After many months of working from home, it became apparent that many of us could do our jobs just as well – if not better – from the comforts of our own home and going into the office became a less desirable option.
However, for some as we emerged from the pandemic, working from home wasn’t always a viable option, but neither was commuting into the office.
Enter, the coworking space.
In its simplest form, coworking offers people flexibility, variety and connectivity, all under one roof. Co-working spaces today are less ‘one-size-fits-all’ and are more about being an agile and adaptable space that can lend themselves to a wide range of individual needs, catering to people and businesses in different sectors or who have different working styles.
Let’s look deeper at some of the benefits of coworking spaces.
Empowering employees to seek out coworking spaces as an alternative to a central office is a fantastic way to hand employees back the control over the way they work.
Coworking office spaces negate the obligation for employees to have to go into the office, while solving a conundrum for those who cannot always work effectively from home. These spaces offer not only an alternative place to work, but also a vital a change of scenery that may be crucial for some in boosting productivity, accelerating creativity and kick-starting motivation.
Facilitating flexibility is a key trend for the workplace in 2023, and as a result may see more businesses green-light and even fund the use of coworking spaces for their employees to ensure improved employee retention.
Working from home can be isolating and can provide a myriad of challenges. Coworking spaces are naturally environments which attract a diverse range of people, and the networking opportunities that come hand-in-hand with this are tremendous.
A flexible, more relaxed setting synonymous with coworking spaces offers a chance to casually meet other likeminded individuals, providing an equally excellent opportunity for collaboration and a continuous sharing of knowledge and skills. This is a highly unique aspect of coworking spaces that wouldn’t be possible in a traditional single-business office environment.
Whilst it has fantastic professional benefits, it also offers great personal benefits too. Ultimately, coworking spaces also offer a sense of community. The coworking setting gives people an opportunity to build support networks and make new friends with people outside of their company. This sense of community is an ideal way to help enhance employee wellbeing.
Positive Impacts on Wellbeing
You only have to spend 30 seconds Googling “how to avoid loneliness when working from home” to identify that the issue is a real, genuine problem which people face day-to-day. Coworking spaces can help remove barriers around isolation that otherwise might be experienced at home and give employees a much-needed serotonin boost just by being around other likeminded people.
Being part of a coworking space offers great social benefits, but also often comes with other, physical benefits too. Often this includes discounted access to local health clubs or exclusive discounts at a nearby coffee shop. Working somewhere that offers better benefits increases employee satisfaction, and as a result, increases productivity.
On top of this, some coworking spaces will even host social events to enhance this idea of connection and allow individual users to unwind after a long week (or day) at work.
Working from home can be challenging when you’re trying to focus. With many distractions at your fingertips, it’s easy to get preoccupied with other things. And without managers and colleagues keeping an eager eye on what you’re up to, it’s easy to get waylaid with the household tasks that need doing. For those that are working flexibly, the option of going into a coworking space provides a good balance.
Being around other people who are working is proven to help boost motivation and inspiration. The Equity Theory suggests that employee motivation at work is driven by fairness. Working from home removes a sense of how hard other people are working (beyond the superficial mouse-wiggle to keep Teams on the green tick!) and by entering a coworking space, employees can see exactly how hard other people are working which in turn, will then reflect in their own effort levels.
The flexibility of co-working spaces also comes with financial benefits too. Many spaces off a pay for what you need, when you need it approach – rather than paying a conventional monthly flat rate for a private office space; an office space that isn’t necessarily guaranteed to be used with consistency.
This more relaxed approach means businesses are maximising their finances as well as empowering their employees to work in the best way that suits them.
Finding a professional work environment that works for you and your colleagues is not necessarily an easy task, and indeed, coworking may not be for everyone.
What is clear, however, is that businesses must find the balance between a well-designed work environment – that is a desirable destination for colleagues to commute to – and a well-curated working experience for employees to demonstrate under which circumstance they thrive best. For some, this will come in the form of flexible working and use of coworking spaces. For others, the traditional office set up will be better suited.
Remember, memberships and contracts at coworking spaces are often extremely flexible. If it’s something you’re wondering about, you can give it a try without having to make a long-term commitment.