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How Co-working Spaces can help your Business Thrive

by Nicola Heaney

Co-working spaces help workers thrive. According to the Harvard Business Review, research shows that those who work in co-working spaces are thriving in comparison to employees who work in regular offices for three key reasons:

  • People who use co-working spaces see their work as meaningful.

  • They have more job control.

  • They feel part of a community.

What exactly is co-working?

Co-working is when a group of individuals and businesses share the same workspace. This shared workspace often consists of a large communal area filled with desks and seating where different people and businesses work on their own independent projects.

Many modern co-working spaces exist in a flexible workspace that include communal co-working spaces and serviced private office spaces. These also typically provide shared amenities such as kitchen facilities, reception areas and on-demand meeting rooms.

The phrase ‘co-working’ was coined by Brad Neuberg in San Francisco in 2005. Since then, it’s grown exponentially, with popularity soaring in recent years as businesses look to harness the sense of community and entrepreneurial spirit often associated with co-working. A 2020 Cushman and Wakefield report shows that the UK now accounts for 17% of the worldwide total number of flexible workspaces. With 63% of global organisations currently using co-working somewhere across their portfolio, this trend is only set to grow.

What are the benefits of co-working spaces?

The number one benefit offered by co-working spaces is the flexibility they offer. Leases are generally shorter than in commercial contracts, giving individuals and businesses more flexibility and more opportunity to grow their business according to its needs rather than according to its lease. But flexibility isn’t the only benefit – there are a whole host of reasons why co-working spaces are better for business.

Co-working spaces offer a better environment

Unlike many traditional office blocks or industrial parks, lots of co-working spaces have a strong design focus, meaning a more stimulating and enjoyable workspace environment. They also give access to great amenities, such as super-fast Wi-Fi and equipment such as printers and scanners, not to mention meeting and conference rooms where clients or investors can be welcomed in a professional setting. They also generally come equipped with kitchens and many offer tea/coffee facilities and larger communal spaces for networking with other users.

Co-working spaces give access to a community

Community. Collaboration. Cooperation. Working in a co-working space means being surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs. This means lots of opportunities to make valuable connections with peers – whether through swapping advice, sharing experience or even collaborating on projects. Many co-working spaces aim to build a community by hosting regular networking events and workshops for members.

Not only does this offer members the opportunity to grow their business, but it can also improve motivation, boost productivity and ultimately combat feelings of isolation – much more enriching than working alone at the kitchen table.

Co-working offers a better work-life balance

While working from home has its benefits, it can also have a negative impact on work-life balance. It becomes much easier to fill lunch breaks with household chores like laundry rather than taking a well-earned rest from work. Not only does this mean you’re not switching off, but it can also affect your productivity at work.

Co-working spaces can improve work-life balance by offering a dedicated space to work, making it easier to build a schedule and easier to leave work at work.  Another benefit of co-working spaces is that many offer a number of wellness amenities ranging from regular yoga sessions to cafes, making it easier to find balance throughout the day.

What to look for in a co-working workspace

Wherever you choose to work, it needs to be somewhere that works for you. While perks like game rooms and happy hours are fun, it’s more important to look at the things that will help make the workday better. Here are some key things to consider when choosing a co-working space:

How is the Wi-Fi? The last thing you want is a service that will drop-out mid-Zoom with a client, so it’s important to choose somewhere with ultra-fast, reliable Wi-Fi.

Does the workspace have a range of different places to work? While it’s great to have shared spaces for collaboration, it’s also important to have areas dedicated for quiet work. Are there dedicated quiet spaces? Areas where phone calls can be taken without disturbing others? Cosy nooks for smaller, more informal meetings?

Is it a place you want to spend time? Is there enough natural light in the workspace? Is the furniture suitable– even better, is it ergonomically designed for maximum comfort?

What kind of business amenities are available? Are there bookable meeting and conference rooms? Is there a reprographics service? Is there a phone answering service available? How is mail handled?

How are the kitchen facilities? Is there easy access to snacks and beverages or will you have to interrupt your work to go and source from elsewhere?

What’s the location like? Think about how easy it is for potential clients to find - is it accessible via a range of transport links?

How strong is the community spirit? Remember, one of the key benefits offered by a co-working space is the opportunity to collaborate and network with other businesses and entrepreneurs, so the place you choose should have a calendar filled with networking opportunities and other social and cultural events.

What kind of building access are you granted? Try and think about your typical work routine – if you’re the sort of worker who likes to start early but the workspace doesn’t open till 8am, it’s probably not the best fit. Even better is somewhere that can grant 24/7 access for ultimate flexibility.

The co-working revolution is only set to grow in size over the next few years, fuelled by the huge number of benefits on offer. Square Works offers the only high-end part and full time serviced offices and co-working space within a private members’ club in Bristol – and we’re now accepting applications for the last phase of our building. Why not come and see what all the fuss is about? Book in for a tour by calling our team on 0117 322 6635 or emailing hello@squareworksbristol.com.