Julie Tucker
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Everything you need to know about shared workspaces

Shared workspaces can provide an ideal alternative to a corporate office, whether you’re an SME owner seeking a different environment, or a freelancer who’s tired of working from home.

As one of today’s most popular flexible solutions, coworking space has an estimated global market value of around £20 billion.

In the early days, some people thought it was just a trend that wouldn’t last. On the contrary, coworking is here to stay, with the pandemic having strengthened its position further.

With an average annual growth rate of 23% since 2010; coworking spaces are the fastest-growing office space in commercial lets and are expected to comprise 30% of the global office lets market by 2030. London and New York are leading the way, according to data published by Small Business Genius in March 2023 – new coworking space opens up roughly once a week in London,

Benefits of coworking spaces

The popularity of coworking spaces is due to the many benefits they offer. Broadly speaking, they are usually populated by people from different companies, who are working independently on their own projects, creating a vibrant environment, where collaboration and networking with people who have similar views are encouraged.

A coworking space offers the same amenities as a traditional office, but with other major advantages. Flexibility is the key, as you don’t have to sign a long-term lease; so, you can grow your business or downsize when needed.

Each space includes basics such as reliable Wi-Fi, printers and some kind of meeting room, where you can welcome clients, management, or your team and discuss things in private. Some also provide coffee, tea and snacks.

As well as private spaces, there are areas for collaboration, breakout areas and a communal kitchen – so, a stimulating environment, especially for people in creative and tech industries.

When multiple workers from different companies are sharing an office space, this enables financial savings through the common infrastructure including equipment, facilities, utility bills and reception services.

How do you find a coworking space?

Most shared workspaces are run on a membership basis, so you can rent a desk for a year, a month, or even by the hour. Usually, you can fill out a form online to make the initial contact. Then, someone will get back to you to guide you through the process.

It’s a good idea to check that your chosen space will be a good fit in terms of fellow workers. Find out what industries your colleagues work in and whether this will be a good environment for your business to thrive.

What types of coworking spaces are there?

Open workspaces, the original basis for coworking, have hot desks or dedicated desks that enable people from different companies to share common areas.

Another type is the private workspace, where larger teams from one company can either share a dedicated room, or several areas leased by their company. Independent freelancers, individuals, SMEs and businesses can all feel the benefits of coworking spaces.

Industry specific workspaces allow users to network with co-workers who share common experiences and interests through working in the same sector. They can all work under one roof, usually in a combination of both open and private workspaces.

Why do people love coworking spaces?

Flexibility, networking, motivation and a supportive community are all reasons people have given for enjoying coworking.

It can be lonely working at home if you’ve started your own business. In a shared workspace, you can meet fellow entrepreneurs. It’s a great environment for networking, an important aspect of growing SMEs. It’s possible to create collaborations that may not be possible elsewhere.

The relaxed nature of most coworking hubs improves social interactions and helps boost morale at work. If it’s not something you’ve considered, perhaps it’s time to give it a try?


© GaudiLab / Shutterstock.com

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