A further (probably not final) thought on coworking spaces
First published on December 10, 2023 by Gilbert West. Context is important.Coworking
In my last article about coworking I said that coworking spaces enable freelancers to work together based around projects rather than combining into one company which is continually under pressure to find projects to "feed the machine". I referred to this as a distributed company.
I didn't talk about startups much as I've done that in other articles. One feature of startups and freelancers that share space that I forgot to mention in the previous article is that they tend to celebrate each other's success.
What about companies?
Where do companies (in my book, entities with more than a handful of employees) fit into this mix? They often eschew the coworking model because they have greater requirements for privacy and at a certain point the economics of renting 6 full-time desks may not stack up versus a conventional office.
Coworking spaces can and should serve companies as it adds to the richness of the experience among the space's customers and builds links between freelancers and companies as potential clients/services providers.
So what can a coworking space offer companies? High levels of flexibility with much lower levels of commitment than they are used to. Planning for growing staff numbers always has to include expansion of physical space used. This may include taking an office larger than requirements that you grow into, or it can be managed by having work from home policies to reduce the number of staff on site at any one time.
Coworking spaces can help ease those growing pains by:
- Offering month by month access to hotdesks as a company grows.
- A suitable work environment for employees that work remotely or from home, but who need to meeting rooms or just to get out of the house for the benefit of their mental health.
- Spaces for team away days to get people out of their usual working environment for workshops etc.
- Occasional workspace close to amenities for companies tucked away in a cookie cutter industrial park out of town.
I've written about coworking in the past. If you go this far, you might like those too.