What are Coworking Spaces?
Coworking spaces provide an office-like environment for remote workers. Individual remote workers – as well as small businesses- share coworking spaces because they are affordable, resourceful, and come with many perks.
Industry pundits believe there are currently around 20,000 coworking spaces worldwide. There’s likely to be a great coworking space near you, too.
And despite stunted growth from recent social distancing regulations, that figure is expected to double by 2024. By then, some five million of us will be doing our day-to-day duties from a coworking space—and all this meteoric growth comes at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty.
Benefits of Coworking Spaces
So why are more and more people flocking to coworking spaces? What’s prompting freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small to medium businesses (SMBs) to abandon traditional models and jump on board the Coworking bandwagon?
As it turns out, there are lots of good reasons. In this article, we’ll cover ten compelling benefits that Coworking brings to your lifestyle.
The primary cause to consider joining a coworking space is productivity. People get more work done when based in a comfortable, attractive, and community-centric environment—the hallmarks of a successful coworking space.
While working from home has its advantages, distractions inevitably pop up throughout the day. Crying children, nagging chores, and unexpected social calls can break your concentration, making it difficult to get in “the zone.”
People go to coworking spaces to work. Yes, socialization does take place, but typically after-office hours or during designated networking events. Plus, being physically present in a professional workplace helps put you into “work mode,” fostering a sense of purpose and enhancing productivity.
But don’t take our word for it. The boffins at Harvard Business Review took a long hard look at the Coworking phenomena. After much deliberation, they concluded the coworking environment encourages businesses and individuals to thrive.
Although some networking occurs when working from home, the employee must actively seek out opportunities. In a traditional office environment, networking is primarily confined to clients and colleagues. As bright and resourceful as they may be, there’s a limited pool to choose from.
In the coworking space, however, networking comes naturally. Fresh faces appear throughout the year, offering new perspectives and bringing eclectic experiences to the workplace.
While Coworking, you’ll inevitably get introduced to industry professionals you wouldn’t have met otherwise. And a chance encounter with the right individual can be the spark your business needs to become a raging inferno. For aspiring freelancers and entrepreneurs, this is likely the most relevant benefit of going to coworking spaces.
Some coworking spaces focus on a specific sector to optimize networking opportunities. Creatives flock to funky inner-city spots to cozy up with fellow designers and writers, while IT professionals hover around their own tech-centric home grounds. Choosing a coworking space that aligns with your industry lets you create promising new connections.
What’s more, coworking spaces host regular networking events, from intimate brainstorming sessions to insightful presentations. These get-togethers not only enhance your industry expertise; they also help you connect with like-minded professionals.
And who knows? A casual conversation with a coworking chum could evolve into a lucrative long-lasting business relationship.
Coworking gives you the chance to collaborate closely with talented professionals in your field. Whether you’re working alongside a company colleague or a newfound acquaintance, co-workers can combine forces to achieve a shared goal.
Sure, it’s possible to collaborate in an entirely remote context with zero in-person interaction. However, the process is faster and more effective when in proximity to your peers. Studies have found the working from home model has a detrimental effect on team cohesion and innovation.
Plus, a communal working environment enhances digital communication. A Harvard Business Review study found co-workers who share a physical office space collaborate via email four times as frequently as those who work at home. This consistent digital chitter-chatter speeds up project completion rates by as much as 32%.
Working from home may sound like a dream, but many employees find it surprisingly difficult to stay motivated when physically removed from their peers. Accountability can go out the window when there’s no one else around.
Coworking can improve productivity through a concept called the Equity Theory of Motivation. In short, workers measure their performance against their colleagues. When surrounded by a bright, energetic, and ambitious workforce, people tend to push themselves to perform at their peak. Because hard-working go-getters tend to dominate coworking spaces, workers feel compelled to keep up with the pack.
Being physically present in a dedicated workplace also aids focus. As fancy as your home office may be, there will still be a psychological disassociation at play. The phenomenon rings especially true if you work in a shared room of the house—say, the kitchen or lounge. In a coworking space, you’re more likely to work efficiently because that’s what you’ve come there to do.
Studies have shown that separating your work and home life becomes a struggle when you live and work in the same place.
