Whereas work spaces used to be the domain of just your own company, nowadays you might have to work daily alongside a countless cast of other companies who come and go each day, each sharing the same workspace as yourself. But does co-working really work?
The difference between co-working and a traditional office
It sounds obvious, but the main aspect that differentiates a co-working space from a traditional office, is that you share the space with other people who you don’t really know. You’ll like some of them and others you won’t be able to stand.
But what is almost guaranteed, is that each person will have their own opinions on what they want from the space. Whilst you might really like the choice of music, have a brilliant Wi-Fi connection or be happy with current heating setting, no doubt someone else in the space has the complete opposite opinion on some of these things, and is conspiring to change it somehow.
The challenges of co-working
This is the chief difference between an office space inhabited by one sole company, and a workplace made up of lots of smaller companies. Whereas in your own space, you can speak with your fellow employees to find a suitable solution that ultimately appeases everyone – in the end staff happiness is crucial to successful work productivity, a co-working space can be a little bit more complicated.
In a co-working space, all the separate individuals can think they are entitled to what they want – after all they are paying for it! Why should they sacrifice what they want for someone else they don’t even work with? This is the big challenge many co-working providers face when running a co-working space. How do you acquiesce the concerns of different companies sat at neighbouring tables, all with their own unique demands and needs, without going on to eventually lose someone’s business?
Perhaps the main way to do so, is through creating an experience that draws people back to the space each day, where the positive far outweigh the negatives. But what exactly is it that makes someone go with co-working space, rather than a standard office or working from home?
Co-working vs home working
Prior to the advent of co-working spaces, if people did not have access to a company office space, they would tend to work from home. Whilst some may find this effective, more often than not it can be a struggle. You can set out with a plan, but when daytime TV takes your eye and you see the latest Jeremy Kyle episode, there might be no going back for that day!
At the very least, using a co-working space can position you into a structure of being able to focus on your work and not facing home distractions. Research does show that 86% of people feel they ‘thrive’ in terms of their work productivity when based at co-working space, compared to working from home or a traditional office.
One reason for this might be the possibility for business development and interaction with other companies within the space. Need someone to provide some ideas for how you can drive new business traffic to your website?
No need to pick up the phone or hunt through Google, just ask the person who sits on the desk behind you! Co-working can be a shrewd investment, where you are brought together with numerous people who all operate in different industries and come from different walks of life, that you might otherwise never meet.
And this could provide a long-term development for your business and reputation. This can act as a huge selling point to small start-up companies and freelancers. A big feature of business is how well you get along with someone and the level of rapport you can build. 81% of people are more likely to use someone who has been personally recommended or they know well.
A co-working space has the potential to turn into a marketplace, where slowly over time through getting to know the other people who work there, it might lead to new levels of business, aside from just being a place to come to work each day. Can working at Costa match that?
Co-working is cost effective
But to be fair, Costa can be quite a cheap place to work. Whilst co-working prices are not able to match those of a latte and free Wi-Fi, they can provide a cost-effective solution for a work base. Although you may not get to keep the same seat every day, co-working spaces are a sure amount less than paying the monthly rent for an office.
A personal office may look nice, but nevertheless something to consider is that even once you have paid the rental fee, you will still need to pay additional cost for your furniture, Wi-Fi and most importantly, your tea and coffee! Co-working membership can provide little pockets of money that you can invest elsewhere in your business.
Moreover, on a more basic level, working on your own can be lonely. Having somewhere to go to and have daily interactions with other regular tenants can provide an opportunity for outlets away from work, that staying at home or a small office might not. So, whether it is in terms of business-related conversations, where you fire your ideas at someone else, or simply having people to discuss the latest episodes of Game of Thrones or Line of Duty with, a co-working space can be good for you on a social level.
So, whilst it might get tedious when one person you don’t work with keeps insisting upon having the heating on during a heatwave, co-working is an idea that is here to stay and is only going to get more common. Whether it is due to cost-efficiency, social elements or opportunities for business development, the numbers of offices and members are only going to rise.
But how co-working providers plan to tackle the increase in numbers, the rise in different tenant demands, and the possible strains on the facilities management of the space, will remain to be seen…