The growing popularity of co-working spaces has a lot to do with flexible work settings, personal space, professional ambiance, opportunities for socializing, networking, and human interaction, irrespective of work backgrounds. Instead of working in isolation at home or in a typical office space, this offers you a comfortable space to experience the best of both worlds. With more companies adopting remote working models or hybrid models, co-working spaces provide an alternative workspace that negates the rigidity of traditional offices.
From $13.60 billion in 2021 to $16.17 billion in 2022, the global co-working space market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.9%. This growth is again expected to reach $30.36 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 17%. The reason for this is due to companies resuming operations while recovering from the impact of Covid-19, which had posed obstacles in the form of restrictive containment zones, social distancing, and the shutting down of commercial spaces resulting in the loss and a plethora of challenges.
The main business types in co-working spaces are conventional co-working spaces, corporate working spaces, and alike. The different users include entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, architects, people from marketing, real estate, technology, consulting services, and more.
How are co-working spaces different from traditional offices?
Traditional office spaces tend to be the permanent headquarters of companies. They provide the necessary resources and offer lesser distractions by maintaining an official environment. These spaces encourage individual growth, offer complete privacy to client meetings, and follow a schedule for all activities. There is no opportunity for collaboration, networking, and lower chances of communication. Buying or leasing these spaces requires a substantial investment by the company.
Co-working spaces on the other hand have an open layout with multiple work pods and sharable spaces. They are specially designed to promote collaboration and communication between diverse backgrounds with maximum productivity. They are equipped with furniture, technology, and cafeterias. They give an excellent opportunity to network with people, which is impossible to achieve in a traditional office.
The market for co-working space consists of revenue generated by entities (organizations and partnerships) that provide the space on lease or rent. The cost of renting the space covers the furniture, internet connection, and the use of any hardware or software. Businesses in this industry provide non-residential structures with amenities on a flexible rental basis. Co-working spaces are an affordable option as the companies are not bound by long-term commitments. The expenses associated with renovation, replacing furniture, fixing the electricity, and maintaining washrooms are not your concern. However, you may have to schedule conference rooms for meetings in advance as it is a shared amenity.
How have co-working spaces evolved in the last two years?
Working is becoming something that is beyond borders and nationalities. With the digital space taking the front seat, the opportunities are endless. What’s more, anyone can work from anywhere and get paid. Globally, co-working spaces are contributing to the growth of the workforce. It’s an excellent opportunity to reinvent the workspace by giving people the stability of a working environment, flexible working hours, and resources. Co-working spaces are all set to become the new standard of working all over the world.
It’s crucial to understand that co-working isn’t limited to accommodating remote workers. It’s equally beneficial to commercial real estate for both the company and its employees. It cuts down the most expensive business cost of the workplace and converts it into service. The space-as-a-service model changes the way companies function and maximize the value of a physical workplace without worrying about space utilization. This unburdens the company and increases the focus on employees and productivity. And employees get the necessary resources and assistance to do their jobs well. The next evolution of how, where, and when we work will be largely driven by co-working spaces.
Let’s take a close look at the benefits of co-working spaces
- Opportunities to network
Co-working spaces provide a platform to build connections within the industry, interact with people from diverse backgrounds, grow your network and form a professional community.
2. Cost-effective model
Co-working spaces help in cost-cutting to a large extent as compared to permanent office spaces. For startups and small-scale businesses, such spaces attract potential clients and help them establish a brand image without spending too much.
3. Positive working environment
Many employees underperform due to a toxic work environment. This hurts businesses, as they lose both time and money in replacing such employees. Co-working spaces encourage a healthy work culture that focuses on personal growth through positive interactions. This improves productivity and boosts confidence in individuals.
4. Diverse workspace
From individual workstations to group spaces, from cafeteria discussions to conference rooms for client meetings, there is diversity in the way you want to work.
5. Increases productivity
Productivity works differently for different people. For some, it is working in a private space whereas for some it is about coming together and getting the work done. Co-working spaces have both options with great aesthetics.
6. Improves the monotonous lives of remote workers and freelancers
Remote workers and freelancers can use this space to meet clients and collaborate with others. This helps them to get rid of the dull environment of home offices.
7. Access to resources
In co-working spaces, you have the access to facilities like a cafeteria, high-speed internet, and recreational areas. These are available 24*7. Studies show that such spaces help people create better and progress in their work.
8. The flexibility of working hours
A co-working space does not have a fixed working hour, so people are free to choose a time that is convenient for them.
9. Zero maintenance
There is no need for paying the maintenance cost of facilities.
10. Variety of payment options
Membership payment and pay-as-you-go models offer flexibility.
How can co-working space designs be improved in terms of accessibility and affordability in a post-pandemic world?
- Plan your layout with different zones
Creating different zones is a crucial concept in space planning, especially in a co-working space. Having multiple zones increases space optimization and a variety of options to choose from, such as private work booths, conference rooms, break-out areas for collaboration, and open spaces for brainstorming ideas.
- Adopt a biophilic design
Adding greenery into closed spaces can never go wrong. Indoor plants can elevate the most basic designs and convert them into vibrant spaces. Biophilic design goes a step forward by taking inspiration from nature – patterns, textures, colors, and integrating it into design elements. Such settings are bound to make people happier and ultimately productive.
- Take care of distractions
An open layout has its fair share of disadvantages like noise and numerous distractions. Thus, it is important to consider acoustics and visual aspects while designing. This can be achieved by incorporating floors and ceilings that can take care of it, wooden furniture, soundproof doors, and partition walls.
- Choose your furniture carefully
This may seem obvious but many places do not pay attention to the furniture. It is important to take proper measurements before deciding on the chairs and desks ensuring that it is comfortable for the users. Standard sizes must be used along with adjustable desks and chairs. These are excellent additions. Standing desks are also an interesting idea because many users prefer them. And this will certainly add an oomph factor to your space.
- Provide whiteboards or enable wall writing
Whiteboards can be great for brainstorming ideas, creating guidelines, building a thought structure, and stimulating productivity. Including a special paint that enables wall writing and rewriting can also be a great option. This can surely create an immersive experience for users.
- Healthy and affordable snacking options
Snacking in the middle of work is a given. But as people are becoming more aware of healthy eating, having unhealthy snacks may not work. Thus, proving healthy and affordable snacking options can be a good option. Tea, coffee, fruit salads, smoothies, sugar-free cookies, and brownies have proved to stimulate creativity and improve overall productivity.
- Provide spaces for collaboration
In co-working spaces, collaboration is a prominent feature, and to make the most of it, a social culture needs to be established. Including micro-events for the members can be an excellent way to improve the interactions between members. Taking feedback from the members regularly can further help you identify issues and work towards them. In this situation, the space is your product. Thus, gathering feedback from every member should be prioritized.
Final thoughts on why co-working spaces are here to stay
Companies today, value the quality and efficacy of work over everything else. They are no longer concerned about how, where, or when work gets done as long as the deadline is met. They are open to collaborating with freelancers, marketing agencies, writers, and designers to get their job done. This model has created unbelievable opportunities for both entrepreneurs and organizations.
More people are drawn towards providing services instead of being stuck in a 9-5 job. By providing a platform where the evolving demands can be met, co-working spaces enable this adaptability.
These spaces especially help people who are looking for collaborations. They ensure that the members are within an appropriate environment that fosters the growth of every business.
If you are thinking of moving to such a setup, I am here to tell you that this is the right time as all the big corporations are moving to shared spaces.