Co-working is a trend that has been taking cities across the world by storm for years. While it’s a working practice ideally suited to freelancers, startups and entrepreneurs, it can work for anyone in need of an office environment on flexible terms.
What’s it all about?
Co-working can take place in a purpose-built co-working hub or in the office of a company with spare desks. Different businesses (or individuals) occupy the same space and work alongside one another. Amenities are shared and everything from tea and coffee to meeting room space is generally available on an equal basis.
It began in the late nineties with an emphasis on tech startups; and while there is still a tech focus, all kinds of sectors are making use of the practice. Many of the major cities around the world have thriving coworking communities and smaller locations, towns and even villages, are beginning to take note of the benefits.
Benefits to the individual
One of the most favoured aspects of a co-working environment is the sense of community it creates for people. Working from home or from a cafe can be efficient, but it doesn’t have the professional and welcoming buzz you find in an office. If you’re seeking a degree of separation between work and home, having a designated space in which to start and end your day can help. The set-up in a shared office or co-working hub is there to provide you with the basics you need for a productive working day. These often include a fast internet connection, ergonomic equipment, and copious amounts of tea and coffee. Some spaces will also have meeting room access and business support.
Benefits to the business
A significant lure of co-working is that it helps to cut the costs associated with serviced office rental, while boosting productivity. Contracts are generally on a month-to-month basis so it’s a flexible option, which is brilliant when you’re starting out and your situation changes, or you need a quick fix.
Co-working spaces also come with brilliant networking and business opportunities. They act as a platform for your brand and often, valuable contacts will be mere feet away. You might sit next to someone with the skills you need to progress your business and in true sharing economy-style, the trading of skills is not uncommon when it comes to co-working.
Of course, this practise isn’t its drawbacks. It’s a unique working environment that might not suit certain businesses or individuals. More specifically, it may not suit a business with significant cyber-security risks due to use of shared networks, or businesses requiring high levels of privacy for phone calls and meetings.
However, it is still a good option for many. If you want to truly understand the advantages on offer, you can’t beat first-hand experience. Why not find out your local options and get co-working.
To find out more about co-working and how to get involved, check out Office Genie’s all-you-need-to-know guide.