A thoughtfully designed work environment and a well-curated work experience are known factors in creating an optimal workflow. Yet as the office paradigm shifts away from the typical 9-5 and into more flexible options, we want to know what makes the coworking setup so effective. Defined as membership-based workspaces where diverse groups of independent professionals work together in a shared, communal setting, these coworking spaces have not only gained momentum in popularity, but have paved the way as the best environment to develop a thriving business. Here we examine the top reasons why coworking defies all odds.
Let’s start with the basics. Obtaining a private high quality office in a prime location may be a pipe dream at the current level of your business. By going to a shared office, you are guaranteed a centralized location where you can maintain an address for receiving packages and mail, not to mention personal quick and easy access to transportation, cafés, gym and other supplies.
In addition, coworking spaces are fully equipped. Comfortable lounges to take breaks, spacious conference rooms, mailboxes, and high-quality reception services. The communications technologies and other practical items that a company could need (printers, broadband, etc.) are all taken care of.
2) Save Money & Time
As a freelancer or individual entrepreneur, you get to work in a dream office space without the costs of setting up an actual office. In a shared space you can easily operate your business without needing to budget building rent, fire insurance, office equipment and various other expenses that come with starting a business.
Even if cost isn’t an issue, the time spent on sourcing equipment and furniture, and getting licenses and permits is precious time resource that should go towards building your business or being creative.
Potential to scale your business is a simple and often overlooked factor when making growth projections. Coworking spaces make it easy to scale up as your business thrives. A shared workspace can easily accommodate a business powered by one or five people, as well as providing meeting spaces that can accommodate bigger groups.
Avoiding contracts and long leases allows you be highly flexible and respond rapidly to your company’s growth, expanding or contracting your work environment as needed.
4) Freedom and Flexibility
Studies show that approximately 70% of office professionals prefer to work outside of normal business hours at least some of the time. By having a coworking space that is accessible 24/7, you can decide whether to put in a long day or go out exploring for the afternoon. You can choose a quiet space to focus, or a sit in shared lounge area where interaction comes easily. Autonomy is a large factor in personal contentment and productivity, which (managed properly) can help you thrive.
5) Being Yourself
One of the major benefits of autonomy is that you can truly be yourself. In a shared workspace there is little direct competition or internal politics, you don’t have to assume a work persona to fit in. Working among diverse people doing different kinds of work can in fact make one’s own work identity stronger, as you feel encouraged to proceed in your own individual manner. In addition, co-working spaces promote personal work-life balance by providing spaces to de-stress and recharge during a long day of work.
Working from home or an independent office can be counterproductive as it can produce feelings of isolation. The human, social element of a coworking space can be very healthy. While socializing is never compulsory, the potential of personal interactions can help inspire or motivate you to breathe new life into your work process and finished product. As you mingle with people from other walks of life, you may find solutions arise from shared mutual challenges.
This social setting also gives the ideal opportunity to disengage from work through small-talk (not to mention the increased chance of romantic encounters).
Repeated socializing over time turns into community. Having a co-working space comes with the perk of being surrounded by goal oriented and high-achieving people, who together create their own internal culture of support and motivation. Coworkers report that having a community to support them helps create new structures and discipline that stimulates further work initiatives. Of course, this is in addition to the pleasant warm and fuzzy feelings that come with feeling supported by your peer group.
A strong community is the most effective platform to begin networking. In a coworking environment, you are exposed to new ideas from other industries not usually within your network – small business owners, edge thinkers, professional freelancers and other entrepreneurs.
Being part of a coworking community means you are surrounded by potential partners, clients or mentors. You can outsource talented peers to help you with specific projects or time sensitive tasks, or turn to them for advice in shared challenges, such as opening a business bank account or how to obtain low-risk financing. A writer may collaborate with the graphic designer across from them, or a programmer with a web designer.
9) Innovation Culture
Studies show that the majority of people who utilize co-working spaces are younger than 40. The collaborative and unprecedented nature of the coworking environments seems to attract this demographic. According to a recent article in Forbes, “this new generation of employee not only thrives in highly collaborative workplaces, but is now making this a key requirement in selecting where to work”.
The values of this younger generation assist in creating an internal hub of innovation, governed by autonomy, inspiration and expansion.
10) Social Movement
In the case you need a cause bigger than yourself, participating in a co-working space also means you are part of a greater social movement worldwide. The Coworking Manifesto is an online document signed by members of more than 1,700 working spaces. It defines the values that the co-working movement aspires to, such as community, collaboration, learning, and sustainability.