There’s an undeniable shift happening worldwide in the ways in which people work. In a report by global workplace provider Regus, entitled “The Workplace Revolution: A picture of flexible working 2017”, 48% of Australian workers reported that they work outside the main office 2.5 days a week or more. Whether it’s millennials choosing to go freelance in order to maintain a better work-life balance, returning mothers trying to juggle their family and work responsibilities, or older workers wishing to stay active in the workforce, more people than ever are opting for flexible working.
With the rise of flexible workers comes the rise of coworking spaces, where independents and small businesses share open workspaces. Deskmag’s “Global Coworking Survey: The 2018 Coworking Forecast” estimates that 1.7 million people will be working in around 19,000 coworking spaces by the end of 2018, with 29% of all coworking spaces having been opened just over the last year.
But why are so many workers opting for coworking spaces over their home office or local café? Today, we explore 5 benefits of working from a coworking space.
1. It boosts concentration and productivity
Many flexible workers choose to work from home, and while this may seem to make the most sense from a financial perspective, and can be a nice reprieve for those who work in an office the majority of the time, for the rest of flexible workers this situation can quickly become untenable. According to The Workplace Revolution report, 45% of workers confirmed that they found it hard to concentrate when working from home, citing reasons such as demands from family members and noise from household appliances. (And we all know how quickly 10 minutes of television can turn into several hours.)
A coworking space not only offers a place to get away from such distractions, thereby helping you to concentrate, but it also provides a space distinct from home, which can be a big help psychologically when it comes to developing a productive routine. The simple act of getting out of your pyjamas and heading off to an office can do wonders when it comes to getting yourself into ‘work mode’ – according to an article in the Harvard Business Review, co-workers reported that having a community to work in helped them to create structures and discipline that motivated them.
2. It provides networking opportunities
The very nature of coworking spaces means you’re constantly surrounded by freelancers, entrepreneurs and start-ups, which can provide rich networking opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to access from home or at your local coffee shop. Your fellow co-workers may be future feedback- and advice-givers, creative collaborators or even clients, all of whom could be hugely beneficial to your business.
This is backed up by a survey commissioned by Regus, in which 74% of respondents agreed that collaborative workplaces made the ideal breeding ground for innovation, and around 80% of respondents agreed they were a valuable way of creating connections with partners, providers and suppliers, and clients.
3. They are cost-effective, flexible and well equipped
The beauty of coworking spaces is that they are simply ‘plug and play’ – there’s no need to worry about signing long leases, buying furniture, investing in expensive devices or paying for overhead costs. Indeed, 50% of Australian workers think cost reduction will be one of the main drivers of flexible working in 2017, while 37% of workers say that avoiding fixed lease agreements that hamper their need to expand and contract rapidly was one of the main reasons they opted for flexible working.
And while, sure, much work nowadays can be accomplished with just your trusty laptop and the free wifi at the local café, this does come with cybersecurity implications, and most workers will need at least occasional access to a scanner, photocopier or printer, which you won’t find there.
Coworking spaces are also equipped with fast and reliable internet connections, which is another key concern for Australian workers, with 32% reporting that a slow or unreliable internet connection was one of the main obstacles to working from home.
4. It increases social interaction
If you tend to work from home, the sense of isolation can have a negative impact on your overall wellbeing. With a coworking space, however, you have access to a ready-made community of like-minded individuals, many of whom are facing the same challenges as you are.
And there’s no need to worry about constant interruptions – with the variety of spaces available within many coworking offices, from private booths to lounges to communal desks, you can easily make yourself as available or unavailable for social interaction as you wish.
5. It fosters better work-life balance
Coworking spaces can also help to foster better work-life balance, not just by helping to create a psychological distance between home and work, but also by reducing the daily commute, which many workers agree is a significant time drain. In fact, 54% of workers felt that spending less time travelling would benefit work-life balance by helping them juggle personal and work demands.
Coworking spaces are often in prime locations throughout the city, giving you plenty of options when it comes to choosing where you work. Want to be in the heart of the business district, close to clients? Or would you prefer to be just down the road from home, giving you more time to spend on yourself or with your family? The choice is yours.
With around two out of three coworking spaces planning to expand in 2018, there is the expectation that more and more workers will opt for the benefits a coworking space can provide for themselves and their businesses. Will you be one of them?
Finding a suitable working space is part of the start-up launch process. If you’d like to learn more about taking your start-up from idea to implementation, download the free How to Launch a Start-Up ebook today.