-fits-all in the work place anymore.
Additionally, the world is evolving into a more experience-based society that is looking to see more and do more every day. From escape rooms, to scavenger hunts and social media, people always want to do doing something. Sitting leisurely at a desk, clocking in and out day after day is not exciting. Coworking brings a bit of newness and excitement to the daily grind of making a living. Along with the affordability and amenities, coworking locations also have different environments, from casual to corporate, and modern or relaxed, the atmospheres differ from place to place. It is therefore important to choose a space that matches your personality or company culture.
Coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular because they are meant to be cost effective. For small businesses or freelancers who don’t have the capital to invest in their own office setup, or simply don’t want to, coworking spaces are a great alternative – they offer high-quality facilities at an affordable price.
So in answer to what is coworking, it’s all of the above and utilizing the office of the future in the best way possible.