Long seen as the preserve of startups and freelance tech talent, coworking spaces are growing more popular with each passing year.
The offer of greater flexibility – along with attractive lifestyle features such as free on-site coffee bars and yoga classes – means that even large, well-established companies are embracing shared workspaces as a fresh alternative to conventional offices.
What is a coworking space?
A coworking space is a shared office which allows companies and freelance workers to rent individual desks or private rooms, typically by the month. This means that any number of different organisations and self-employed freelancers can share communal facilities in an open, relaxed environment.
Basic costs, such as internet connection and catering, are rolled into the monthly rental fee, and many co-working spaces offer more luxury amenities such as yoga studios and prosecco bars. High levels of comfort and stylish design are often a crucial factor in defining the ethos of a shared workspace, which aims to help its users feel at home whilst also fostering a creative, collaborative atmosphere.
At the premium end of what’s on offer, co-working spaces can resemble a mixture between a boutique hotel, stylish coffee bar and private members club. This article from ChargeSpot on co-working spaces also offers a good summary.
What are the benefits of a coworking space?
- Coworking spaces are perfect for growing businesses which have flexible space requirements. If a short-term project requires extra freelance employees, businesses can rent an extra bank of desks for a few months. If a business’s needs contract and expand, so too can the amount of space they rent.
- The appeal of a coworking space, however, isn’t just a question of flexibility. Many small businesses prefer to work in a shared environment because of the networking opportunities it provides, especially if a cluster of businesses from the same field are grouped together.
- It’s also argued that a shared workspace encourages creativity and collaboration. By placing employees in a large, open space – surrounded by the energy of other, equally busy teams – they may feel more inspired, more able to take creative risks and think innovatively.
Is coworking a good choice for my business?
It will depend on a number of different factors, as described above, but here are a few pointers to help you decide.
- This article from the Harvard Business Review does a good job of selling the plus points of a communal work environment.
- Ask yourself whether the most important work you do tends to be done in private. Not all businesses will benefit from being cheek by jowl with other organisations. There's nothing wrong with wanting closed-off, private space for your company.
- If you're not sure about it, it's a good idea to browse other options at the same time. We also offer a great selection of hot desks, private office spaces and serviced offices.