Business productivity depends on increasing the skill of existing employees and finding ways through knowledge sharing, collaboration and development of new ideas to engage new employees. Studies noted in the Harvard Business Review have reviewed data that highlights employees in co-working spaces thrive much more than in a traditional office space. What makes a co-working space – defined as a location that brings remote workers, freelancers and other independent professionals together – so beneficial? Before we address this, it’s worth noting the definition of a co-working space. Started in San Francisco 2005, co-working is now becoming popular across the globe. Co-working spaces are designed to help entrepreneurs, businesses, and freelancers have the opportunity to work in a serviced office without having to worry about the cost of setting up an office reality.
Work culture fluidity
This is a new concept, unlike in the traditional office space, members within a co-working space are working for different company sizes, startups to major corporations and projects. There are consultants to CEO’s of large startups working in the same area, the usual business competition and internal politics doesn’t exist in the co-working environment. Members of a co-working space don’t feel the need nor urge to walk into their office with a specific persona to fit their titles. The traditional internal politics dissolves opening up to more cross-functional collaboration between teams, in doing so, encouraging others to help even other companies out.
More job control
The ability for independent and autonomous work, where the office access is 24×7, workers can decide whether to work a long day, overnight or stay over the weekend. This level of flexibility allows workers to take control of their work-life balance – to choose whether to take extra long breaks in the middle of the day or go for long strolls in the park. While job control means workers can even work from home, many organisations have noted workers value the ability to be part of a community allowing exposure to knowledge transfer, social networking and shared tables of interactivity (for example lunch workshops).
Cost savings in setting up your office
Instead of the traditional model lease, co-working spaces collectively provide the best service for small and medium enterprises, by also sharing the cost of office expenses and ownership. The issues of infrastructure management, IT support, events management, office supplies and guest access are solved within a co-working environment. The printers, WiFi and meeting space technology, chairs and desks will usually be far superior than a home office can offer. Importantly the high-speed internet access is usually business grade internet lines allowing staff to connect in and out of different rooms for meetings easily. This enables a business to expand their teams relatively fast by purchasing more desks or contracting during tougher times.
HuffPost stated that 64% of workers in a co-working space are better able to complete tasks on time. Around you are people who want to achieve more out of their business, and it will motivate your staff members to do the same. Everybody around you will be busy in meetings, on calls and rushing around working when it becomes the social norm in the community to be productive. It will spread naturally throughout the entire organisation.
The model is an open environment, here you can find like-minded people or can become business partners in the future. There will be similar startups at the same stage of growth as your organisation, or corporates who can refer or recommend customers you can work with. Staff can also collaborate and network with other teams that will help them manage their own career growth. Connections with others in the co-working environment is a big reason why people pay to come and work here rather than at home. Staff at co-working spaces will usually make an effort to get to know members by name and profession, and assist with facilitating co-working members at on-site networking events.
Imagine no longer having to look for digital marketing, an engineer or legal assistance for your business, because they are located in the same office space as you. Members can choose when and who they want to interact with. Most meetings and introductions are facilitated in the co-working space over coffee. Members always know there is the potential to meet someone important in their industry, the potential for interactions creates the desire just to walk around. While there are several similar businesses in the same vertical industry, members see the strengths and weaknesses in each other to refer work or collaborate on more significant projects.
Co-working spaces converge businesses, investors, stakeholders and customers. You can easily find your customers at industry events, networking events at the co-working space. Finding similar businesses in the one location, investors are usually inclined to explore other companies in the co-working space seeking investment. Several co-working spaces in Singapore offer pitch events to give aspiring business owners the chance to present their ideas and seek funding from potential investors. Most co-working spaces will have a particular industry focus, such as property tech, financial tech, consumer or security focus. These co-working spaces will have regular pitch events directly to investors or a panel of judges who have completed past multi-million dollar exits.
Co-working spaces help minimise financial barriers for businesses to start enabling productivity from day one. Co-working creates an “ecosystem” of shared talent and knowledge sharing at networking events. Combined with the work culture fluidity and job control for members of the workspace, this allows more business productivity, connectivity and investment opportunities.