Coworking spaces are gaining traction across the globe, and it’s easy to see why.

With benefits ranging from enhanced creativity, innovation, and collaboration, it’s the fastest growing work trend of the decade.

Coveted amenities such as plug and play, high speed wifi, meeting rooms, and even recording and broadcasting equipment are often part of the package. And they're attracting professionals from a wide range of sectors. Startups, freelancers, and even SMEs are harnessing the benefits such as lower costs, less administration, and more flexibility.  

It is said the workers thrive in a coworking space. Could this be why they're a modern-day phenomenon?

A community

For solo freelancers and contractors, renting office space may seem costly in comparison to working from home. But in this case, it’s the community aspect that is so attractive.

Remote workers and freelancers are believed to be at a higher risk of the loneliness epidemic, facing higher levels of isolation. Young, motivated creatives, in particular, crave social interaction and mentorship as they progress their careers. Without this, remote roles can feel limiting and isolating.

To support this theory further, there have even been studies in to the effects of remote freelancing on mental health, with staggering results, since a lack of human interaction is an acute risk factor for depression and addiction.  

However, it is said that employees have a greater sense of identity when working with other freelancing individuals, and 93% of coworkers report a bigger social network.

What's great about a coworking environment is that people are free to be themselves, without the need to put on a ‘work persona’. And the people using a collaborative space are likely to be solo entrepreneurial types too, from a variety of professions, industries and sectors. 

Job flexibility

Members of coworking environments have better control over their job. And since coworking spaces tend to be available 24/7, taking a long lunch and making up for it later is always an option - with almost no repercussions.

If workers wish leave to the office midday to continue working from home, they can.

If they'd like to get in a workout before work and start a little later, no problem.

Ultimately, the coworking office is void of rules and regulations, giving workers the space and autonomy to work and engage when it suits them.

Learning

A collaborative workspace introduces one to new individuals, skills, and industries that they might not otherwise be associated with. This opens professionals up to a wider pool of potential mentors and collaborators, from whom they can learn new skills and develop ideas with.

As a result, a coworking community presents more opportunities for project work and ‘gigs’ outside of their usual remit. And we all know that the key to success is stepping outside of that comfort zone.

Greater autonomy

Creativity peaks at different times for all of us. Some of us perform better in the morning. Some are more effective at night. Whenever and however coworkers work best, they can.

Coworkers maintain a greater work/life balance. With a collaborative space, there’s no one keeping tabs on your whereabouts, so if you need to take the day off the deal with a family issue, or work a half day due to an appointment, you can.

Arguably, this has a positive impact on one's attitude towards their work, with less resentment towards a job that restrains them from other commitments. In this instance, workers have the autonomy to work when and how they wish.

Productivity

Working with others fosters creativity and as a result, employees thrive in coworking spaces. They create the kind of structure and routine that instils disciplines. Having a place to go every day to carry out work-related tasks is said to improve productivity.

In the same vein, too much autonomy and independence cause a lack of routine, making it difficult to engage when work needs to be done. According to global research by Deskmag 74% of coworkers are more productive.

So it’s easy to see why these environments are are growing in popularity. Aside from enhancing the quality of work, they promote a healthier, more flexible lifestyle, with added benefits such as better mental health, social lives and business networks.

However, some remain incredulous about the concept. Casually dressed creatives in a contemporary space, coming and going as they please, Skyping from bean bags, and typing from bar stools can seem far from a professional working space.

Is this a casualisation of the workforce that will inevitably land us in trouble? Are the traditionalists right to fret about the loss of corporate rigidity?  

The reality is that with a changing workforce comes a changing workspace. Successful businesses and professionals must be open-minded and adaptable if they are to compete during a time of disruption.

The new workforce is one that was brought up in the midst of a digital revolution; to whom performance is contingent on a cloud and technology-enabled environment. 

To promote a working environment that cannot foster these preferences is far from the agility that workers expect in order to thrive.

Technology is changing the way we work and paving the way for ‘gig’ based freelancing roles. And collaborative spaces are conducive to these working patterns.

What are your thoughts on coworking spaces?

 

Topics: Future Technology, Workplace Technologists

Rob Evans

Written by Rob Evans