If you’re on the hunt for the ideal workspace for your business, the vast array of choice can be confusing. Recent workspace trends are highlighting crucial relationships between work environment and productivity, as well as other factors like quality of work, motivation, employee wellbeing and retention. There is also a focus on flexibility, inclusivity and community to match the values of the next generation of talent.
If you’re interested in whether coworking could be a good solution for your company, it’s worth taking the time to fully get your head around what’s on offer and weigh the pros and cons to better appreciate whether your company’s needs will be met.
To get you started, here’s a comprehensive guide to coworking, including some of the most frequently cited benefits and challenges of this relatively new office model.
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What is Driving the Coworking Trend?
Recruitment is a major growth area in business today. With connectivity expanding our reach, teams composed of remote employees have become the norm. Because of this, the available talent and expertise can be utilized from all over the world, exploding the traditional geographic limitations. So that incredible coder living in Nashville won’t only be checking out jobs nearby. Add to that the fact that they will be approached through Linkedin by businesses all over the world who are desperate to hire them remotely, and you’ll see how much harder it would be for those local companies to get them on board.
In the war for talent, companies at every level are having to invest heavily in recruitment to ensure they get the talent they need. They must compete in an international pool, and retain these talented individuals once they manage to get them in-house.
In response to this recruitment frenzy, workspace design has become driven by the need for effective recruitment and retention. In the new competitive environment (particularly in the tech-startup space) young, talented people are choosing to work for businesses that offer a workspace where they can thrive.
Research has found that the demand for coworking is driven by particular values that are held by the talent that companies want to recruit. Co-workers want to be part of a community that fosters peer-to-peer cooperation. They want to participate and be part of a team, rather than simply contribute to someone else’s projects. They certainly don’t want to be just a cog in the wheel. If you’re serious about creating a company culture that attracts and retains talent, you need to be implementing Practices That Might Make Employees Feel ‘Of The Company’. This is not something that a coworking space can do for you, but as you’ll see below, there are ways in which this fast-growing workspace trend can help.
Early in your workspace search, it’s worth exploring the way that wellness is propelling modern workspace trends, so you can make up your mind as to whether this trend should feature front and centre in your approach to managing your team.
Keeping employees happy has come to the fore in the business world. If you want to remain viable, you will see the challenge of finding the perfect workspace for your business as a chance to keep your team happy. Wellbeing is a hot topic in the world of workspace, with many businesses starting to acknowledge the profound impact that employee wellbeing has on retention. Coworking is emerging as the new kid on the block in the workspace realm, jumping on opportunities to offer the design features, resources and community engagement that has been proven to boost employee wellbeing and productivity.
Employee wellbeing is quickly becoming one of the most important factors in workspace layout and design. Companies are incorporating office design features and wellness programs to guarantee that their teams’ mental and physical health is looked after. According to research, a business that helps its employees achieve their goals in all areas of life (outside of work) will score high on key indicators of what constitutes a high-functioning team: attention to detail, motivation, productivity, among others.
From break-out areas to rooftop gardens, design-led, wellness-driven offices are becoming the norm around the world. Alongside the structural and design elements, wellness stakeholders and office management teams are being sourced to provide facilities and stage events that provide the wellness and community building (things like healthy snacks, onsite Pilates classes, mental-health days, and many other events) that modern teams require.
Can Your Business Compete?
The standard office facilities and layout that were once considered good enough no longer even come close to meeting minimum requirements for what modern teams want from their workspace. But how do you compete as a business if you’re not experienced in how to provide the environment and community atmosphere to attract the right talent for your company? This is where coworking comes in.
Why Should I Consider Coworking?
Coworking spaces are appearing everywhere these days. If you came up in the startup environment, or you did your time as a freelancer, this new form of workspace could already be on your radar.
Flexibility and Affordability
No contracts (or relatively short contracts) make coworking a risk-free choice, especially if you’re expecting your team to grow. For your fairly affordable monthly rate, you get a talent-friendly workspace without having to contribute anything in terms of workspace conception, design, construction or management.
Compared to the old fashioned offices, coworking locations are more creative and varied in how they utilize space, which means you get your workspace at a much lower price-point than if you were to lease your own space long-term.
All-inclusive fees generally include all the necessary infrastructure and services, such as security, reception, IT management, cleaning and maintenance. Optional add-ons include call-answering, mail-handling and admin services, and you could also benefit from perks like fancy coffee, and premium snacks. (Your talent will thank you, for sure!)
24-hr access is standard at most coworking locations, so your team can come and go to suit your workflow and their time zone, if applicable. This means you can offer your employees flexible working hours (highly desirable, nowadays) without having to provide for extra office security and access facilities out of regular hours.
Networking and Collaboration
As coworking members, you and your employees will share the space with other companies, fostering a community vibe, with massive potential for networking, collaboration, and innovation-driving competition.
What are the Downsides?
From wellness potential, community-building to affordability and flexibility, coworking offers seemingly endless benefits for your employees, your retention efforts, and your bottom line. But all of that aside, coworking has its challenges, and does not suit every business.
While it has revolutionized workspace, this modern solution is not suited to every company. Here are a couple of reasons why.
If the survival of your business depends on adhering to strict privacy policies where customer data and internal processes are concerned, a coworking space is not necessarily going to work for you. Working in close quarters with other companies space has the obvious downside that not everybody in the building is employed by your organization, so many people passing through your workspace will not have the security clearance required to see the data your team manages on a day to day basis. Whether they’re walking behind your desk on the way to the coffee machine, or hanging out at your employee’s desk for a quick networking chat, you can’t really control who may be able to view your business’s computer screens.
Lack of Privacy For Phone Calls
If you or your team are required to spend much of your time on the phone to clients or other stakeholders, you won’t always get the privacy you need to conduct sensitive business conversations. Most coworking locations boast phone booths and meeting rooms to allow members to make private calls, but these are more of a solution for members who have to make the odd call than for those who need an almost-constant level of privacy. You also usually have to book these spaces, which can book up fast, and in the case of meeting rooms, may be charged per hour, adding to your business expenses.
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Coworking Comes With Distractions
Most coworking locations are thriving hubs for collaboration and networking. This is a good thing, but there is a downside, of course. A constant low-level buzz of conversation can be really motivating for members of your team who thrive in a collaborative environment, but others who prefer a more concentrative space may find this distracting. This criticism of the coworking model seems to have been taken onboard, with many coworking locations recently designating “silent zones” for members to get down the business, but these are limited, and tend to be the exception rather than the norm when it comes to the general atmosphere of the coworking environment.
So will coworking be the answer to your prayers, or will this flexible solution serve mainly to distract your team from their core work? This A-Z of the coworking model will help you work out if you should sign up now, or pursue other options that better meet your needs.