Social distancing has put a damper on some of the initial drivers that attract entrepreneurs to co-working spaces like social happy hours, fancy coffee bars and access to a physical address for business meetings. People who can are working from home at the moment. And, this leaves many wondering if co-working spaces will ever be as appealing as they were before.
To find out, you have to realize what it is about co-working that actually helps businesses and professionals prosper. And, the real benefits are probably less obvious than you think.
Here’s everything you need to know about co-working:
Co-working is a dedicated office space or shared working environment for entrepreneurs, remote workers, and the self-employed. Typically, co-working spaces are rented by the day, week, or month with various tiers that might include shared or private workspace, refreshments, a mailing address, and other business services.
While the concept seemed to emerge as an idea to simply provide office space for the modern digital nomad, it has evolved tremendously. Now, there are several key motivators for people to participate. We’ll touch on them soon. For now, let’s take a quick look at what’s happening.
In recent months, we’ve seen a general decline in basic co-working demand due to COVID-19. Social distancing measures have made it difficult to go into any workplace including co-working spaces. Co-working provides more flexible lease arrangements than commercial office leases and more opportunities to pause a membership, so while people are working remotely, they don’t want to pay for space they can’t utilize.
Also, in the current environment, people who otherwise would never have considered working remotely are now learning to adapt to a virtual environment. Even at larger companies, the idea that productivity would decline significantly from remote work hasn’t happened or the level of productivity lost has been less drastic than anticipated. So, we expect to see an influx of companies reevaluating the amount of square footage by employee that they rent from conventional office landlords and turn to more efficient and inexpensive flexible office space alternatives.
What prevents most companies from going completely remote? There are several aspects of business that are difficult to do virtually like corporate culture building, idea generation from casual interactions as well as certain kinds of networking. Co-working will likely provide a solution for many of these businesses looking to balance the benefits of virtual and physical interactions.
Davide Dattoli, CEO and co-founder of Talent Garden said recently in an interview with EU-Startups, “We believe Co-working will grow a lot.” And, we agree 100%.
Co-working spaces have become popular, primarily because of three advantages: cost, flexibility, and professional setting. A co-working space costs less and accommodates more flexibility than a traditional office. And, it provides a more professional setting to meet clients and colleagues than your average coffee shop.
While these benefits are real, they are not the aspects of co-working that drive professional success. At Workbox, we see three key factors that help our members take their business growth and productivity to the next level.
Of the initial benefits that attract people to co-working, networking is the #1 resource that helps people grow their companies and increase productivity. When you connect with the right people, you find new opportunities for learning, outsourcing, funding, and more.
For example, with social distancing measures in place, Workbox members have had access to several webinars, strategic workshops as well as social virtual happy hour events. This is one way to improve the morale of people suffering from isolation while still facilitating collaboration with other professionals. At the same time, people can meet and interact with other professionals experiencing the same challenges and crowdsource ideas to navigate these difficult markets.
Post Coronavirus, our members get the additional benefit of casual interactions that can lead to more expansive idea generation and business development opportunities.
In a co-working setting, you’re not isolated to your department and management. Instead, your network consists of workers and businesses at all stages, industries and with many different professional specialties. So, the odds that you can find someone who has been through a professional challenge like the one you’re currently facing is high. This newfound knowledge base now provides an opportunity to ask direct questions to experts across various departments and niches.
We see members gain much more from real-life, human knowledge bases than you would get from a how to book, academic course, or other resource on the market. Furthermore, from picking someone’s brain, long-lasting and mutually-beneficial professional relationships often develop. So, the successful outcomes often far surpass the original goals.
Business acceleration is the most surprising (and simultaneously powerful) benefit of co-working that our self-employed and entrepreneur members encounter. Each step of the way, they learn how to launch, scale, and fund their business.
In a traditional office, you wouldn’t usually bump into a potential VC. But, when your office space houses both growth-stage businesses and investors, it’s a whole new ballgame.
There are the usual criteria you use to pick a co-working space like vibe, amenities and location. But, these reasons are not why you’ll stay. Once you realize the potential to increase your professional network and the benefits to your company’s growth profile from a collaborative professional community, you will wish you’d gotten out of your home office years ago. For more information about our services, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.