Co-working flexible spaces offer much to even established businesses. Source: Shutterstock

Why co-working spaces aren’t just for startups

ANYONE who lives in a large city will be well aware of co-working spaces. These offices for the 21st century are places where small and medium businesses can base themselves and retain that flexibility, agility, and occasional unpredictability which are the hallmarks of successful organizations.

If you’re running a startup, the reasons to use co-working spaces are clear: there’s little financial overhead for a professional sheen, which is unquestionably key when meeting new people, potential employees, and the all-important investors.

But even established businesses, right up the million-dollar turnover concern, can benefit from the use of co-working spaces. Here are some of the reasons your organization should consider signing up.

1. Rent and commitment

Flexible environments are more than flexible regarding their seating arrangements. Most co-working spaces offer a range of price plans and tenures of a few days up to months or years.

Your organization’s business needs dictate many aspects of your working practice, and this is especially true in technology. If a business needs a new communication strategy, there’ll be a piece of software or hardware that will help. So why limit yourself and ignore the space in which to work?

Traditionally, companies get tied down by long leases, and while the permanence of a fixed address has benefits, the digital nature of the modern workspace means that physical fluidity, as well as digital fluidity, is possible.

Additionally, crucial parts of the business can be outsourced quickly and easily. Data and voice comms often come packaged or as metered add-ons. Meeting rooms are available, as are communal spaces, and why pay a full-time salary for a receptionist when the co-working space already offers one?

2. Spontaneity

Pixar’s headquarters was designed with spontaneity and unexpected collaboration in mind: this was part of the original Steve Jobs design brief.

Offices quickly tend to become divided territories, with workers putting down roots in their particular stamping grounds. While this helps staff become settled, communication and collaboration also become compartmentalized.

If you want your workforce to come up with exciting new ideas inspired by different areas of the business, the flexibility of an office that changes almost on a daily basis may well provide that crucial creative spark you wanted.

3. Additional possibilities

Smaller companies may not have the space for all the facilities they desire. Who can, in the early stages of the business, afford a dedicated conference room which lies empty 99 percent of the time?

Cafe style areas, affordable luxury for the large enterprise are not going to be possible further down the food chain. But for a business to thrive, it needs to offer the occasional informal setting: this encourages staff relationships to blossom and the company to flourish.

In a fixed office space, collaboration can be noisy and disturb others. But in a co-working space, other areas may either be available as part of the overall package or could be quickly hooked in as an add-on. If one day you need a meeting room, and the next day a place to hold a makers’ workshop, a fixed tenancy may not allow it. But a flexible co-working space offers just that, with ease.

Even if you are settled into your premises, as your organization expands, it may well pay not to take on too much of a financial burden of additional long-term rentals or lease agreements. The answer even for the established concern could be in co-working.

Or, your creative teams may need a shake-up. Moving them for a few months into a new, funky, fashionable space where they can spark ideas off each other away from the dullards of the IT department (!) or the Finance department’s dread spreadsheets, may be just the ticket.