Co-working spaces have sprouted up everywhere over the past several years—particularly since Covid-19 took many people out of their traditional offices. To the uninitiated they may seem strange, putting people from a wide range of different backgrounds on the same office floor.
It is a novel idea to be sure, but one that has produced a significant number of benefits all across the country. In this article, we take a look at the positive impact of co-working spaces.
First, What Are Co-working Spaces?
Coworking spaces are buildings where employees from multiple companies share a common space. One section of the floor might go to company A, while the other corner goes next to company B, which is stationed right next to company C, and so on.
Businesses economize on rental space but remain entirely independent in their operations. Typically, each company will bring its own agenda to the table. The term “coworking” here does not apply to collaboration between companies, but rather it’s a matter of proximity.
And while people may be sharing a space with workers from other companies, they will most likely spend most of their time with their coworkers.
Co-working Spaces Are Great for Startups
While the idea of a garage startup has been romanticized in the heads of many Americans, it does have its drawbacks. Chief among them? Your office is in a garage. Co-working spaces serve as an attractive alternative.
Not only are they affordable and flexible enough to suit the rapidly evolving needs of your average young business but they also usually come stacked with all the bells and whistles—printers, copy machines, even smart boards—that could otherwise take a big chunk out of a young company’s budget.
A Response to the Pandemic
Co-working spaces have been around since before Covid-19, but they do still feel like the perfect response to the moment many American workers find themselves in today. Since the height of the pandemic drove people out of the office for three to six months, many big businesses used that time to rethink their lease agreements.
It turned out that people worked just fine independently, which made it attractive for some companies to reduce or dissolve their office spaces altogether in favor of a mobile workforce.
Great for the employer, sure. They saved thousands. Some employees, however, do not have home offices, or a quiet workspace, or they just simply do well in an office.
Co-working spaces address all of those concerns. With little to no long-term commitment, remote employees can go in, grab a desk, and use whatever equipment they need to be productive.
More Localized Economy
One of the interesting things about coworking spaces is that, in many areas, they have served as an integral component of the local economy. In suburban America, employees live one place and then commute to the city for work.
However, when a co-working space sets up shop in your community, it changes the way business people spend money. Now instead of grabbing coffee and lunch in the city, you’re doing it at a local café.
This relatively small change can have a big impact over time, allowing a significant amount of money to circulate directly in your community.
Co-working spaces aren’t a cafeteria-like free for all of strangers interacting with one another. More than anything, they are a place of business. You can easily spend your entire day at a co-working space without talking to anyone that isn’t relevant to your job.
However, for the more socially-minded, they do serve as a good networking opportunity. These are spaces where people from a wide range of backgrounds come together to share a roof. This means it can be a potentially rich way for someone to meet new sales leads, or establish a connection that could lead to their next job.
Major Cost Saving Potential
You are a freelance copywriter. You make a steady living, but your house is a little nutty. Two kids who are always home. A dog who seems convinced that the sound of your Skype ring tone means it’s time to bark. And a combination playroom, craft room, office space that you are supposed to be getting work done in. Potential clients are advised to disregard the discarded Elsa dress lying perpetually on the floor in the background of every video call you make.
Something has got to give. Moving isn’t much of an option. Rent an office? Perhaps, but they are expensive and…
You get it. Co-working spaces are a cost-saving miracle for the person who needs the conveniences of an office but doesn’t have the budget to make it happen.
This is particularly important in a world where the “gig” or freelancing economy is continuing to expand. In the not-so-distant future, temporary contracts over long-term employment could be the new normal. When that day does come, co-working spaces will be the perfect solution for a new generation of workers who have the skills they need, but no place to exercise them.
A New Definition of Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is a tricky tightrope walk. Remote work has done a lot to move the needle in the right direction. People who had lost two hours of their life each day just to their commute quickly found that they could log a fully productive day and still have time for workouts, or taking their kids to school.
Unfortunately, there can be too much of a good thing. Working from home is an all-inclusive proposition. You get the good—more time with your family. And the less good—more time with all of their loud noises during work time.
Co-working spaces are a good answer to this predicament, giving workers the opportunity to work from home when they like and still have a place they can go when they need a little bit more peace and quiet.
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