By Olivia Blake

It’s not just freelancers and entrepreneurs who can benefit from coworking. There are many reasons for larger companies to embrace the essence of the concept. Let’s look at what traditional offices can learn from coworking spaces.

What Is Coworking?

Coworking is the name given to membership-based work spaces, where freelancers, remote workers and independent professionals work alongside each other in a shared communal setting.

These spaces are similar to traditional offices – there are workstations, telecommunications, photocopiers, meeting rooms, a water fountain, commercial blinds – in fact, all the things you associate with working in an office. Coworking spaces offer a low cost alternative to working at home, along with great networking potential.

Why Is Coworking Becoming So Popular?

The growing popularity of coworking can be explained by three major trends.

  • The increase in freelancers who need a space to work
  • The flexibility some employers now give to employees to work in different locations, including coworking spaces
  • The increase in the number of contract staff – employers often house these workers in suitable coworking spaces

Top 9 Benefits of Coworking

  1. Coworkers are all working for a diverse range of companies on different projects. This means there is no workplace competition or politics to contend with, so focusing on work is the priority.
  2. This type of environment helps to strengthen work identity. By explaining to fellow coworkers what their work involves, people made it interesting and distinctive.
  3. Because coworkers all have different skills and experience, there is the opportunity to help each other out with any gaps in skills.
  4. The opportunity for collaboration and cross-fertilization is a big draw for younger workers and millennials.
  5. Coworkers feel that they belong to a community and are part of a growing social movement. This instills a sense of pride and meaning in their work. The community is also important for offering emotional support and stops people feeling isolated and alone.
  6. The coworking environment gives people control over their working life. Coworking spaces are usually available 24/7, allowing individuals to choose when they get their work done. If they want to fit in lunch with a friend, or a trip to the gym, they can build it into their working day.
  7. A coworking space is valuable for giving freelancers some structure to their working day. The structures and discipline that come from working in a community are great for motivation.
  8. There is no need to socialize or interact with your fellow coworkers. Equally, there’s plenty of opportunities to make new friends.
  9. For start-ups, a coworking space is cost effective and takes care of all the utilities which can distract from the important task of growing the business.

What Can Traditional Office-Based Businesses Learn from This?

Traditional offices can learn from coworking spaces, which can both boost profitability and staff morale. Things to consider include:

  • Giving employees an alternative place to work. This gives them the benefit of both a flexible workplace and variable hours. It can help them to spark new ideas and creative solutions to grow your business.
  • Helping employees interact and build a community beyond work meetings, and thinking about running more networking events, training programmes or social events.
  • Considering opening up your office space to start-ups, freelancers and entrepreneurs, to work alongside the indigenous workforce.
  • The biggest lesson traditional companies can learn from coworking spaces is to give employees the space and flexibility to perform at their best. This will increase their commitment to you, boost morale and help to generate new energy and ideas to make your business grow.