In years past, companies would rent office space, fill it with cubicles, and ask their employees to physically be there for eight hours every day of the workweek. But now, with the rise of remote workers made possible by video conferencing apps that can replace face-to-face meetings and more people wanting the flexibility of remote work, coworking spaces are on the rise.
Trends show that people in the post-pandemic world want the flexibility of remote jobs while keeping the perks of the traditional office. Working from home can be isolating, while going into an office every day can get tiresome and tedious. The future of work, it seems, is a hybrid model that allows people to have both the benefits of remote work while keeping the perks of the traditional office.
Coworking spaces give remote employees the best of both worlds by providing a coworking environment, multiple conference rooms, a variety of shared spaces, and private office space.
Hence the rise of the coworking space. Although coworking facilities have gotten more popular in recent months, they are far from a new concept. Companies like WeWork have been specializing in designing new spaces that meet the varied needs of entrepreneurs, businesses, and freelancers for over a decade.
Researchers have found that those who take advantage of coworking spaces consider themselves to be thriving much more than those who are still asked to use a traditional office space. Employers are also seeing increased productivity as employees enjoy the benefits of remote work. For businesses, it can be beneficial to have a central space where team members can easily meet face-to-face (most people eventually get tired of seemingly endless Zoom calls).
The unique benefits a coworking space offers
Adapting to a new way of working can be challenging. However, employees want the flexibility of remote work more than ever before — and many are willing to quit if unable to work from home.
Companies that offer a hybrid model where remote teams also have access to a co-working space, will be getting the “best of both worlds.” Here are three unique benefits coworking spaces offer full-time employees:
1. Networking opportunities
Unlike the coffee shop around the corner where you’ll rub shoulders with everyone from college students to retirees to a handful of digital nomads, coworking spaces are populated by like-minded professionals. This means there is a lot of opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone who has a skillset you’re looking for!
Taking full advantage of a coworking space includes utilizing this unique opportunity to network. Especially for founders of startups and entrepreneurs, this opportunity to network is invaluable. Networking is one of the most valuable skills available in today's market.
Many coworking communities place a huge emphasis on facilitating networking. For example, WeWork says they are creating, “a space that you join as an individual ‘me,’ but where you become part of a greater ‘we.’”
Pro-tip: If networking isn’t one of your natural skills, be intentional about striking up conversations with people you’ve never talked to before. In a work environment like this, the fact that everyone there shares a common purpose makes it easier. Just ask someone near you what they’re working on today, and then see where the conversation goes.
2. Better work-life balance
As more people opt for remote work, there is an increasing risk of burnout from not maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Our brains associate certain spaces with certain activities. As more people are working from home, it’s getting harder for us to truly “log out” and end the work day. Going to a physical office can help keep a work schedule in place for those who have a hard time implementing that while working remotely.
Coworking spaces can also help create a clear separation between work and home. When you leave the office space, you’re clearly done for the day. This improves overall productivity and wellness of remote employees.
3. Less workplace drama and more inspiration
Think back on an experience you’ve had in a traditional office. How much time did you waste hearing gossip about your teammates that you didn't need to know? Coworking spaces eliminate a lot of that because not everyone there is from the same company.
At coworking spaces remote workers from different industries, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and digital nomads all use the same shared space. This cuts down on the chit chat and enables conversation to be inspiring in a way that a traditional workspace can’t create.
Additionally, the fluid nature of this type of office environment, and the freedom to simply move into a different room if someone is being disruptive, helps cut down the drama.
Components of a good coworking space
There are many unique benefits of coworking spaces. Most of them center around a core value we see emerging as workers voice what they want work to look like after the coronavirus — flexibility. Some coworking spaces have multiple design styles that can be used depending on the team needs or team members‘ preferences.
Unlike a traditional office, coworking spaces are less rigid — which doesn’t mean people won’t be getting as much done, just that they’ll be doing it in comfort.
A good coworking space will have a wide variety of different spaces to work in. Most will have:
- Private office space so workers can make video conference calls in peace
- Larger meeting rooms for team check-ins
- Coffee shop-style communal seating areas for free thinking
- Individual desks where you can focus on workflow
Most coworking spaces are designed with an intentional aesthetic — and it’s amazing to see the way natural light, live plants, and a comfortable chair can help unlock creativity!
What should you consider when choosing a coworking space?
There’s a lot of variety between coworking spaces. Some key things to consider before deciding which one will be best for your remote workers are the following:
As with so many areas of life, the location is incredibly important in deciding between coworking spaces. Here are three considerations when choosing a space:
- Is there adequate parking nearby (or for a city like New York, is it easy to access the new office space via transit)?
- Are there other establishments nearby? Things like coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery stores can make it a better overall experience for remote workers.
- Is there distracting outside noise or other challenges of this shared space? Pro-tip: Check out review sites like Google Maps for insider tips on the pros and cons of a space you’re considering.
When choosing a coworking space over staying in your comfortable home office you’ll also want to consider the space’s amenities as well as its rates and contract.
Good Wi-Fi is an obvious need, but there are other components to consider that will vary depending on your team members’ needs.
For example, does your team need to be able to work on the weekends? Will team members benefit by having a gym on the premises? These features might make it a little more expensive, but if they increase productivity and employee happiness, it’s well worth it.
Rates and contract type
The cost of using the space is important to take into consideration — especially for small businesses and freelancers who might have a tighter budget. Freelancers might opt for an office space they can use on a day-to-day basis (and pay accordingly), while companies may be able to negotiate a fixed monthly rate for all of their team members (rather than paying per employee).
If a company is using a coworking space while they transition their traditional office into a new, private office space, they will want to make sure they are not signing a long-term contract.
Who can benefit from a coworking space?
Coworking spaces are good for a wide range of individuals — entrepreneurs who want to be surrounded by other skilled professionals, companies made up of remote workers who don’t need their own private office space, or small businesses who don’t yet have the budget to have a private office.
Each coworking space has a unique culture that makes it a “perfect fit” for different people. Entrepreneurs and freelancers should consider getting a day-pass at a few different coworking spaces before committing to one for a longer period of time.
It seems that coworking is going to be the future of the office — and from the research available, it seems they are a great option for keeping people inspired, connected, and productive.