The Rise of Collaborative Work Environments
In the constantly shifting terrain of today's commercial industry, a revolutionary concept has taken root and is reshaping the way startups approach their work environments. Welcome to the world of coworking spaces – dynamic, vibrant, and collaborative hubs where innovative ideas are nurtured, connections are forged, and growth is accelerated.
You might recognise one of the most renowned pioneers of this movement, WeWork, a name that has become synonymous with the concept of coworking.
But what exactly is a coworking space, and why has it become such a driving force for startups worldwide?
Coworking spaces are shared workspaces that bring together individuals and businesses from various industries, providing them with a flexible, all-inclusive environment to work, network, and thrive. Picture a bustling hive of activity, where freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners unite under one roof, sharing not only physical space but also ideas, experiences, and opportunities.
The shift towards coworking. A Statistical Glimpse
The rise of coworking spaces has been nothing short of remarkable. According to a recent study, the number of coworking spaces worldwide has doubled since 2015, reflecting an exponential growth trajectory. In the UK alone, the trend has been fervently embraced, with London being home to over 1,000 coworking locations. This monumental shift can be attributed to the changing dynamics of work, where the conventional 9-to-5 model is giving way to a more flexible, collaborative, and outcome-driven approach.
Benefits galore, how coworking spaces propel startups forward.
1. Cost-Efficiency with a Side of Professionalism
For startups, managing overhead costs is often a tightrope act, and this is where coworking spaces shine. By providing fully furnished workspaces, complete with amenities such as high-speed internet, meeting rooms, and shared utilities, startups can bypass the hefty expenses associated with setting up a traditional office. The majority of shared workspaces offer layered membership packages, which enables emerging businesses to pay for a service level that meets their current needs. A highly attractive cost-saving option for new company owners on tight budgets.
“In a shared office, costs for amenities are also included in the rent, and there are no hefty lease exit costs present in traditional office leases. Coworking spaces offer the additional benefit of a flexible month-to-month schedule, which means you can gradually increase the required space as you grow.
In that sense, many coworking spaces are far more economical than traditional workspaces, which do not often take into account the changing needs of a business”, says Joanne Bushell, MD, IWG, South Africa
2. A Hotbed of Networking Opportunities
In the world of startups, connections are akin to gold dust. Coworking spaces serve as thriving ecosystems where networking happens organically. The proximity to professionals from diverse industries opens doors to collaboration, mentorship, and potential partnerships. This is a massive plus for new companies, as it gives them access to like-minded business people who can share unique knowledge, insights and resources. It also enables network building to happen organically and automatically as a byproduct of working in the same space.
In an interview with thehomeworker.com the owners of DESKGO, a coworking space in Peterborough, described the diverse atmosphere they facilitate;
‘’DESKGO is ideal for freelancers, remote workers, start-ups and established businesses. We believe almost anyone can benefit from a coworking space.’’
‘’Our members come from a wide range of backgrounds including small business owners, self-employed and, of course, homeworkers. We see all types of people walk through our doors and that’s the great thing about coworking. Whether you need a desk for a couple of hours or space to hold a professional meeting, we have the solution for you.’’
3. Flexibility to Fuel Creativity
The conventional office lease can feel like a straitjacket for startups, restricting their ability to adapt swiftly to market changes. Coworking spaces offer the antidote – flexibility. Whether your team size fluctuates or you need a space for a limited period, coworking spaces accommodate your needs seamlessly. This adaptability nurtures a culture of innovation, allowing startups to experiment, iterate, and evolve. In addition to fostering creativity, offering flexibility is now highly important for recruiting and attracting talent.
As Ana Paula Tediosi, owner and general manager of Birdhaus, a social club and coworking space for women located in Zurich, Switzerland stresses,
‘’People are asking for more flexible work environments and working remotely is becoming an essential benefit to provide to employees. If companies want to hire and retain the best talent, they need to adapt to this new expectation. Additionally, more and more professionals are not willing to move for a new job. Working remotely, by providing home office or coworking space options, is becoming a requirement to attract & retain talent. It has become one of many corporate strategies regarding talent acquisition.’’
4. Access to Premium Facilities and Services
Startups often grapple with resource constraints, but coworking spaces level the playing field by offering access to premium amenities that might otherwise be out of reach. Imagine hosting a client presentation in a state-of-the-art meeting room that exudes professionalism, or taking a break in a stylish lounge area that recharges both you and your team. This access to high-quality infrastructure fosters a conducive work environment that elevates startups' credibility.
The value of first-class, attractive facilities is affirmed by the team at online marketplace for workspace, Hubble, in their article on WeWork,
‘’Humans are impacted by their surroundings, that’s just how we work—like plants, but with more emotions. Every WeWork space still has that distinct WeWork look, even with variations across locations and even floor to floor (thanks to the keen eyes of their design team.) That’s what makes their spaces so special.’’
5. A Supportive Community for Growth
Navigating the startup journey can be a solitary endeavour, but coworking spaces transform this narrative. The sense of community, camaraderie, and shared aspirations create an environment where startups can seek advice, share knowledge, and find solace in the collective challenges and triumphs. Many coworking spaces have social programs and activities to encourage community building and create a more personal atmosphere.
“There seems to be something happening all the time – whether it’s a happy hour, pitch contest, a lunch-and-learn (where a sponsor brings lunch and tells you about their product or service). And very often there’s something plainly fun like a scavenger hunt which is a great way to loosen everyone up. I’ve visited a lot of other co-working spaces and they just lack the soul that WeWork has” — Pierre Wooldridge of All Make Believe, describing his experience at WeWork.
To show you exactly what kind of benefits a well-designed coworking space can provide, take a look at stunning facilities and services of three of the World’s best.
Situated in the heart of Hollywood in the CBS studios building itself, Neuehouse has stunning creative workspaces and a cultural program to rival leading arts-centres. Cultural program to rival, hotels clubs benefits
Where can you finish a hard-day’s work building your startup business, and then take a 3 minute walk to surf in the tropical waters of Indonesia? Or kick-off your day with a fresh coconut straight off the tree? At Dojo Coworking in Canggu, Bali.
Fancy grabbing a fresh croissant and taking a stroll in the lush Parisian gardens of Bois de Boulogne on your next lunch break? Then Patchwork Paris is the space for you! This dazzling location combined with the bespoke interior design of its light and cosy workspace make it a must for startups in the French capital.
Where Synergy Meets Success
*Disclaimer - your average shared office space in the UK might not always possess quite the same level of glamour as those above.
However, in the dynamic landscape of startups, coworking spaces have emerged as a beacon of possibility. They transcend the conventional office model, offering startups a myriad of benefits – from cost-efficiency and networking prowess to flexibility and access to premium resources. As the statistics bear witness to the meteoric rise of coworking spaces, the anecdotes from real-life startups in the UK underscore the tangible impact these spaces have on growth, innovation, and community-building.
So, whether you're an ambitious entrepreneur looking to disrupt industries or a burgeoning startup seeking a launchpad, consider the realm of coworking spaces. It's where the fusion of ideas, collaboration, and inspiration transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. Just as the likes of WeWork have paved the way, startups can now bask in the manifold advantages of coworking – a modern phenomenon that is rewriting the rules of success, one shared desk at a time.