From hackers sitting together to a $20 billion valuations, this is a new work environment
Generally speaking, the definition of coworking is when people assemble in a neutral space to work independently on different projects, or in groups on the same projects. It’s different than a typical office workspace because the people in a coworking environment generally aren’t working for the same company or even are from the same company.
Coworking spaces offer the same amenities you would find in a traditional office and more. A major differentiator is a flexibility since you don’t need to have a long-term rental lease, no maintenance issues, overheads, damage worries, and so on.
Is Coworking just a trend? or a new way of working?
2020 was extremely disruptive. It forced everyone from the individual to small, medium, and large businesses to rethink work and then immediately the work environment. The concern starting from personal safety to others being safe to work with to clean office space and eventually the whole healthy work environment discussion led to a new way of thinking towards work that was always there but never got the spotlight.
The idea of standard 8 hours sitting in the office may have been to ensure that people work together, get a sense of team, feel supportive and safe, communicate and interact with each other to get things done.
While this standard way of working is essential for many traditional businesses, it was not a very normal way of working for the new line of businesses that from the start came with a big claim of being disruptive.
The idea of going to the same office year in year out was not very appealing which led to tech giants like Google, Apple, and Facebook come in and disrupted the norm of an ‘office’. What they offered was not just a funky and cool looking interior but the whole new way of working in a modern work environment built for purpose regardless of people wanted to stay in-door or go outside and work.
“COVID-19 forced us to re-think working and more importantly how do we get this done safetly while working from anywhere“. Nadeem Amin
Once the early panic of 2020 truly disrupted the normal ‘day in a life’ of every individual, we realized that we might be able to lean on technology to get things done. WFH (Work from home) seemed like a great idea till we were forced to practice it and realized that the ‘grass is always greener on the other side’ is true to its fame.
Poorly equipped homes and home offices were no match for endless Zoom calls, standard 8 hours a day was out of the window plus adjusting to follow the new rules of the digitally connected workspace where you couldn’t have a fully engaging and passionate meeting or a presentation further played into the isolation and disconnection of us as humans.
The Rise of the Coworking space, again.
As we learned quickly that while the majority of the workforce remained home and were WFH, the work itself was not massively disrupted. Deadlines were met, work was delivered and money was made. Actually, more money was made due to ‘cost-cutting measure’, where people were working from home meant a reduction in utility bills, entertainment expenses, food and beverages, tea/coffee, office material, etc.
This led to a strong belief driven by the WFH model delivering on the business objectives, goals, and results that businesses, brands, corporates don’t really need a massive real-estate footprint to run their show. The second half of 2020 saw business downsizing on location and space that sometimes-reflected bare minimum to get things done. The new corporate and work model also meant that it is absolutely OK for the workforce to work from anywhere.
The Coworking spaces existed from early 2000 and have seen steady growth YoY. However, in the middle of 2020 after we realized how we can stay safe while still acting like humans and practicing being ‘social animals’ individuals and businesses started exploring ideas of coworking to provide the flexibility to work from anywhere while being able to access technology, amenities and most importantly connect with the fellow humans in physical space.
The coworking space industry saw an opportunity through 2020 and sprang back up with a refresher to offer, not only a healthy workplace but a safe one too. Businesses saw this as an opportunity to further cost-cutting and downsize their office space. Next will be a business funded model offered to the employee to have a rotation of office and coworking to mix it up, stay motivated but connected. Very soon the health and wellness businesses will take note and start to use coworking space for Yoga, Cardio, Pilate and offer their classes to the business professionals and individuals who use the coworking space.
The 5 Biggest Advantages of Coworking
Motivation: There’s just energy of productivity in the air when you’re in a room full of driven people. It’s nearly impossible to slack off. You will get a lot done.
Community: There’s a sense of community. In places with regulars and familiar faces, it’s amazing how far above and beyond the community will go to help one another succeed.
Flexibility: Rather than signing a long-term lease, you can get much more flexible deals with coworking spaces. It’s great for startups with small bootstrap budgets, and even independent freelancers can find affordable options.
Getting Outside of the Home: Working from home is great, but it’s easy to fall into a rut, too. Being around other people is good for your spirits, it can keep you sharp and is great for creativity.
Networking: When you have so many people with so much in common, it’s only a matter of time until you start to network and new opportunities start to flow organically.
