Co-working spaces allow workers from different companies to share an office space. As opposed to hiring out an entire office for the exclusive use of just one company, co-working spaces are defined as an arrangement of not just a shared office space but shared equipment and utilities and, if needed, a shared receptionist, refreshments and parcel acceptance services.
Are Co-Working Spaces Worth It?
Of course, co-working spaces cannot be for everyone. Such arrangements can only work for certain companies. For example, if a company is so big that it requires a lot of room in order to be able to operate, it may need an entire office to itself.
Companies that co-working spaces could work the best for may include, for example, smaller businesses, independent contractors, semi-remote workers or people who travel frequently.
However, there are many more general advantages that co-working spaces offer:
The Benefits of Coworking Office Spaces
- Avoids Expensive Office Leases – Even private offices that are modest in size can be extremely expensive, especially in the city, so co-working spaces can help you save on rent
- Amenities and Facilities – Co-working spaces often offer a range of amenities and facilities such as coffee shops, restaurants and meeting rooms
- Flexibility and Scalability – You have the option of being able to use a co-working space for only as long as you need to, and can usually increase or decrease your use of the space as your business grows or changes without being tied to a lease
On the other hand, some cons that can also come with co-working spaces include:
- Limited Customisation – In a co-working space, you get what you get and there probably isn’t much you can customise about your space
- Added Fees – You may need to pay membership fees for co-working spaces as well as added fees for the amenities and facilities they provide
- Distractions and Lacking Privacy – Having multiple companies working alongside each other can in turn mean each has less privacy and is liable to more distractions
How Do Co-Working Spaces Encourage Collaboration?
Besides co-working spaces offering things like cheaper rent and added amenities, how do they fare when it comes to their ability to optimise opportunities for collaboration?
Co-working spaces put companies physically next to one another, and this physicality can make it much easier for people to reach out, ask questions and build connections with others in the space. For example, shared office spaces can bring:
Sense Of Community
One of the most obvious pros to working in a co-working space is that such places can harbour a real sense of community – particularly in cities like London, Manchester or even Bristol. This can make you feel supported and motivated, especially if you work better in a team than alone, and can prompt you to meet new people and make friends.
Many co-working spaces even host regular social events, allowing you to chat and get close to those within the space.
Within this community of friends and colleagues, there is ample opportunity for you to reach out and collaborate.
One of the best things about co-working spaces is the networking opportunities they offer.
As opposed to if you work from home, by co-working you may network with those around you – both from your company and from other companies in the space – and this creates opportunities to build relationships and business connections with those around you.
In a co-working space, you will be surrounded by other like-minded people also looking to network and build their businesses. This provides a perfect opportunity for you to make business connections and even open talks to future collaboration.
Shared Knowledge and Skills
In a co-working space, you have the opportunity to learn from those around you, just as they may learn from you. By sharing skills and bouncing ideas and knowledge off of each other, everyone can learn and mutually benefit.
A place where you can trade skills and knowledge with those around you can be a breeding place for collaboration and exciting new business ideas and opportunities.
Flexibility and Agility
Another great thing about co-working spaces is their flexibility. These spaces are literally designed to be fluid and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – what better space could there be for harbouring new collaborative ideas? Businesses within these spaces can grow and shrink at their desire, making them agile in a fast workplace environment.
Collaboration can cause new and exciting ideas and a change of pace and, as a result, may require a space that can change with the size of your team or even need a change in location – something co-working spaces can offer without much effort or even extra cost.