Coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular and for a very good reason. It is predicted that by the year 2022, the number of coworking spaces will increase to 30,432 (from 2005’s 1, and 2018’s 14,000), with over 5.1 million active members.
While coworking spaces started as a means of office for small entrepreneurs and freelancers, the offerings have evolved. Coworking spaces have now become an indispensable part of businesses of all sizes and forms.
If you’re an entrepreneur reviewing your workplace options, you should take a deep dive into the impact coworking spaces have on your team of employees, and the organization as a whole. The workspace culture is highly impacted by your decision to move to a premium coworking space.
There are also minor challenges that you need to be aware of. Do the pros outweigh the cons? Are coworking spaces the way to go? In this post, we will not only answer these questions but also guide you through the impact coworking spaces have on your team/employees.
Before we jump into the impact coworking spaces have in a business organization, it is fairly important to know what they are and what potential they have to offer.
What are Coworking Spaces?
Everybody likes diversity and change in their lives – be it food, where they live, vacation places, or even how they look. Extrapolating this concept of change to a workplace in a business environment, we arrive at coworking spaces.
To explain further, coworking spaces are arrangements where employees from different companies in different sectors come together and work in a large office space.
Coworking spaces are an extremely efficient alternative to office spaces for businesses, startups, and large businesses alike. Coworking spaces nurture coworkers’ networks by bringing together people from different domains, geographical locations, and sometimes even races and ethnicities.
They are excellent for a work-break-work cycle which in turn promotes productivity among employees. Coworking spaces offer a better work-life balance, on-demand furniture, and equipment, and are inclusive of all employees (like pregnant women, persons with disabilities, etc.) among many other benefits.
Key Impact of Coworking Spaces on your Employees
Before going into the numerous impacts created by coworking spaces on employees, it is important to understand some basic psychology. Employees around the world love to relax and have chit chats with colleagues near the water coolers.
Contrary to popular belief, these water cooler conversations tend to positively impact your employees’ productivity. These talks help boost collaboration among employees, efficiency with which they work, and work satisfaction, directly increasing a business’ bottom line.
Over the years, businesses across the world have realized that it is imperative to enhance employee experience, and have brought on several changes to the traditional “office” model (coworking spaces for instance).
One very successful measure brought in to vastly improve the employee experience has been the advent of coworking spaces. And to varying degrees, they tend to create a harmonious balance between recreation and professionalism.
As a direct result, not only do coworking spaces increase the overall employee performance, but also improve employee retention.
Here’s how coworking spaces impact your employees:
Coworking Spaces Design
Coworking spaces have a more vibrant and inclusive workspace for employees. Workspace design choices, like color, choice of lighting, etc., have been scientifically proven to have a direct impact on employee efficiency and productivity.
Coworking spaces are often built by expert architects, with immense knowledge about human psychology. While a basic decision like the choice of the wall color, or lighting seems so trivial, it is quite the opposite.
Coworking spaces are meant to provide all the amenities that a normal office setting might miss out on. Starting from comfortable desks and chairs, furniture for left-handed people, private rooms for breastfeeding mothers, and advanced technological equipment for presentations or board meetings, among others are some of the things that normal office spaces might not have.
Some coworking spaces even have refreshment areas and lounges, where employees can take quick breaks to recharge and bounce back.
Most coworking spaces offer frequent workshops to improve the employee behavior and general soft skills required for a smooth work environment. Some companies that overlook soft skills among their employees can make use of this wonderful utility to ensure a peaceful surrounding.
After all, soft skills are as important as technical skills, if not more.
While a majority of the coworking spaces offer workshops for soft skills, most premium coworking spaces also organize other types of workshops – be it educational, entertaining, upskilling, hobby-related etc.
Traditional office settings might not offer built-in mini-hospital rooms. This might be important for employees having serious health issues, or even in case of emergencies. Coworking spaces cater to employees’ well-being in every sense of the word and they cater to health concerns as well.
A common sight in most coworking spaces will be dedicated rest areas and wellness zones to help coworkers relax and destress. Apart from boosting your employees’ productivity, it also helps ensure that their mental health is taken care of. Helping your employees distress is often the biggest thing you can do for their health.
Coworking spaces are known to promote a great work-life balance among the employees. This is partly because they are built to mimic one’s home. A lot of windows with views, proper ventilation, well-arranged refreshment areas, among others, make the employees feel at home and boost their productivity.
If an employee feels too worked up, they can head on over to the lounge area and hang out till their energies are restored to work in full-swing mode again.
Not satisfied with the lounge? How about play zones, libraries, music rooms, or several other offerings that your coworking service provider may offer.
A Culture of Growth
Coworking spaces are all about constant back and forth feedback and thus promote a culture of growth. This is extremely important in an office setting because criticism – an essential part of any business – needs to be well-received, and a growth mindset certainly helps.
Employees not only get water coolers to hang around at but also a lot of other collaborative spaces. Everybody at some point in their lives must have enjoyed having group study sessions or group work sessions. Coworking spaces make way for exactly these, promoting collaboration among employees.
This helps people bring new insights to the table.
Celebration of Cultures
Since most coworking spaces include diverse people, frequent celebrations happen, promoting inclusion and happiness. Keeping the employees happy is to keep them working efficiently, and giving them the freedom to have a little more fun is certainly a good way to go about it.
Employees get to know other people, appreciate cultural diversity, and start valuing people irrespective of divisions, all the while having fun.
The Other Side of the Coin
Yes, coworking spaces seem like an extremely smart way to tackle business environment issues, but are there any downsides to them? Well, certainly. Just like any coin has two sides, coworking spaces have some disadvantages too, albeit few.
Overwhelming External Exposure
Coworking spaces are built to bridge the gap between employees. Some people who are sensitive to crowds or find socializing overwhelming might find it difficult to work in a coworking setting. Enjoying some alone time to collect your thoughts is almost impossible because the workplace is filled with people everywhere.
Lack of Privacy
Privacy can be an important thing to many people, and the higher up in the business one goes, the more private their cabin gets.
This, unfortunately, is not possible in a coworking space, since employees could be of any designation and authority and they would have to make use of the same amenities as the others get. Even talking to one’s family would be overheard by other people.
Everything is Shared
People who don’t like to share things or amenities, will not find themselves happy in a coworking space. Everything starting from desks and chairs, cabins, lounge areas, or even technological equipment like computers might be shared. This can create a lot of confusion.
Some coworking spaces however have introduced a system of reservation of amenities to tackle this problem. This is usually done with the help of an app, or other space management systems, to help ensure that the needs of every organization within the coworking community are aptly taken care of.
Now that we have made it to the end of the article and covered what coworking spaces are, and their pros and cons, it’s time to discuss if you should go for it.
And the answer is, it depends on what your organization needs and what your employees want. Coworking spaces might hinder the proper working of a business that needs privacy to function. Recognizing this, however, coworking spaces have come up with private rooms and other similar amenities (Like silent zones and private phone booths among others).
Not only do these new features eliminate the lack of privacy, but it also helps reduce the overwhelming levels of exposures to a certain extent. However, not all coworking spaces offer all the features that you may need, so make sure to thoroughly enquire if your desired coworking space has all the necessary amenities.
With that being said, opting for coworking spaces can bring you more good than harm, and even that harm can easily be tackled. Countless businesses have already made the switch. What are you waiting for?