Who Uses Coworking Spaces?
Small businesses that don’t want the same overhead as a traditional lease, have flocked to coworking. Since there are relatively no costs of getting set up and the coworking membership includes most (if not all) of the amenities a business needs day to day, it is no wonder why small businesses now make up a majority of coworking space users.
Enterprises. Yes, even large global enterprises like Nike, have partnered with coworking companies to handle their workspace needs. When you have thousands of employees who are working around the world, managing office needs can be a hassle. These companies leverage a coworking company to build out a custom space for them or they will serve as the primary anchor tenant in the space.
Freelancers & Contractors. Since freelancers and contractors work for themselves, having a pay-as-go type of arrangement can save a fortune.
Not only that, but a coworking space is a great way to meet other entrepreneurs and freelancers. It’s an excellent place to network.
Whether you’re a digital publisher, a creative freelancer, a programmer, or more of a Jack/Jill of all trades, there’s a very high likelihood you’ll meet people at a coworking space that are working on similar things that you are.
Beyond that, you may even have a chance to chat with people that can help out with some of the areas that are not your strengths. When you have so many people in one space, with such a diversity of talents, it’s incredible what you can come up with – even if everyone’s kind of doing their own thing.
But the real appeal is the raw, unadulterated focus and motivation you’ll encounter in the best coworking spaces. There’s truly special energy when you’ve got a room filled with motivated people who are all working towards building their dreams.
Non-Profits. Many coworking spaces offer non-profit arrangements or discounts. Due to the all-in cost savings of coworking (and being cost-conscious), these types of companies have also gravitated towards these flexible co-working relationships.
Top Tips to Consider When Choosing a Coworking Space
Location. For obvious reasons, location is the most important element when choosing your perfect office space. Choose a space that is within a reasonable commuting distance from your home. Look for conveniences such as restaurants, availability of parking, shops, and public transit that make it easy to access and entertain clients.
Budget. You want to make sure that the space you choose offers an affordable and long-term solution for your team. If you are going to outgrow the space within a few months, you need to take this into account. Determining what your budget is in advance will help you filter our spaces that are much too expensive from an early stage saving you time (and money).
Work Environment. Do you need a dedicated office or can you work in an open space with the use of meeting rooms? Are there legal restrictions on how you run your business? You need to make sure that wherever you choose to work you fulfill your foundational business needs.
Community. Once you have determined if space meets your needs and budget, you can look into some of the more fun aspects of space. What type of community do you see yourself in? Each coworking space fosters and attracts different members from local neighborhoods.
Besides the “business” reasons for joining a community, you want to be encouraged to come to work every day, network, and make new friends.
Short-Term or Long-Term? Planning for the future is a fundamental business strategy. How long do you plan on staying at your chosen coworking space? Are you planning on expanding nationally or globally? Does the coworking space you choose to offer access to a network of locations? These are important elements that you should have the answer to prior to picking a space.
Amenities. Although just icing on the cake, choosing a coworking space that boasts unique amenities is always a plus, from the typical free coffee, wifi, and printing, finding a space that can offer above and beyond will make your work life much better, these things could be freebies like stationery, cups, t-shirts, satchel to more value add like fireside chats, keynote session by category and industry leaders.
If you’re curious about trying out coworking, the best thing you can do is just to give it a shot. If you just want to go in, get your work done, and then leave, and you’re concerned about any social obligations: don’t be. It’s like the gym.
Here’s such a modern coworking space called The Central, designed to offer maximum flexibility for the ever-changing work climate. It offers an interesting, stimulating, and conducive environment to productivity without the baggage.
It promises a one-stop-shop for students, professionals, entrepreneurs, and businesses who are looking for out of home, out of school and out of office Flexi space to work.
The number of coworking spaces worldwide is projected to reach almost 20,000 this year and cross over 40,000 by 2024. While the industry was set to grow at a slower pace in 2020, the expected growth to rebound and develop even more rapidly from 2021 onwards, with a yearly growth rate of 21.3%. Not bad for an idea that started with few hackers in California who wanted to work as a team from one location that provided the space, access, and some basic facilities have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry. Want to learn more about the coworking business? talk to us if you are interested in setting up this business or want to be part of an existing one. At Integet, we will guide you with the right business model or best design environment for your coworking venture.