Over the past decade, the traditional work environment has seen a revolutionary shift towards co-working spaces as new and developing companies seek the best environment for collaborative working.
With a boom in the number of start-ups in recent years, the demand for flexible, shared working space has soared. In fact, a recent report estimated that there will be 5.1 million co-workers across the globe by 2022*. To support the changing working environment, whole ecosystems are adapting, including our universities, with an increasing number launching post-graduate social entrepreneurship courses.
So just what are the benefits of shared working that’s causing this major shift? Here are just some of the advantages:
Co-working space makes scalability so much simpler, offering start-ups the potential to work more flexibly. The space can grow as your business does, from a one-man band to a full team. It’s this agility that appeals to start-ups. Knowing that as business takes off and there is an urgent need to recruit and scale up, this need can easily be accommodated.
Many entrepreneurs and start-ups begin their working life at a kitchen table or home office but working from home comes with many distractions and can often feel quite lonely and isolated. Shared working spaces offer a fantastic alternative, providing the structure required to boost productivity, with the flexibility needed by a growing business. It also comes with little commitment making it a natural transition for home-based businesses.
Working with like-minded thinkers in a thriving innovation hub, enables talented individuals and teams to share their expertise and cross-fertilise ideas.
Co-working spaces are a natural platform for idea exchange and collaboration. Designed to create the networks and sense of freedom that innovators seek, working with inspirational people in a collaborative environment inherently boosts creativity and fuels innovation. Most shared working spaces host regular skills workshops, networking events and social gatherings so there are plenty of opportunities to develop and get inspiration from other innovators.
Co-working bridges the gap between home and a traditional office space and is more affordable for fledgling businesses. Many offer a try before you buy policy, where you can test out the facilities and make sure the environment is right for you before you agree to any contracts and terms.
Joining forces and sharing established co-working space with others also reduces the initial set-up costs, as all furniture and services, such as wifi, phone lines and office management, are usually included within the monthly cost.
The last decade has seen a significant rise in the number of new co-working companies such as WeWork – now worth an estimated $20 billion worldwide – and the market shows no signs of slowing down. This increased competition amongst shared working spaces has led to a greater emphasis on the fit-out and facilities.
From day one, start-ups and entrepreneurs can gain access to all the facilities and perks of a conventional office, without the overheads. Shared amenities often include modern common areas, inspiring collaboration space, professional conference and meeting rooms, and even lab space. The environments are specifically designed to inspire workers in a relaxed setting.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking for an inspiring and collaborative space, or a small start-up team looking for premises that can support rapid expansion, co-working facilities offer the flexibility and culture to boost innovation and drive business growth.