Coworking spaces are hot right now. Globally, there are some 7 000 players in the coworking arena, serving a variety of wants and needs.
Ranging from sparse and simple warehouses where people can rent desk-space to full-service odes to luxury and opulence, we tend to associate these spaces with entrepreneurs and freelancers. There is, however, a case to be made that a good co-working space can be just as good for salaried workers.
Here are few reasons why:
People thrive in them
There are a number of very good reasons for this, ranging from the fact that people who work in these spaces find what they do more meaningful to an increased sense of control and feeling like part of a community.
According to the HBR researchers, a large part of the reason people find coworking spaces more meaningful is that they’re not subject to many of the same pressures they would be in a normal office.
Because “there is little direct competition or internal politics,” the authors write, “they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in”.
They also tend to feel a stronger identity with their work because, working among people doing a variety of different things, they have more opportunities to describe what they do.
When it comes to control meanwhile, people can put in long days when they need to, but can also leave for an hour to go to gym without attracting knowing glances from their colleagues.
They’re great for remote workers
An increasing number of companies rely on remote workers in their day-to-day operations. Sometimes it’s a matter of choice (companies offer it as a perk) and sometimes it’s a matter of necessity (the skills you need and can afford aren’t where your company is). Either way, remote working is on the rise.
According to at least one survey, more than a third of business leaders believe that at least half their employees will be working remotely by 2020.
But as any remote worker will tell you, working from home has its own set of pitfalls and there’s only so long you can nurse a cappuccino before the waiters in a coffee shop start giving you serious side-eye.
And heaven forbid you need to print something.
Coworking spaces offer remote workers a structured working environment and all the amenities they need without having to compromise on the freedom that a remote-working lifestyle affords them.
Given that coworking spaces are traditionally filled with entrepreneurs and creative freelancers, it should hardly be surprising that these spaces bristle with the same kind of energy and enthusiasm.
As the Financial Times notes in an article exploring the trend for corporate workers to spend time in coworking spaces:
The appeal for blue-chip employees is clear: the vibe is cool, working alongside energetic start-ups and techies.
Many companies say they want their employees to be entrepreneurial, so what better way to do that than to let them work somewhere that fosters that kind of spirit.
There are serious business opportunities
The other major benefit of being around so many entrepreneurial and creative people is that there are plenty of business opportunities.
Among the freelancers, you might find your next big hire. And among the startups, a company might find its next acquisition target, or a client that it has the potential to nurture from its very earliest days to global supremacy.
That’s certainly why KPMG has opened a satellite office at Interchange — a London-based group of coworking venues. The service firm’s Jonathan Roomer believes that being in close proximity to the startups at Interchange is crucial to building relationships with them.
“You have to be involved right from the beginning. Because when they do start to scale up very quickly, it’s almost too late,” he told the Financial Times. “If they’ve been going for three years, you can’t all of a sudden put up your hand when they’re big and famous and say, ‘OK, we want to work with you’. It’s too late.”
It’s a change of routine
And that can provide a massive boost to your productivity. Sometimes it’s that simple.