What Is Co-Working, And What Are The Benefits Of It?
Start-up businesses are popping up all the time and frequently turning the way we think of ‘work’ on its head. Even big corporates are now adopting more agile and efficient working practices as a result of these nimble and innovative firms leading by example; and one such favourite practice being picked up all over the place by companies of all shapes, sizes and types is co-working.
So… What Is Co-Working?
Co-working spaces are places that offer office space and amenities but open it all rather than limit the premises and facilities to one company. This means that anyone who pays a fee is able to plug in their laptop and work using the space’s Wi-Fi connection as well as use any related facilities on offer. Therefore, those working within a co-working space may be completely unrelated to one another professionally (well, and personally, of course!) and work in entirely different industries with different interests, roles, perspectives and ways of working.
Most people use co-working spaces as a place to ‘hot desk’ from: plugging in their computer and using the Wi-Fi as well as using kitchen facilities, postage services and sometimes even meeting room hire. It’s often considered more disciplined and professional than using the free Wi-Fi in a coffee shop or bar. For many, still being within an office-type environment, even if considerably different to their usual one, is good for focus and productivity.
Who Is Co-Working For?
Realistically… anyone! Unless you have a role whereby you must be at a certain desk or have a specific specialist set-up for your IT, co-working could be used. It doesn’t need to be an everyday or even regular occurrence – even if just once in a while for you to get in a change of scenery, it may be helpful.
Those who work from co-working spaces often include those with remote working roles, home workers, freelancers, the self-employed and those working for small start-up firms who don’t have their own office presence. However, co-working is increasing in popularity with larger companies who do have their own offices: allowing them flexibility over their office space, the ability to ‘outsource’ physical resources and those moving locations or undergoing periods of uncertainly and/or change.
Are There Financial Benefits To Co-Working?
Co-working spaces often work out to be cost-effective for businesses when compared to owning or renting their own office facilities. Depending on the services and package/s available, co-working spaces don’t commit the users to high rents, bills, hidden fees or any contracts. There’s also no need for businesses to have a holding fund of ‘just in case’ finances should anything go wrong with their existing premises. Business continuity procedures can be adapted to avoid the need for physical set buildings, and the level of insurance on equipment and hardware can be lessened (in cover, and therefore the amount of money spent on).
Why Else Should Businesses Consider Using Co-Working Facilities?
Permitting employees to use co-working facilities can benefit businesses in lots of different ways; and they’re not all just financial.
The ability for flexible and remote working is attractive to many, including talent not yet part of the business. In attracting new people to the business, facilitating co-working spaces allows people not as close to your key office locations to feel they can apply and demonstrates a real commitment to modern working practices and flexibility. It can give real peace of mind to those relying on public transport to commute, those with families and responsibilities that sometimes mean they can’t make it into the office and those who appreciate empowerment and trust from an employer.
Those using co-working spaces are able to socialise with new people, access innovative and creative ideas, use resources and to network in a way they may not be able to in a traditional office. These interactions often lead to increased productivity levels and a fresh perspective on work, which many big businesses find beneficial to their workforce; particularly those that have been in the same role or department for a long time. What’s more, the presence of smaller start-ups and more agile companies can be beneficial to big businesses and help influence them in a healthy and competitive manner. There may even be collaboration opportunities opened as a result of new connections made and new ideas considered! Diversity of business types, shapes, sizes and attitudes can be embraced, celebrated and enjoyed.
There are lots of co-working spaces out there and in big cities, lots to choose from. Different premises and service providers offer different things, so compare and contrast to find something that works for you.
Whilst it’s the norm for spaces to charge for their use, any decent service provider will allow you to view the property and review the facilities available for free at a time that suits you. Arrange a visit with them ahead of time and don’t be afraid to ask questions: on facilities, any extra charges or ‘premium service’, availability, capacity, limitations and packages available.
Most co-working spaces will offer a range of packages dependent on the business use available. This may entail a single person attending, hourly rates, or the ‘drop-in’ use of employees from a specific business. Honest co-working service providers will be upfront with fees and costs, so don’t be afraid to ask for full details. The benefits of co-working are being realised by businesses of all types, all over the country.