Co-working is all about being in a company of a diverse group of peers who acts as an active community and provide a network of support to its members. Co-working opens up an opportunity for everyone to exchange ideas, share views and learn from other members in an informal atmosphere.
The corporate world believes that co-working is an ideal way of knowledge sharing as it provides access to new networks. When companies prefer collaborative workplaces, their employees can tap into new ideas they would not normally have exposure to.
While 42% of enterprises, in the JLL’s Global Corporate Real Estate Survey, expect collaboration with entrepreneurs to accelerate disruptive innovation, 63% of companies say the main reason for using shared office space is the ability to collaborate.
Among the most attractive features of co-working are professional freedom, work-life harmony, the attraction for new ideas and entrepreneurial success.
Earlier, freelancers have no choice but to work from home but with the innovation of collaborative spaces, freelance professionals want to be a part of that as they experience the benefits of co-working.
Opportunity to mentor, get mentored
Every individual is unique, and everyone has his/her strength and weakness. You realize it not while working at home in an isolated atmosphere but being part of a company of professionals and like-minded people.
While in traditional offices, a professional has no freedom to choose his working group as it is the decision of his seniors or the HR, however in a co-working space, you are free to make your group of people with whom you want to work with.
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If you feel that a team member needs any guidance, you can mentor him and similarly if you think you need advice from one of your team members, you can freely ask for it. So co-working not only allows you to maintain you individual space, but it also puts you in a position where you can decided how much you want to allow someone to encroach your personal space.
The success of co-working rests on the fact that it impacts human psychology. For instance, co-working brings a great level of satisfaction and a feeling of positivity in a person who realizes that he can be a mentor for someone else. Similarly, when you get innovative ideas from one the peers of the co-working group, it fills you with a sense of gratitude and motivates you in a positive manner.
A culture of entrepreneurship
As co-working concept brings professionals from different organizations at a working space, it creates an excellent opportunity to exchange innovative ideas and technologies which further enthuses a sense of entrepreneurship. In the last couple of years, co-working spaces have promoted the culture of entrepreneurship and have become nurseries for many start-ups.
The millennial workforce, which is more interested in entrepreneurship rather than a 10 to 6 office work, is believed to represent 50% of the global workforce by 2020. Various reports suggest 165% increase in venture capitalist funding to start-ups in China in recent years which have generated a huge demand for co—working spaces.
When we look around in any busy high streets or malls, we find professionals working with laptops in cafés and bars. This indicates that there is the growing demand for collaborating working stations.
To promote entrepreneurship, lot of operators have started creating business specific co-working spaces so that professionals feel more at home and gain from their peers from the same business. Experts say that freelancer writers may not feel at home with a software developer or a fintech professional. There are many corporate verticals professionals of which find it difficult to mingle. So the new concept is to have a diverse group of people and ideas from single vertical under one roof for the purpose of a homogenous approach.
Flexibility in professional and personal life
Besides innovation, flexibility comes as another positive feature of co-working. The drive for flexible work hours, workstation and working atmosphere, which comes with the concept of co-working, is one of the reasons corporate sector getting attracted towards more mobile and flexible form of working space.
A lot of operators have tied up with different landlords and space providers in various cities so that even if a professional move from one city to another, he/she doesn’t need to bother about his work areas. The concept of membership with one operator which has multiple workspaces across the globe has made it easy for freelancers to get co-working spaces.
For instance, WeWork has co-working spaces in more than 32 locations, majorly concentrated in New York.
Talent acquisition and talent retention
A lot of companies opening co-working spaces within their organizations and allowing other solo professionals, workers of other enterprises and startups to utilize the space. The motive behind it to allow its workforce to mingle with other ideas and not only help retain talent but also identify and acquire new talent in the job market.
“Cost reduction is not typically the primary driver of co-working; nevertheless, it can create an opportunity for more efficient utilization of space, helping companies to reduce costs without compromising on the quality of workspace. Co-working hubs can even act as a revenue generation opportunity when approached in the right way,” says the JLL report.
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Since corporate sector also needs talent acquisition and talent retention, they have to jump on the co-working bandwagon because employees preferences have changed to a new range of work settings tailored to the new way of working.
A lot of research and surveys have suggested that co-working has multiple benefits, and that’s the reason the global coworking industry has been predicted to get doubled in size in two years, from 510,000 members in 2015 to 1,030,000 worldwide by 2017.
Many experts believe that shrinking of jobs will give rise to a number of freelancers and sole entrepreneurs across the globe, and this will drive a huge demand for co-working space.
About the author
Michelle Woo Pui Mun is currently the GM of The Hub Singapore, Michelle Woo specialises in building coworking businesses in Asia, as well as community management in the startup ecosystem. Prior to The Hub, she was commissioned by Arcc Holdings to create and run The Co., a hybrid serviced office and coworking business.