By 2018, the number of companies using coworking spaces globally is predicted to double from 2015 to reach 1 million, according to Deskmag’s Global Coworking survey.
What’s driving this rapid growth of coworking? It is none other than its popularity with employees and effectiveness in driving value for companies.
Demand for coworking space has been fueled by tech startups, entrepreneurs and freelancers, who are attracted by its low cost and flexibility which supports the way they naturally work.
For many, the boom in coworking spaces has been instrumental in providing a productive, creative, and satisfying work atmosphere that allows for community spirit, valuable networking opportunities and fruitful brainstorming sessions.
In the current volatile market environment, introducing coworking could provide value and help your organization navigate through the challenges that it is currently facing. Here are five recognized benefits of coworking spaces that you could consider when thinking through your real estate strategy.
Build collaboration and community
Coworking spaces play an important role in providing an incubator for like-minded people to explore ideas and interact. This provides a stage for collaboration between a community of startups and independent professionals who are drawn to the idea of sharing and open exchange of knowledge and skills.
The space also brings vibrant networking opportunities across a diverse mix of industries, social backgrounds, professional expertise and knowledge—allowing you to tap into a whole new world of knowledge and resources that your organization wouldn’t have had in a conventional office.
Many organizations are moving away from formal structures that segregate workers and impede knowledge and information-sharing. The beauty of coworking is that it provides an opportunity for people to build relationships with contacts who they may not normally come into contact with on a day-to-day basis.
The creative spirit of communal work spaces and a built-in social environment in coworking spaces allows for ideas to flow freely, making it a catalyst for innovation. By placing staff at off-site shared spaces where they can mix with workers from other companies or inviting companies to make use of coworking spaces within existing offices, you are providing opportunities for new ideas to be born.
One of the best advantages of coworking spaces is the flexibility. A space can be used on flexible terms when the need to operate from a specific location is required; and the space can also take the form of a shared drop-in “hot desk” or even a dedicated private office—the freedom of choice brings a level of agility and flexibility hard to match in traditional offices.
Coworking spaces also provide variety in space design and fit-out, which are often created to inspire and cater to different nature and stages of a business. For example, freelancers or in-house marketing or sales teams may find artistic and creative atmospheres more appealing, while tech startups and business functions might appreciate a more community-led environment. Give your employees control over how, where or when they want to work and they will thank you by working harder in return.
Speak to any millennial entering the workforce on their employer of choice and the probability of hearing either “Facebook” or “Google” is high. This signals an aspiration to work for an organization that promotes the idea of fun workplaces, community atmosphere and the opportunity to extract rich learning experiences.
The next-gen workforce is moving away from cookie-cutter cubicles and hierarchical work environments and placing higher priorities on social interaction, peer networking and collaboration opportunities. Coworking environments can be a powerful tool in harnessing the creative potential of the next generation of employees. Groom your next generation of leaders by providing them with an environment that supports how they work.
Companies continue to face intense pressure to reduce the operating expense of their real estate. While cost reduction is typically not the primary driver of coworking, it creates an opportunity for more efficient utilization of space as part of a broader workplace strategy.
For example, technology and innovation giant IBM no longer provides an office for some employees, allowing them the flexibility to work from home. Employees without a home office in place may prefer to have business amenities and rent coworking spaces at their own expense. Alternatively, an option could also be to monetize excess space by offering it as a coworking space on a short to long-term basis.
Coworking is making the leap from hot new trend to mainstream and is here to stay. Stay on top of this trend and begin considering how this approach can be applied within a wider workplace program.
Interested to find out more about Future of Work? Learn more about our outlook on the changing world of work here.