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Since people have been working in offices, there have been trailblazers searching for different ways to structure the workplace. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement, but it’s undoubtedly true that innovators are always looking for different ways to engage with their environments. Naturally, that extends to the work environment. Enter coworking, stage right!
In a nutshell, coworking is the practice of shared workspaces. Multiple unrelated organizations work in the same building, often utilizing the operator’s administrative functions. In today’s modern and ever-changing office world, one of the fastest growing alternatives to the traditional office is coworking spaces.
The coworking industry has become a global phenomenon! Around 2008-2010, more operators joined the market, but in recent years the industry has just exploded. According to Emergent Research, over 1000 new coworking spaces opened in the second half of 2018 – almost half of which are located in the U.S.
So, where do coworking spaces fit into the tradition of office spaces? The way people work and want to work has changed over the years with the increased capabilities of technology as well as the way people want to work. In order to attract top talent and younger demographics, many companies are ditching traditional spaces in favor of the more flexible coworking model.
What kinds of companies are best served by coworking spaces? Many industries are actually well-suited to work in coworking spaces, but some of the most common include technology, real estate, oil and gas, energy, government, and PR/media/advertising. Coworking spaces are popular among start-ups, too. As new companies, they typically don’t have the funds to start in traditional spaces, but they also don’t know where they will be in one year, let alone five. Two to five-year terms are standard minimums for traditional offices. Most start-ups don’t want to tie up their capital with office leases - they like the flexibility of shorter terms provided by coworking spaces, as they can easily accommodate growth and change.
As with any major decision, there are important factors to think about when choosing a coworking space. First, look at the size of the office spaces and compare them when looking at other operators. All five-person offices are not equal! Some operators, like TechSpace, have more spacious suites, so what is listed as a five-person office could actually fit up to seven depending on how much space you feel each of your employees actually needs!
Another critical factor is the technology platform: does the operator have shared WiFi or a dedicated WiFi network? Do they offer a private VLAN and secure data network to ensure your IP is secure? TechSpace does.
You also must consider whether or not your space has room for your company to grow. You may only need a small office now, but as your company scales, can they scale your office space? Customer service is important, too: not all operators are equal when it comes to helping their members. Make sure you will get the support you need for your business!
Employees thrive in coworking spaces due to the creative, inspiring architectural designs of the spaces themselves, as well as floor plans maximized for productivity, and of course a thriving community of like-minded individuals.
How good is coworking for networking? Well, coworking is the perfect environment for networking! It is filled with a variety of businesses all with the same goal: growing and succeeding. Member events as well as community events provide opportunities to network and create new business connections without ever leaving the coworking space.
Coworking and community go hand-in-hand because people want to be with people, but they also want to be in an environment where they can succeed and get their work done. Coworking puts those two together, pairing a wide variety of types of people with an environment conducive to trying to accomplish one’s goals.
Coworking isn’t just for large companies, mid-size businesses, or start-ups, though. What other uses can coworking spaces provide? Many coworking spaces, including TechSpace, provide on-demand conference rooms for members AND non-members. For those who are working at home but need to meet clients in a professional environment, coworking spaces are ideal. At TechSpace, you can book by the hour for a variety of size meeting spaces. TechSpace also offers virtual services, such as mailing addresses, call answering by a professional receptionist, or a business phone number.
So what’s in store for the future of coworking? Since the industry is expected to continue to grow in popularity through 2023, a few predictions include:
Is coworking the right path for your start-up or company? Learn more about why TechSpace’s coworking offices can be the right fit for your business!