Coworking spaces can benefit just about any type of business in some respect. Programmers, writers, analysts, legal professionals, marketers, creative types, day traders, entrepreneurs, sole traders, freelancers – the list goes on.
Most companies can take advantage of shared workspace to avoid the cost of renting a traditional office. All they require is a business address, a desk and a high-speed internet connection to enable them to carry out admin tasks, answer customer queries, work on invoices, update social media feeds and complete other day-to-day office duties.
Why are coworking spaces so popular?
The concept of coworking has really taken off in the corporate world in recent years, across a wide range of businesses. It provides the flexibility of a commercial lease, with the top-grade amenities that many SMEs can’t afford on their own.
Choosing a coworking space offers an affordable option that enables your business to pay for just what you need and no more.
1. Small to medium size businesses
Coworking spaces make a lot of sense for SMEs, from web designers and marketers to financial professionals. They enable you to adapt your business to your immediate needs without being tied into a long contract.
The labour needs of small to medium size businesses can change quickly, particularly during these challenging economic times. If you’ve signed up for a costly lease, it can become a burden if your company suddenly needs more or less space at short notice, as the situation changes.
The ability to downsize or grow your business quickly is one of the major coworking space benefits, thanks to the flexible options and rates per desk.
When you’ve launched a new enterprise, cost controls are vital. Renting office space is the highest expense many start-ups face, followed by equipment and insurance.
Many don’t need a physical location and can benefit from having a business address with separate meeting rooms and a reliable internet connection.
Coworking communities offer more private, cleaner and efficient premises when compared with working in a public place such as a coffee shop, or at home, which can be lonely.
3. Freelancers and digital nomads
Around 33% of the UK’s workforce today are freelancers, either part or full-time. If you have pets, children, a slow internet connection, or noisy neighbours, working from home isn’t ideal.
Some freelancers simply prefer to retain a good work/life balance and keep the office separate from home. Coworking space enables you to put a commercial address on your business cards, adding legitimacy and increasing trust and credibility.
4. Large businesses with remote workers
Larger businesses with remote workers are becoming more prevalent today. The practice began during the Covid-19 pandemic, proving how efficient remote working could be: working from home after the pandemic was superseded by working remotely from coworking spaces.
Larger companies are now giving employees a change from working at the main office, where there can be distractions. Often, employees can function better in a more casual, less congested environment.
Workers who live far away from the main office can reduce their commute time, arriving at work less stressed.
When businesses have employees or contractors coming in from another area, a flexible workspace is preferable to cramming more people into an overcrowded office.
Renting a coworking space is also more affordable than leasing a larger office if a business has a temporary increased space requirement.
5. Tech companies
Coworking space is traditionally the reserve of tech companies. Individual traders, freelancers and SMEs in this sector have long used flexible office environments.
Tech giants are also following their lead, with international corporations such as Microsoft trying it out.
Microsoft has been extolling its virtues in the media, quoting a survey by Deskmag that reveals 74% of respondents report increased productivity. Having peers on the “same journey” also helps workers to meet their goals.
6. Media and creative companies
Media and creative companies are among the biggest supporters of coworking – among them Virgin Media. The company’s billionaire founder, Richard Branson, says coworking is ideal for the “evolving demands” of independent working.
The workplace environment should be aesthetically pleasing, inspirational and functional. Coworking space that combines these attributes can boost productivity and creativity.
Can anyone use coworking spaces?
The answer is yes – as unfortunately, there are too many myths surrounding this type of workspace.
You’ve probably read that coworking is only for tech startups, entrepreneurs and freelancers. While these sectors make up a large percentage of users, there are plenty of other types of business who could benefit.
You might not think of a taxi firm as being a likely client. However, did you know Uber started in coworking space in San Francisco? The online cab system is now in operation all over the world, after the entrepreneurs behind it developed their idea in the flexible workspace.
More organisations should be taking advantage of coworking, not only because of the business benefits, but also for the potential health boost.
People who establish a good work/life balance through flexible working arrangements suffer less burnout than their peers. They are 46% more satisfied with their job and 32% more committed to the organisation, according to a report in Harvard Business Review.
Are coworking spaces profitable?
A new report has described coworking’s rise to popularity as “meteoric” – and with very good reason. Coworking spaces have raised around £820 million worldwide from venture capitalists.
They have spearheaded a “special revolution” in the growth of independent working culture, according to a study published by global real estate agency Stonehard.
As well as being a workplace, coworking space has become a “home from home” and the users’ main source of networking and social interaction.
International companies who started out coworking have also made incredible profits. Spotify started life as a tech startup. Today, it has more than 159 million users and an annual revenue of £4 billion.
The founders of Uber now have a combined fortune of £4.7 billion since the company’s launch in 2009.
… and the top coworking city?
London has been revealed as the best city in the world for coworking, according to research by the Business Name Generator.
Coworking in London has taken off in a big way, with almost 1,400 spaces available across the capital. More are opening every day to cope with demand.
There are an average 4,400 internet searches a day for “coworking space London”, while searches for “coworking space near me” have risen by 25% in recent months.
Data from Google Trends shows the number of firms seeking coworking offices in the capital has rocketed since 31st March 2023. This has been triggered by the cost-of-living crisis and the increase in small business rate valuations on 1st April.
This has led more organisations to seek a cost-effective alternative. Coworking stands out as a viable option in these cash-strapped times!