What is Coworking? A Look Into Shared Workspaces in 2021
Coworking spaces provide flexible workspaces for all businesses, from start-ups and SMEs to creatives and freelancers. Their ability to promote social networking and a lively, energetic atmosphere is an appealing prospect to businesses on a budget and those looking for a more relaxed and social workspace.
However, given the pandemic’s effect on both our lives and workspaces, co-working spaces have obviously seen a radical shift in the way they operate and their policies to ensure our safety.
What is Coworking?
Coworking is a workspace arrangement where people from different working backgrounds share an office space. Coworking spaces typically come fully furnished and equipped to support standard office work requirements, including utilities, Wi-Fi, receptionists and sometimes break-out spaces. Some high-end co-working spaces may also provide meeting rooms, refreshments and in-house catering services.
The Reasons People Thrive in Coworking Spaces
Coworking spaces have continued to grow in popularity since they became a viable and affordable workspace solution in 2005 for both agencies, freelancers and creatives. For many people, working in communicable spaces with a variety of different companies, projects and people can make people better identify with their work.
More job control
The vast majority of coworking spaces offer 24/7 access to the building and your workspace, ideal for people who enjoy sporadic working. Depending on the size and layout of the coworking area, workers can also choose to work in a more collaborative environment or somewhere quieter, such as a closed booth or designated ‘quiet zone’. Additionally, workers also have the option and advantage of working from home (remote working is especially important during COVID).
However, while autonomy is a welcomed concept in coworking spaces, workers also value structure, hence their decision to opt for coworking as opposed to working from home. People need routines, and coworking offers the most flexible workspace structure, and while coworking was already gaining popularity, the pandemic has further emphasised the importance and need for flexible working.
Feeling part of a community
As briefly mentioned, being involved in a workspace community is an attractive and advantageous perk for many people, especially startups and SMEs looking to network and even collaborate on projects. Managers of coworking spaces have full reign over the vibe and atmosphere they want to create, making every coworking space unique. Some coworking spaces may place a strong emphasis on collaboration with designated spaces for certain industries (digital marketing, graphic design, eCommerce etc) whereas others may adopt a more private, independent layout (freelancers and small businesses).
At Halkin, we see ourselves as more of a hospitality-based workplace as opposed to “just an office rental company”. Our staff take time to ensure every new business or freelance client that walks into our coworking offices feels at home and is able to rely on us to provide the best workspace experience that enhances their productivity and reflects the quality of their brand and business.
Their work becomes more meaningful
There are a few reasons for this. Most notably, unlike traditional office spaces, coworking environments allow workers to help each other out by offering their expertise. For example, you might find that a business next door to you needs some graphic design help and you’re able to offer your expertise. From here, you can grow your business internally through word of mouth and further grow your brand, business and connections.
Second, by simply working alongside a variety of other businesses and personalities, it can enhance your own work identity. Additionally, there’s also a far lesser chance of coming into contact with any direct competitors or internal politics, allowing for a far more relaxed and independent working environment.
Ways to Ensure Coworking Spaces Remain Safe and Welcoming
The key factor to address is ensuring people feel safe when they return to their coworking space, hot desk or shared office. For coworking spaces to survive, adaptation and flexibility are essential. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most important factors to address to ensure coworking spaces can continue to adapt and thrive.
Consider flexible working and contracts
Flexi co-working is a concept that is becoming more popular for several reasons. Flexible contracts for coworking spaces should, by definition, go hand-in-hand. The demand for more flexibility in terms of contracts has skyrocketed during COVID and even when restrictions are loosened, the concept should remain a strong consideration for office rental companies. As Tom Carroll puts it ‘In the long term, we’re only going to be seeing more flexible, agile, dispersed and distributed work and portfolios’. Whether it’s a pay as you go contract or a short-term flexible lease agreement, offering your clients these options during a pandemic is a very attractive prospect to consider.
Keep on top of your health and safety regulations
This goes without saying but is now more prominent given the current predicament of the world. Ensuring coworking spaces are regularly cleaned and sanitised to ensure workspaces are hygienic and clean is important for both health and safety as well as the general presentation of the workplace.
Additionally, because coworking is more of a shared workspace environment with people coming and going as they please (similar to hot desking), it should naturally demand more focus on hygiene. Although COVID won’t be around forever, it’s certainly highlighted the need for better hygiene policies and for workplaces to ensure they’re able to keep their occupants safe and healthy.
This is something we’ve taken very seriously at Halkin and have implemented several new safety measures to ensure we’re able to sustain our high levels of occupant care and to ensure all occupants feel safe working within our London offices.
What’s Your Ideal Coworking Environment?
Coworking spaces aren’t advantageous for everyone, we know that. However, if you’re in the market for an affordable, inviting and professional workspace solution in an iconic London location, we’re able to help. Our Watford coworking space, known as The Junction, offers a visually stunning and highly accessible coworking space just outside London.
To book a tour of your potential new coworking space and take a look at our bespoke office solutions, contact our team today. Alternatively, if coworking spaces aren’t for you, we also offer a range of AAA managed, serviced and private offices, as well as meeting room hiring.