The way we work is changing and solely traditional offices are being phased out. The concept of a shared workspace and remote working are something that people are beginning to expect from employers.
Shared workspace members are thriving in the coworking environment compared to their regular office counterparts. Unsurprisingly, increased employee productivity correlates with improved personal happiness.
Bigger corporations are also seeing the benefits. Coworking isn’t just for freelancers and startups anymore; Microsoft moved 300 of its employees to a New York based shared workspace to help boost creativity.
What is a shared workspace
A shared workspace is an office where a variety of businesses cohabitate. Sharing services like internet, electricity, and water, each business pays a membership, making monthly expenses much more affordable.
When we say a shared workspace, you might picture a cubicle-filled, claustrophobic environment. Coworking spaces are often far from conventional in design. They usually are quite modern and open, helping to get your creativity flowing.
According to estimates, 1.7 million people will be working in approximately 19,000 shared workspaces across the globe by the end of 2018. This is not just fad, the same study showed that 29% of all coworking spaces were opened over the last year – almost the same ratio as in 2017.
The difference between a coworking and shared workspace
The term coworking and shared workspace can often be considered interchangeable. However, in theory, there are slight differences between who they are targeted at.
Coworking spaces tend to be geared towards freelancers and small teams, who don’t need a lot of space.
Whereas a shared workspace aims to attract teams that need a fixed office space, which they can call their own. This helps businesses present a stable image to clients who might be visiting, whereas a coworking space, might convey a more small-scale venture.
Nevertheless, both shared workspaces and coworking spaces can offer attractive solutions for all types of businesses.
Services to expect in shared workspaces
With longer duration stays, you will normally be given a fixed desk. This is a nice time saver and also adds a feeling of belonging within an environment of constant change.
Of course, there will be the basic facilities such as bathrooms and a kitchen. The complexity of the kitchen will vary depending on the space you join. They should have everything you need to bring in your lunch and get it ready there.
No matter where you go, it’s always best to do a 1-day trial to see if you like it. Check if it is a comfortable working environment and if you could see yourself going there every day.
Experience the office culture, is it a big family or do people tend to stick to their own desks.
Most importantly, check the internet speed. A quick way to do this is by using the free tool Speedtest by Ookla. The last thing you want to do is be bottlenecked by your shared workspace’s internet speed.
There are some nice additional perks that you may find like free coffee, snacks, community events or even a ping pong table. Every place is different, but they all have the same goal of getting you away from your house and into an engaging environment.
Collaborating with your remote team
The most important thing when working in a shared workspace is being organized. It’s easy to fall behind or lose track of emails.
It will become your responsibility to stay up to date on tasks and project progress. Stay connected with your team on a daily basis to keep everyone going in the same direction.
Try eliminating cumbersome email chains by moving communication into the relevant project. Share files and add new tasks directly into your project management tool to keep everything running smoothly.
Another idea is to hold a recurring meeting on Monday to touch base and to quickly discuss everyone’s priorities. With the right processes in place, working remotely should not have a negative impact on productivity.
Here’s why you should be exploring a shared workspace for your business now
1. Lower costs
By sharing costs amongst a group of businesses you save a significant amount of money. Another benefit is that your bills are fixed, you do not need to worry about variations by month, you are charged the exact same amount.
For someone who is just starting out, this is incredibly helpful, as jumping from home office to a shared workspace can also improve your mental wellbeing. It is important to create a distinct line between workspace and home. This helps establish a healthy work-life balance, as we shouldn’t live to work but work to live.
This also benefits bigger businesses, as they can easily this option with no long-term commitment and minimal expenditure.
2. Networking opportunities
A recent study found 64% of people credited their coworking networking as the main source of work and referrals. You never know who you are going to meet or who might stop in for a day. It could be a potential client, future business partner or a rescue submarine engineer.
With the variety of skill sets that you find in these environments, you’re opening yourself up to many opportunities.
You might get called on for some quick advice and likewise, you may need some help from a fellow member. Putting yourself out there will help you grow in your profession and overall expand your network.
3. Belong to a community
A sense of belonging is a human need and a shared workspace helps build that feeling.
Constantly working at home or on your own can sometimes make you feel isolated. Going somewhere that everybody knows your name helps build that sense of community.
Some shared workspaces organize activities like Friday beers or going to a sports game. Adding that social aspect to your day is a nice pause from the grind of work.
Not everyone can go 8 hours straight, some of us need a break to refresh.
4. Boost creativity
Working in a place of like-minded people can act as a think tank for you to test different approaches. Don’t get stuck in the same routine and of course don’t be afraid for things not to go as planned.
Normally you can expect open spaces and a few walls in your shared workspace. This helps avoid the feeling of being trapped and lets your mind go free to think outside the box.
It’s amazing how much a working environment affects creativity. Color, temperature, lighting, and space all have an impact on your creative output.
5. Improve productivity
74% of coworkers are more productive than their office-based counterparts. The best way to test this is to actually go for a day and try a coworking space out.
Working from home is filled with distractions. Chores that weren’t important on the weekend suddenly feel critical and the TV is a cruel temptress. This goes back to the notion of defining a distinct line between workspace and living space.
When you go to your shared workspace, you know that you are there to work. You aren’t there to get caught up on vacuuming the living room, you are there to complete your projects.
6. Smaller commitments
Not having the stress of a 12-month rental contract along with varying monthly bills can work wonders for your focus.
With a wide range of variable contracts from monthly to even just half a day, there is something suitable for everyone. You don’t feel the same pressures as you would if you rented an office for yourself.
Another bonus is that you do not need to waste time on the phone with utility companies as that is all included in the fee. Peace of mind to actually complete the real work.
7. Support for startups
80% of people in shared workspaces ask other members for advice or guidance. Coworking spaces can also be considered startup incubators. The amount of varying knowledge that you will find in your shared workspace is priceless.
Building off the advantage of networking, you never know who you’ll meet and if you have a great idea, the word can spread quite easily. This could lead to more business or if you’re lucky potential funding.
Of course, don’t go in with these expectations, but you never know what could happen.
8. Prime locations
You might not be able to afford a private office for yourself in the downtown center or next to the beach. But, with a shared workspace, this becomes much more achievable.
The concept of crowdfunding somewhat comes into play and helps everyone get what they want. Find that place that is an ideal commute with the perfect location and don’t worry about being fixed to a long-term contract.
9. Changing the traditional office
Today’s society is moving away from traditional and becoming much more mobile. The idea of staying the in the same office your whole life is scary. Entrepreneurship is growing and with that freedom and flexibility is a big desire.
A shared workspace gives people the freedom to travel and work remotely. It lets them build their business from anywhere in the world, while still maintaining a professional environment.
The main desire for any millennial is opportunities for flexible working. This could be considered a big reason for the global shared workspace boom. Don’t be afraid to ask your boss if you can try 1 day a month remote, you both might be surprised at the results.
There’s something electric about being surrounded by like-minded people. They push you to be better and motivate you to stay on top of your game.
A shared workspace brings together a group of motivated individuals who want to take their careers to the next level. Just being in that environment creates an energy that makes you want to succeed.
Also, you are motivated to complete each task to the highest standard so as not to lose the freedom and trust of your employer/clients.
Have you started looking at shared workspaces yet?
Coworking is growing in popularity and availability worldwide. At some point in your professional career, you might get the opportunity to work remotely and we urge you to take it.
Don’t settle for ordinary or what’s safe. Try new things to expand your skills, personal growth, and career trajectory.