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Why coworking works for business of all sizes

Research has drawn a link between flexible working arrangement and innovation, suggesting that coworking can have a real commercial benefit for businesses of all sizes. This article will assess how coworking approaches innovation and can improve productivity, recruitment, staff retention and talent management.

The idea of having coworking industries is a very new idea that was made only about 10 years ago and has transformed the way we work as well as the real estate sector due to the technology and the new generation of workers having a strong impact in society and business.

The new generation of workers don’t feel comfortable anymore working in the traditional labour market from either 8am or 9am to 7pm in a cold and boring office environment. They look for flexibility so they can have the balance between work and life while still being productive, doing what they like passionately.

The current coworking industry

According to Deskmag survey, there are 18,900 spaces around the world and according to estimates, 1.7 million people will be working in 19,000 coworking spaces worldwide by the end of this year. Nowadays coworking is more than a trend, it is becoming the new normal form of work in the workplace market.

Regarding the member’s profiles, people from the age of 18 and 39 are those who most embrace flexible working schedules. The professional status of coworking members has changed in the last few years after noticing that the percentage of employees has increased. Meaning that companies and remote employees prefer to work in coworking spaces rather than in traditional offices.

After a decade of coworking: organizations, companies, governments and public administrations have started to realize how important the coworking culture is and how important the people are to increase flow, productivity and revenues.

More companies are sending their employees to work in coworking spaces in order to gain inspiration and understanding about what is happening in the startup and freelancing ecosystem. Other companies are implementing the coworking or social environment into the workspace to increase flexibility in its business structure, boost team building and workers happiness.

Nowadays coworking is taking too many shapes, from independent coworking spaces with identity and community focus to powerful and well-known brands with a corporate focus. We also find coworking spaces integrated in hotels, colivings, malls, gyms and even bars and clubs in their non-used hours. There are also specialized or vertical coworking spaces specifically for women, health and wellness, blockchain developers, students, food, etc.

So, coworking is taking many different shapes, but why?

  • Because the power of coworking lies in its flexibility and the community: the people.
  • Because we are moving towards to a new leadership model based on collaboration.
  • Because we are re-inventing new ways of working but also living to enable us to have more freedom, happiness, be more competitive and design our life in our own terms.
  • And because coworking spaces put in touch with other ecosystems and local communities allowing synergies in the business world.

Coworking isn’t the future form of work, it is the current form of work. It offers a new value proposition: a warmer working experience, much demanded for the new workforce.

Why are companies embracing coworking more and more?

Innovation

Traditionally coworking has been regarded as a startup and freelancer phenomenon providing flexibility, relative affordability and networking opportunities. Nowadays, the truth is that corporates are the ones actually filling up these cool spaces. Why?

Because coworking spaces act as central hubs of innovation with the constant ins-and-outs of entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and digital nomads. Corporations expose themselves to fresh opportunities, recruiting young talent, encouraging unique thinking, or even setting up an accelerator program within the facility.

 

Major companies such as IBM and Phillips have already taken advantage of coworking spaces to encourage innovative thinking, flexibility with employee schedules, as well as the sharing of knowledge and inspiration in order to increase the productivity of their respective workforces.

In addition, organizations today become leaner and have the possibility to become more mobile and agile. Working from a coworking space allows these organizations to benefit from being surrounded by other businesses.

Engagement

The coworking values boost the company culture. Autonomy is the keystone of coworking due to higher employee engagement and productivity.  Because of this, workers have become 70% happier and healthier in coworking spaces.

Coworking improves overall employee well-being by providing access to space through different areas such as: space for company events, co-creation areas, game areas and even nap areas.

Coworking environments take employees out of their bland offices and build a community that all kind of companies feel is important.

Branding

Coworking spaces have a soul made by the people who occupy these workplaces. The more powerful the community is, the more powerful the coworking spaces brand will be causing attracting and retaining talent to find jobs for companies as well as companies to find talent.

In addition, coworking helps companies to become an attractive brand or become an attractive brand again. It also boosts the employer branding because coworking is about improving the working experience by stimulating interactions and creating an atmosphere of identity in a place where people want to belong.

Source: “Why coworking works” keynote by Vanessa Sans at the World Workplace Europe conference 2018 in Barcelona.

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