Have you heard of “coworking” yet? If you haven’t, you will.
The coworking phenomenon has been characterized as a missing link between commuting into a standard office and working from home, paradoxical though that may seem. Members are typically freelancers or small business teams, but even larger organizations are using coworking spaces and seeing the benefits. They’re able to chisel away at their daily tasks in a casual environment in these shared agnostic spaces.
Research shows this trend has gained serious traction for good reason, according to a survey conducted at the 2015 Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC), nearly 7 out of 10 “coworkers” said these spaces “improved their professional success.”
As coworking redefines what it means to work in 2016 and beyond, your small business may be a prime candidate for a team membership. Before you sign up, check to see if these “cowork perks” square with your small business.
Next-generation community building
Perhaps the most alluring aspect of coworking spaces is the freedom to network with like-minded individuals. In fact, referring back to the GCUC survey, 64 percent of respondents indicated the networks at their favorite coworking hangouts were “an important source of work.”
Many coworking spaces encourage communication between its members. Who knows? Striking up a conversation with the person next to you could provide a breakthrough on your latest assignment. It could also mean the start of a valuable partnership between your organizations.
Some companies even use coworking spaces to host events for other coworking members or prospective clients. The built-in ability to use conference rooms for informational sessions or open spaces for social events helps them to easily expand their networks.
So, if your small business struggles to break the barrier into inner circles orbiting your industry, it may be time to consider what coworking could offer.
Coworking spaces offer many different ways for people to work: communally at cafeteria-style tables, quiet areas separated by dividers, glass conference rooms for private meetings and couches for brainstorming ideas over takeout. All that aside, coworking members typically receive more than just access to a state-of-the-art workspace. For instance, what would a workday be without access to wireless Internet and coffee by the gallon, not to mention chairs, desks, power outlets, conference rooms, etc.? Coworking spaces couldn’t exist if they didn’t offer these crucial tools.
Small business owners may take a liking to coworking spaces if they wish to avoid shouldering not just rental costs for a dedicated office, but also extraneous costs like these for their employees. Coworking providers handle everything from the utilities to carpet cleaning while you simply pay your per-person membership fee.
Don’t forget the fun factor
In a conventional office setting, you’re expected to adhere to conventional workplace standards, such as semiformal attire, performing under strict processes and generally keeping a nose-to-the-grindstone mentality regarding your daily duties. But as more people scrutinize employee engagement and the ever-popular “work-life balance,” we find these traditional modes of enterprise don’t necessarily make us better at our jobs.
Coworking allows the personal and professional to blend seamlessly together, in a way the commute/work-from-home dynamic many modern offices embrace only grasps at. Coworking combines the camaraderie of in-person professional collaboration with all the relaxation of working at home in your pajamas. What’s not to love? Additionally, employees retain a level of autonomy that makes for high productivity while employers can rest assured knowing coworking spaces have given their staff everything they’ll need to succeed. Everybody wins.
So, if small business owners want their employees to have flexible work options but still stay active within a community, coworking might be right up their alleys. Does your small business feel like it’s stalling? Try coworking and see if these innovative spaces can supercharge your engines.
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