Coworking offers a unique workplace solution that works well for small teams and businesses as well as some types of freelancers, but there are many individuals or companies for which coworking makes little sense.
Small – Medium-Sized Businesses
The smaller your company and pool of employees, the higher the impact of real estate overhead is on your long-term liabilities. While large companies might benefit from customized workspace that optimizes diverse teams and operations, smaller businesses can benefit more from the flexibility that flex private offices provide. There’s less risk associated with short-term leases, it gives you the ability to move with your workforce, and scale up or down as your team dynamics change.
This isn’t a new realization. In a 2019 study by Coworker which researched thousands of international coworking spaces, 38% of coworking users were small-to-medium-sized businesses. This is likely to increase as more companies realize the benefits of ending their long-term leases and transitioning to flexible office space.
Start-ups have to be strategic with their resources, and it rarely makes sense to look into long-term real estate commitments until you’ve acquired capital or are producing enough margin on your revenue. But once the budget is there, coworking spaces offer several benefits to fast-growing startups.
Asides from it requiring significantly less upfront investment than traditional long-term office leases, you’re also gaining access to an existing office-culture and community. Exposure to a variety of personalities can also help your own company culture to develop in a well-rounded way, and the business network is a great opportunity to connect with like-minded people or tap into local talent. Not to mention, a lot of spaces offer cheaper dedicated desks and meeting room access so you can entertain clients while keeping overhead low.
Covid sped up the shift toward the corporate hub and spoke office strategy. With their employees working from home and now used to not commuting 30 mins or more to the office, enterprises are cutting back on square footage and finding “team rooms” in commuter markets. Having “quick access” offices in peripheral towns is an excellent strategy to recruit and retain talent. Coworking and flex office providers give enterprise a turnkey way to launch their hub and spoke model.
However, some enterprises are betting on the return to HQ. And, at a certain scale, corporations should consider tailored office space designed for their operations. As remote work has proved, it’s difficult to maintain your company’s unique character and personality without collaborative environments.This is a consideration as the culture of shared workspace may cause your employees to miss out on the opportunity to build a cohesive corporate identity through personal design.
This clearly isn’t a problem for smaller businesses, but it is something for large corporations to think about when revamping their office space and remote work strategy.
We’re seeing grand examples of this with corporate tech giants. From Facebook’s Frank Gehry-designed HQ that embraces the need for spontaneous-interactions through a carefully orchestrated open-floor plan, to Amazon’s Seattle-based Spheres, which inspire creativity with biophilic design, these innovators are rethinking workplaces based on their team’s needs and company culture.
Even with these HQ investments, many corporations are still partnering with coworking and flex office operators to design and manage these new office environments. Since Microsoft’s movement into coworking, several other Fortune 500 companies have followed their lead, including Facebook, Citizens Bank, Samsung, HSBC, IBM, and countless others.
There is no silver bullet for solving these real estate decisions. While investing in your own office designs can improve brand consistency and corporate identity, coworking and flex spaces still offer unique benefits such as faster market expansion, closer-access to the millennial & Gen-Z talent pool, and increased resiliency to catastrophes.
Freelancers & Remote Workers
As 2020 proved, remote employees or freelancers were more productive and felt like they were getting more important work done.
However, according to this study of over 350 different employees, 46% of people also suffered from loneliness, were more likely to be overworked, and struggled with avoiding distractions.
So it’s obvious that while many people have been and will continue working just fine from their offices at home, there is a clear need for workers to have the option to get back into the office. Coworking spaces with flexible memberships offer some respite from lonely or distracting at-home work situations, while also serving to reinforce positive work-life balance habits. Like with startups, a lot of workspaces offer cheaper dedicated desks and meeting room access so you can entertain clients while keeping overhead low.
Deciding If Coworking Is Right For Your Business
The days of cubicles and rigid work schedules are giving way to a modern work culture that is more personalized to the needs of the employee. Traditional workplaces served a purpose at one point; it wasn’t until technology afforded greater mobility that the opportunities arose to diversify work settings to improve worker happiness, efficiency, and productivity. But now, companies are realizing that providing people with office choices is a big benefit and enables them to do their jobs better.
While coworking and flex office spaces offer much of this, including a unique work culture, flexible memberships, and diverse work conditions, it doesn’t mean it’s the right solution for every company. It’s important you consider the needs of your employees, what level of office customization they need to work effectively, your risk-tolerance to long-term leases, the size of your business, and your ability to maintain brand identity in a shared workspace.
But if you think it’s the right fit and you’re looking to learn more, click here to check out our memberships, then take a tour to see what it’s like first hand.