According to a Global Coworking Survey, the coworking industry has quadrupled during the last 5 years. Coworking spaces now number more than 10,000 globally, allowing people to share equipment, ideas, knowledge, and of course, space. They come in all shapes and sizes, but the best one for you will depend on your particular working style. Looking for a new place for you and your team to call home? Coworking might just be the answer — and for more than one reason.
Here are some surprising benefits of coworking:
One of the obvious benefits of coworking spaces is that you can scale up or down relatively easily.“My workforce bounces around in size,” says Jeremy Goldman, founder of Firebrand Group.
However, agility wasn’t just about growing and shrinking square footage for Goldman. He wanted a space that was agile enough to support all the different ways he works. “It’s not natural to sit in the same cubicle for eight hours a day.” said Goldman “For thousands and millions of years, we moved around when we worked.” So he looked for a space focused on “the way people want to work, not how they have traditionally worked.”
And while he doesn’t always take advantage of moving locations throughout the day, Goldman likes knowing he has the option and that his coworking space provides a variety of “zones.” He chooses a lounge area when he wants to socialize or get some feedback from a fellow coworking member. He gets up to use a phone booth when he makes a phone call.
Goldman didn’t want a coworking space that provided several little offices, one right after the other, lining a hallway. If that’s what he wanted, he could have rented a dedicated space and potentially saved money. He wanted a communal, open environment in which people shared more than just space. He wanted a space where people shared their knowledge and connections.
Helya Mohammadian wanted her company, Slick Chicks,and her people to be part of something bigger. She is also part of Dreamers and Doers, an online community designed to unite “givers,” but recognizes the value of connecting in-person and affirms the benefits of a community. “I didn’t want a traditional office setting,” she said.
- Sounding Board
Mohammadian wanted more than a receptionist, copy machine and conference rooms. At a recent female-founder monthly meeting hosted at her coworking space, she was able to use the attendees as a focus group. Members have an array of skills, so they were able to provide feedback on just about every aspect of her business, including what markets to target, how to market her product and where to find low-cost manufacturing.
- A Helping Hand
When Mohammadian found her coworking facility, she clicked with the staff immediately. However, the magic truly happened once she became part of the community. She didn’t realize just how helpful the staff and its members would be. “It strengthened my network,” she said. “With so many networking and social events to take part in, you get to know everyone well.”
When looking for a coworking place to call home, make sure you identify your guiding principles and goals for your new space. You may find that it’s more about community, agility, sounding boards and helping hands than you ever thought.