It’s becoming a famous start-up fairytale: a few friends turned co-founders working out of their garage or basement as they build up their business. While this may work the first few months or so of your start-up, at some point, you’ll need to start scaling up your operations by adding employees.
You’ll also need to start meeting your clients and would-be investors in more professional settings than a coffee shop.
As always, the tension between scaling up versus the necessity to cut costs is something all start-ups have to contend with. With this in mind, co-working spaces have been cropping up—aimed at small businesses that need the physical space to nurture their business without the costs of a traditional office.
The Co-working Environment
Co-working spaces are essentially shared workspaces. They offer affordable office spaces for small start-ups, solo entrepreneurs, remote workers, and even freelancers. Many co-working spaces are cropping up nowadays, but a usual space will be an open floor plan with different desks and chairs for individual workers or small teams.
Co-working spaces also typically offer meeting rooms for team powwows or meeting with clients. Other amenities include high-speed internet, and some even offer perks like having an in-house barista or coffee machine and a variety of pastries and food.
When the time comes for a start-up to move out of the home office and into a more professional but affordable workspace, co-working spaces offer a variety of benefits as well, including flexibility, cost-efficiency, connections, improved company culture, and increased productivity, to name a few.
Co-Working Spaces are More Affordable and Flexible
The number one advantage of renting a co-working space versus a traditional office is its cost-efficiency. A dedicated office space may be a solution for the future, but right now, all you really need is a desk and access to a high-speed internet connection.
Going the traditional office rental route would mean having to pay a higher fee, as well as more upfront costs for facilities and equipment—all of which are offered and readily available in a co-working space.
In addition, these spaces usually offer flexible arrangements, even for something as granular as deciding whether you want to rent a shared table or a dedicated one for yourself or your team. As you scale up, co-working spaces can also grow with you and your needs.
If you need more facilities for additional workers to help during the busy times, you can always rent more space and desks for your needs, then scale down during leaner times. You’ll also enjoy flexibility in terms of commitment level, for instance, when you only need the space for a month, a week, or even just a day.
Co-Working Spaces Increase Productivity
According to research by Deskmag and Deskwanted, 74% of coworkers consider themselves more productive since they started working in a co-working space.
If you think about it, productivity in a co-working space makes sense. Anyone who has tried working at home or a coffee shop can relate—there can be too many non-work distractions that can eat up your time and attention. Moving to a co-working space where you have more control over your work environment can lessen the distractions.
At the same time, it breaks the monotony and isolation of working alone or from home by putting you in a place filled with like-minded individuals and opportunities for collaboration and learning.
Co-working environments offer the best of both worlds: it mimics the sense of having a daily routine similar to working in your own office while also giving you flexibility to manage your own time and productivity.
Co-Working Spaces Foster Community and Collaboration
Co-working environments offer the best of both worlds: it mimics the sense of having a daily routine similar to working in your own office while also giving you the flexibility to manage your own time and productivity.
Think about the kind of people utilizing co-working spaces: remote workers, freelancers, incubators, and other start-up entrepreneurs. Just by sharing the same area as like-minded individuals, you can open your business to new opportunities for collaborating, sparking new ideas, and even new partnerships or potential leads.
Moreover, a lot of co-working spaces emphasize building communities. Managers of these spaces often hold regular networking events and various training programs and workshops around things like marketing, growing a business, or productivity tips.
You can take advantage of these regular workshops and socials to further your professional knowledge and grow your business.
Co-Working Spaces Increase Well-Being and Help Workers Thrive.
According to this study from Harvard Business Review, people thrive in the co-working environment compared to being in an office. In fact, they report on average, 6 out of a 7-point scale for measuring levels of thriving.
The researchers point to a combination of a well-designed work environment (the ambiance, the facilities, and amenities), as well as well-curated work experience (the community, networking, and collaborative experience).
Before co-working spaces came around, start-up entrepreneurs had to deal with working from home or spending precious capital on renting a traditional office space.
With its advent, start-ups now have a better option for working in a professional environment that still allows them to move fast, scale as needed, collaborate, and meet with like-minded individuals and save on costs.
It has become so beneficial that even some traditional companies like Microsoft and IBM have encouraged their employees to work in co-working spaces a few days out of the week. It has allowed employees to have more freedom to work outside of traditional cubicles while also getting to work alongside other innovative start-ups.