The world of work is always changing and one area in particular that's seen growing popularity recently is the use of coworking spaces.
In this guide, we explore what makes a coworking space different to your average leased office space and put forward some of the reasons why coworking could be the ideal option for your business.
What is coworking?
Coworking is simply the practice of different companies and individuals using a shared work space to conduct their day-to-day business.
Figures show that coworking has seen a steady growth since it first came to prominence in the mid-2000s and its popularity doesn't show any signs of slowing. Statistics from Deskmag's third ‘Global Co-working Survey’ in 2012, found:
- The number of coworking spaces in Europe had increased by nearly 300% year-on-year
- While the majority of those using coworking spaces continued to be freelancers (53%), the practice is increasingly attracting entrepreneurs, start-ups and larger companies
- More coworking spaces are part of a network or chain and 29% of operators plan to expand their spaces in the near future.
The benefits of coworking
Deskmag's survey also revealed some of the reasons why coworking has enjoyed such success. Respondents reported a range of benefits to the set-up, with some of the most prominent including:
- Over 70% claimed their creativity had increased since joining a coworking space
- More than 60% said the set-up had improved their standard of work
- 68% said they were able to focus better, while 64% claimed they were better-able to complete tasks on time.
But how does this work in practice?
Coworking has all the benefits of working in a traditional office environment - desk space, internet access, kitchen facilities and other amenities - while simultaneously encouraging a more collaborative approach to their business practises.
It's also important not to overlook the social element of coworking. The vast majority of respondent's to Deskmag stated that the atmosphere, community and interaction were the primary reasons they joined a coworking space, ahead of material considerations like infrastructure.
The unique set-up allows individuals to share expertise in disparate disciplines, ideas and experiences. There's no such thing as having too many connections when building a company and coworking spaces also present a prime opportunity for networking.
And while it might appear somewhat counter-intuitive, statistics show that working alongside others can often help to keep workers on-task and enthusiastic, as well as offsetting the isolation that regularly goes hand-in-hand with freelance or start-up work.
Budget is a constant consideration for freelancers and start-ups alike and the cost of renting larger office spaces can often prove prohibitive to these groups.
Coworking spaces typically provide; individually rented desks, Wi-Fi, drinks facilities and communal areas. You would usually get all of this on a pay as you go or membership basis.
The ability to change on the fly is vital for growing businesses and coworking spaces enable small companies to quickly adapt to changes in team size and other circumstances with ease.
Types of collaborative working
Coworking – As mentioned before, is usually where a number of companies share the same space but run their own business separately. Collaborative space is great for like-minded businesses to interact, network and share ideas. Ideal for start-up professionals who are ready to move out of the home office and into an environment with a regular desk space.
Hot-desk - A drop in space in a shared environment available by the hour or day. Unlike other forms of coworking, hot desks don’t usually have the same community atmosphere due to its ‘plug and play’ nature. It is ideal for those who are on the move but occasionally need to drop into an office environment with relevant facilities.
Jellies - A relatively new concept, based on the idea of coworking. Jellies are regular gatherings of independent workers who can usually be found in ‘free workspaces’ such as coffee shops, working off the local WiFi. This is a good way of working for a community feel; great for freelancers who are looking for an occasional break from the home office. Having said this, Jellies aren’t ideal for permanent working due to there being no private spaces. Not to mention, you have to pay each time you need a caffeine boost.
If you're interested in joining the community at a coworking spot in the heart of Manchester that boasts ultra-fast internet and all-inclusive prices, be sure to check out our 'Together' space. With an all-inclusive price of £195, it's the perfect option for freelancers, start-ups, project groups or small agencies.