A prevalent pitfall of working from home is the sensation of insufficient structure. With no one there to judge your performance, it’s all too tempting to sleep in late and procrastinate—work from home employees easily fall into the habit of falling behind.
But a lack of structure doesn’t strictly entail slacking off. Some remote workers feel obliged to work too much—and at unhealthy times of the day.
The freedom of working remotely is incredible, but one of the benefits of coworking spaces is the daily structure that it can provide, helping to separate work and personal life. Ever found yourself answering work emails while snuggled up in bed at night? That’s not ideal. Irregular work hours propel burnout and inhibit sleep.
Of course, after-hours emergencies inevitably pop up now and then. But if you attend a physical workplace, even on a semi-regular basis, it’s easier to form a healthy working routine. An external workplace gives you better control over when you work and when you don’t
A significant drawback to working from home is isolation. A lonely worker eventually becomes dispirited, and that joylessness has a tangible effect on productivity.
One effective way to cure the isolation blues is Coworking. Although seemingly insignificant, everyday social interactions—whether greeting colleagues in the morning or gossiping at lunch—benefit our mental wellbeing. This makes community arguably one of the strongest benefits of coworking spaces.
A sense of belonging is the key benefit for many avid co-workers. Social interactions with hot desk neighbors foster community spirit. Inspiration and concentration thrive when working in a room full of like-minded people.
Of course, the traditional office also affords ample opportunity to mingle with peers. But you’ll be working alongside the same people for years (if not decades), whether you like them or not, coworking spaces attract new faces to keep things fresh.
While traditional workplaces are picking up their game, modern coworking spaces excel at promoting physical and emotional wellbeing.
The best spots offer a broad range of wellness initiatives—think aerobics, meditation, yoga, and healthy cuisine. You also get fun-filled facilities like hammocks, games rooms, cinemas, and breezy open-air patios for when you need a breather.
Not only do these wellness programs boost morale, but they also serve as superb networking opportunities. Relationships fostered through common interests can blossom into promising business opportunities.
For the freelancer, the cost of a hot desk in a fancy inner-city coworking space might seem like a stretch, especially as working from home is free. But once you factor in enhanced productivity and lucrative networking opportunities, the investment pays for itself. And as a legitimate business expense, you can write coworking costs off on tax.
The salaried employee rarely needs to pay for a coworking space out of pocket—the employer typically foots the bill.
The biggest benefactor is the SMB. Coworking offers small businesses superb value for money because it operates on a user-pays basis. Regardless of size, the company need only cover the precise number of desks they need. All the ancillary costs—cleaning, printing, utilities, and so on—come included in the one invoice.
For a start-up that’s still finding its feet, coworking spaces work out significantly cheaper than a traditional office lease.
Scalability is crucial in the start-up scene. When a business has the potential for rapid growth, the last thing you want is to be locked into a rigid office lease.
Say you suddenly need to add fresh new talent to your team. With a traditional office agreement, you’d need to cram workers together like sardines or acquire a separate lease. But with a coworking space, you simply pick up the phone and add new staff to your existing membership plan.
The same applies when downsizing. Instead of paying an outrageous fee for an empty office, you can remove a few members from your monthly coworking subscription.
Coworking lets you pay for what you need when you need it—and nothing else.
10.) Bottomless Coffee & Other Perks
A well-caffeinated worker is a productive worker, which is why so many coworking spaces are now offering unlimited coffee. In the swankier places, it’s not the nasty instant swill, neither. Think freshly ground South American beans prepared onsite by a skilled barista. Yum.
Some spots even throw free craft beers and tasty snacks into the mix, plus a range of other life-affirming perks. One of the more subtle, but enticing benefits of coworking spaces.
For the animal lovers out there, you can even snag yourself a dog-friendly office—there’s nothing like an adorable puppy to boost worker morale.
Where to Find a Coworking Space
Keen to dabble into the world of Coworking? Now that you know the benefit of coworking, check out our list of the top coworking spaces. Every major city in the US has a few coworking options available.
We’re not here to tell you working from home is wrong. On the contrary, some people perform better when isolated from their peers, particularly the introverts among us.
But there’s no doubt coworking comes with tangible benefits. And because the model is both flexible and affordable, there’s no harm in giving it a shot for yourself.