Co-working or shared office spaces have become one of the hottest trends in workspaces. This is an option where an office rental, workstation or something similar is occupied by people working alone or in very small teams. Very often there is just one large table at which people work with no assigned seating. Set your laptop down on the table and just get down to business. Co-working spaces operate as temporary work hubs that anyone can rent by the hour, day or month. They have evolved and morphed into new types of workplaces that attract people who love the freedom and flexibility of being able to work from anywhere, anytime.
Several factors are contributing to the explosive growth of co-working spaces. There’s a highly mobile workforce out there who can conduct business remotely. They don’t need to go to ‘office’ in the traditional sense or work nine-to-five. Corporate downsizing, employee dissatisfaction with regular co-working is proving to be the answer people are looking for. It is revolutionising how, when and where people work. People are putting greater value on autonomy. They are showing a marked preference for open floor plans and are more willing than earlier generations to share their workspace with someone else.
Look at the tremendous benefits. You can occupy office space without signing a long term lease, paying a security deposit, leasing equipment or contracting for telephone, internet and other services. What you pay is a fraction of what you would have to if you were to get even a small office on your own. Co-working spaces are usually located in prime business districts, have a prestigious address and are supported by the latest technology. Reliable wifi access is a given. They seem like an answer to a prayer for today’s on-the-move, independent worker.
The people who are moving to co-working centres tend to have similar profiles. They are usually solo executives, consultants, freelancers and creative people, and, increasingly, start-ups on tight budgets. They love the idea of a turnkey workspace with no hassles of maintenance and staffing. It’s a new kind of freedom. Many of them are like-minded entrepreneurs who find the community and collaborative ambience stimulating. They feel energised and motivated like they could never be in an ‘at home’ or the neighbouring coffeehouse situation. The idea of SOHO (small office, home office) has its limitations – chiefly the distractions at home and not having colleagues to interact with. These people typically have similar interests, share ideas and often socialise to reinforce a sense of belonging. Some even attend motivational courses and seminars together. Networking is an attractive result of co-working. People get valuable contacts and references over a cup of coffee, with many business deals being struck as well.
Remember the corner office that was the envy of all ambitious executives? It is no longer the sought-after symbol of success. Today’s executives are opting for a far more dynamic option where they can connect with people across the table as nimbly as they can across the world. They like the dynamism of a co-working space which is as diverse as the people who use it. The lively and charged atmosphere stimulates fresh thinking and spurs innovation. People who have switched to co-working spaces say they help them perform their best.
Co-working spaces mirror the rise of today’s independent workforce. The overall economy is shifting towards small businesses. The co-working space has proven its value and has caught on. Co-working centers are mushrooming everywhere. It’s a movement gaining momentum every day. Working will never be the same again.