“Flexible” isn’t often a word that comes to mind when you think of corporate workspaces, but with the rapidly growing trend of corporate coworking, flexibility is quickly becoming a priority.
The rise of the remote employee brings with it the freedom to think outside the box in terms of office spaces. Yes, you need a place to work, but no, it doesn’t have to be a traditional office. While some companies have attempted to operate with large scale remote teams, there is sometimes a downside when it comes to innovation and collaboration. For many, coworking spaces are the perfect alternative – not just for freelancers, but also for startups and major corporations. Corporate coworking is a fast-growing global trend, with impressive benefits that simply can’t be ignored.
Coworking For Many Needs
Coworking spaces meet a wide range of needs, and with their growing popularity, are being embraced by major global brands. Even Twitter and Google have hopped on the coworking bandwagon. Some companies start with coworking spaces as their go-to offices, while others decide to utilize coworking spaces after the fact. Today, some corporations are even strategically moving employees, teams, and departments into coworking spaces. Here are a handful of ways to incorporate coworking into a company:
- Two or more startups could seek out and share a space, yet keep their workspaces fairly separate.
- A large business could rent a shared space in a large common area where workstations are flexible and unassigned.
- A startup with primarily remote employees could rent coworking spaces in their local city to provide employees an as-needed collaborative space.
- Industry-only spaces can be rented for creative departments that don’t mesh well inside of your standard office.
- A business could operate with a primarily remote team, but collaborate weekly in a shared space.
- A company could keep their overhead low by renting a small space for client interaction, and coworking for the rest of their team.
- An entirely remote team could rent a coworking space for essential client meetings.
- A company could utilize a coworking spaces for short-term contracts and assignments outside of its home base.
Coworking spaces often have open floor layouts, but there are certainly spaces with more traditional floorplans and designs. Find shared spaces that work for you and your team, and – if you have the room – create multiple spaces. Space use can even be designated or assigned – quiet rooms for times when you need to work without distraction, meeting rooms for team discussions, and general workspace that allows in-person conversation and online calls.
How Does Coworking Help to Spark Innovation?
Corporate coworking can be established in an endless number of combinations, and for a variety of professional goals. As with all aspects of business, the key is to be strategic about your coworking goals. Many opt to cowork with others from within the same industry, often with the same target audience, but with different products or services to offer. Since the target audience is the same, bouncing ideas off industry insiders who understand your consumer provides an invaluable fresh set of eyes. It’s like taking networking to a whole new level. But it’s about far more than networking, as it has to potential to spark game-changing innovation.
Have you ever considered why San Francisco, Tokyo, Stockholm, Hong Kong, and Seoul are some of the top tech cities in the world? The heavy concentration of like-minded industry innovators is no accident, since the modern business model is one in which you want to be surrounded by competitors – a community that pushes each other professionally.
Collaboration: A Healthy Side Effect of Coworking
Everyone has a job to get done, and without a doubt, most of the time spent in a coworking space is invested in working on assigned job duties. That being said, as you socialize and get to know your non-employee colleagues, collaboration becomes a healthy side effect. In fact, many new job opportunities can arise after joining a coworking community. This has nothing to do with poaching someone else’s employees, but instead with building organic partnerships and launching new projects in addition to current ones.
The odds are that a coworking space that houses several entrepreneurs and their teams will become a collaborative environment in which new business opportunities are explored. There may also be new referral sources and networking opportunities to identify – even if this wasn’t your intention going in.
Work for A Corporation, Feel Like a Freelancer
Even though the majority of coworking spaces have limited hours of operation, coworking will help your team feel free to work when, where, and how they want. As a corporate employer, you may set up guidelines and criteria, but your team members will still get work at a different desk each day, start when they want, leave when they want, work from home one day, and in a shared space the next. Not only does this give them the confidence of your trust – it also gives them the opportunity to be part of communities both internal and external to the company. With the day-to-day flexibility of being a freelancer, your employees will appreciate the security of corporate employment even more.
Disrupting the Stale Corporate Culture
Coworking is also a particularly millennial-friendly setup, as it provides the stable yet untraditional atmosphere in which this distinct generation thrives. However, millennials aren’t the only ones who enjoy all that coworking has to offer. While all employees require an office setup that is conducive to productivity, too many offices are plain, and even a bit sterile.
By joining a coworking space, you’re allowing your employees to work from an atmosphere and culture which fosters creativity, open lines of communication, independence, and balance.
Coworking environments disrupt both the stale corporate culture most of us have grown to expect, and the daily monotony that sometimes makes each day feel similar to the day before. Most coworking communities are ultra-modern, designed to energize and stimulate their daily workforce. And, since coworking spaces don’t require long-term commitments, you can move to a new space anytime you like, or spread your team out among many coworking spaces.
Not Just for Corporations
Coworking was first embraced by freelancers, solopreneurs, and remote workers who were in need of a flexible place to work – both while in their primary location and while traveling. It offers them a cost-effective alternative to taking a long-term office space lease. It also offers a comfortable and distraction-free place to work outside of the house, which for freelancers can become a bit monotonous.
Cost-Effective for the Short and Long Term
As a solo freelancer, renting a monthly space is almost always significantly less expensive in a coworking community. As a corporation with multiple employees, renting a coworking full-time space might be closer in price in terms of rent, but not when you consider what is built-in. No lease, utilities, cleaning, furniture, décor, maintenance, or repairs, and there are sure to be some shared office tools – often even a high-dollar coffee machine. Add the increase in innovation, collaboration, and coworking undeniable role in job satisfaction, and for many it’s a no-brainer.
Keep in mind that you may not require a coworking space daily, or at least not daily for all of your team members. Many companies begin by testing coworking, and determining who it works for and why.
Are Coworking Spaces the Office of The Future?
Coworking is still fairly new concept, but many already question if this trend will be the beginning of the end of the traditional office space. It’s difficult to imagine eliminating all single-company offices, but we are only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of how coworking can positively impact corporate culture, productivity, and innovation.
Coworking spaces enable both employees and executives to create constructive disruption, balancing the need for a comfortable workspace with one that is always in flux. There is always someone new to network with, some new innovation to explore, something to distract you from the monotony of a standard workplace.
With the increased desire to bring a human touch and local connections back into big business, coworking seamlessly does just that. Coworking communities can be found in every major city around the world, and an increasing number of smaller cities too. Try a few out before jumping all in, and give them at least a few months of solid use before you begin to weigh their pros and cons. One thing is for sure – coworking communities will do nothing but continue to evolve for the benefit of every individual and company that use them.