For most companies, rent, utilities, and building maintenance make up a significant percentage of their annual budget. What if you could do away with those expenses and use that money to invest in technology, employees or marketing while improving your employee morale and productivity? Coworking can make that happen.
What Is Coworking?
Coworking is an umbrella term that refers to employees from a variety of businesses working in a single space. These might be freelancers or independent contractors working at tables in a coffee shop or, increasingly more common, full-time employees occupying a portion of an office space, renting a workstation or multiple stations from the building owner. Coworking is growing exponentially. The number of coworking spaces has roughly doubled each year since 2006.
Coworking doesn’t even have to mean a shared structure. It can also mean a shared virtual infrastructure, such as sharing a web hosting platform, payment protocols and/or other business and web tools.
Not only does coworking save a significant amount when compared with owning or leasing a dedicated space, but it can actually help your business to thrive and grow in ways you never expected.
Why Businesses Thrive in Coworking Situations
1. Idea Sharing
One of the prime advantages of having your workers use coworking spaces is that employees can share ideas with those from other industries and other companies who are working in the space. Learning solutions that have been successful for those in other businesses and industries can help your company to thrive.
2. More Money to Invest in Business
As we mentioned before, using a coworking space for your employees rather than investing in a dedicated building or buildings frees up a large amount of money to spend on growing your business. That could mean new equipment, a new and bigger marketing campaign or additional sales personnel.
In addition to reducing building-related costs, you’ll also realize savings on equipment and services, such as computers, printers, copy machines and Internet access.
3. Improved Employee Morale
Keep your employees happy and you reduce the costs of hiring and training new workers. How to do this has been open to vigorous debate since the first business opened its doors. Those using a coworking setting, according to a recent Harvard Business study, have a much higher morale and are happier at their jobs than their home office cubicle colleagues. In fact, the data was so overwhelmingly in favor of coworking that the researchers felt they had to review their data again to make sure their conclusions were correct.
The study explains that this is because coworkers generally work for different companies and even industries, so there is less competition and professional jealousy. Coworkers also reported increased job satisfaction because they felt they were part of a community, not just a company.
4. Increased Productivity
In a coworking environment, there is no temptation to take a break in front of the television set and/or to run out to the store, as you have when you work from home. After getting dressed and driving to the coworking “office,” employees want to make the best use of their time there. In addition, they don’t want to goof off in front of their professional office mates. Entrepreneur magazine points out that workers in a coworking space are less likely to be lonely and depressed than those who work alone from home.
5. Good Networking Environment
Since those in coworking spaces are often from different industries and have different skill sets, workers can frequently get new sales leads and gain potential clients from among their office mates.
6. Increased Flexibility
When you rent an office building, you have to commit to occupying the building for a certain amount of time and generally sign a lease. This prevents you from following your market base to another part of the city, another region or even another part of the world. It also inhibits expansion, since you only have so much space in your leased building.
With coworking, you can direct your employees to work in another part of the city, increase your workforce without renting a new building and/or expand your operation by entering new markets. Coworking provides much more flexibility than traditional office space solutions.
7. Potential for Better Location
Renting a space or two to meet clients in a coworking space is much less expensive than renting an entire office in the same location. That can mean that your business will be able to afford a presence in a more affluent and high profile area than you could without coworking.
Using Coworking to Enhance Your Company’s Bottom Line
Coworking doesn’t have to just be for small-sized companies. Businesses of all sizes can reap the benefits of increased employee morale, better productivity, and enhanced cash flow by getting out of the bricks-and-mortar office and encouraging employees to work from a coworking space.