Coworking spaces have been around for a decade now, and we’ve learned a lot. As coworking grows, the spaces themselves become more optimized to the needs of the members within them. Some coworking spaces will even change the space throughout the day to fit how the majority of workers use the space at different times. The increases in productivity, sense of community and wellbeing are what make coworking spaces so successful. Below, we’ll delve into the features that make this success possible.
Obviously, coworking spaces need space. It’s how the space is used that differentiates an average coworking space from a top one. Where should collaboration areas be? In a place where people can discuss without disturbing anyone who prefers to work in a more quiet environment. Are there hot desks located in spaces who expect to socialize and network more, as well as hot desks for those who prefer quiet and only want some social opportunity? How you organize the space contributes to how well a coworking community develops, and helps members get the best experience.
Coworking essentials include: security, receptionists, someone who can fix maintenance issues, someone who can fix tech issues. A big benefit of coworking is convenience, allowing many businesses to skip from the potential burden of leasing their own office. Quality hosting makes coworking members safer and more efficient.
Hosting can go further than the essentials. To encourage networking and community, many spaces will host small or large events to encourage people to meet each other. This could be a networking event where everyone is invited to an organized coffee break held once or twice a week, where anyone who would like to can stop and chat. Some spaces will create events that are more recreational, such as a PechaKucha Night or Creative Mornings; spaces that have their own cafeteria or recreation room find it easier to do this.
Coworking spaces are a place to network and find business solutions in the expertise of those around you; when professionals from a variety of industries are all seated in one space, the opportunity for learning is huge! A good coworking space should do what it can to upskill those in the space through events and opportunities.
What makes some spaces unique is the workshops they can provide to their members. This is usually done by hiring top industry experts for a small event.
What Coworking Spaces Need to Remain Relevant
Coworking is constantly developing, as more workers migrate away from traditional offices, coworking spaces need to be ready to adapt to the new needs of incoming workers.
Facilitates Corporates and Large Businesses
In the past, coworking was thought to be mostly for freelancers and entrepreneurs. It still very much is, but now large portions of coworking spaces will be taken by corporations. Why? Firstly, for businesses looking to expand, it’s expensive to lease a new office space or it can be difficult to even find an empty office space to lease out. Hiring seats in a coworking space is a lot more accessible, cheaper and gives businesses more flexibility to upsize or downsize.
The other reason corporations want to be in coworking spaces is because it gives them partnership and recruitment opportunities. They’re able to keep up with the latest business ideas as well as hire any freelancers that can fill skill gaps in their business. Lastly, many employees want to leave traditional offices; modern businesses are now more engaged with their employees and are willing to change their work environment to give them more job satisfaction.
Many coworking spaces now offer discounts to businesses wanting to fill large spaces. Empty seats in a coworking space means they’re less likely to make a profit, so large businesses migrating to coworking are also good news for the spaces as well.
Keeps Up With Latest Technology
This concerns space management technology, attendance systems and security. The best coworking spaces have software that keeps all members informed about any upcoming event and allows them to RSVP. Software that allows members to book in time slots for meeting or conference rooms as well as know when rooms are unavailable is also very useful and makes the space more efficient. Access cards that keep track of everyone who enters or leaves a space keeps them and their belongings safe and provides a professional appearance for any members bringing in external parties for meetings.
The modern worker is more concerned about climate change than ever. Just like anything they buy in their personal life, they want to work in a space that holds the same values. In traditional offices, physical office decisions are made by business owners, while in coworking spaces there is more of an expectation for the space to reflect the values of members. Sustainable coworking spaces are expected to become more popular as time goes on and the climate crisis deepens. From energy efficient office equipment to bamboo floors and non-toxic paint, these spaces are economical in the long run and sought after by modern coworkers.
Spaces for Niche Groups
As coworking becomes more popular, we begin to see spaces catering towards minority groups. Spaces that cater towards certain professions became obvious after people would join a coworking space after hearing that most members there were developers, designers or writers. People want to join a space with people who they can relate to as well as learn from.
Hera Hub was the first international women-only coworking space to be founded: the space was created so that the needs of women would come first and would enhance their business success and wellbeing. Since then, the number of women-only or LGBTQIA-only coworking spaces has multiplied, providing safe spaces for entrepreneurs and businesses who can feel like outsiders within their various industries.
Scattering a few bean bags around the place or placing a foosball table somewhere doesn’t create a strong community. Coworking design needs to be holistic and allow members to move to areas that respect privacy, i.e the loudest rooms should not be next to private offices. A space will be used differently throughout the day, so members should find it easy to move throughout the space to meet changing needs rather than it feeling like a labyrinth. Incorporating greenery and allowing in natural light improves wellbeing, this can be achieved through skylights or glass facades.
Coworking continues to increase in popularity and with it will become many sub-trends that redefine what we think of the spaces themselves. Coworking businesses need to keep up with the latest industry trends to provide the most valuable experience to their members, while members need to keep up with trends to ensure they’re in a space that suits them best!
Coworking spaces are currently springing up all over the world, spaces in each country and city that put their own twist on coworking to suit the needs of local workers. If you’re in Kolkata, we recommend you see the coworking space at Zioks. They are a new coworking space in Kolkata that are attracting the attention of both freelancers and large businesses.