With the rise of the “gig economy” fueled by companies like Uber, GrubHub, and Taskrabbit, there’s a major shift happening in the way companies manage their people and their offices. Many companies are moving away from their long leases at office suites and are instead using flexible workspaces or coworking offices, like WeWork or Regus. Research by Instant Offices found there are about 35,000 flexible workspaces worldwide, representing 521 million square feet and $26 million market value.
So what is a flexible workspace? Also known as a shared office space or a coworking office, flexible workspaces are pre-furnished with all the equipment businesses need to function. Often, these spaces include furniture, kitchen and break rooms, IT and telecommunications equipment, WiFi, cleaning services, maintenance, security, utilities, and more. Opting for these coworking spaces can provide major benefits to companies that choose them. Below, we discuss the top three benefits to flexible workspaces.
Coworking is ideal for startups
Startups often don’t have the capability to pay the same high overhead costs of buying equipment, committing to a long-term office rental, and hiring administrative employees. Startups may have to surrender to low-budget accommodations until they get off the ground. With flexible workspaces, however, the amenities are all there, ready to be used. This not only gives startups a turnkey office space, but provides a more professional image for potential new hires or investors and allows them to grow without having to constantly find new spaces through that growth.
Flexible workspaces allow organizations to hire the best talent
One of the biggest benefits of flexible workspaces is the ability to hire the best employees, no matter where they’re located. Traditionally, organizations are limited to employees in their geographical area. With flexible workspaces, talent no longer has to come to the organization; the organization can go to the talent.
Additionally, the 2018 Clutch Future of Work survey found workers prioritize an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable atmosphere, community, and flexible workspaces. In fact, the IWG Global Workspace study found that when a prospective employee is faced with two similar job offers and only one offers flexible work, 80% would turn down the one that didn’t offer it.
Coworking allows for great networking opportunities
The term “co-working” was coined by Brad Neuberg in 2005 when he introduced the idea of shared office space. (The term later dropped the hyphen and simply became coworking.) Neuberg’s idea was to create office spaces for people to experience independence in their work while still allowing them the structure and community an office space provides.
Networking is a major part of that community. Because flexible workspaces are home to many companies and disciplines, they provide the perfect space for cross-market learning and connections. Shared office spaces are often a breeding ground for networking opportunities, providing opportunities to talk with people from varying backgrounds who could be useful connections.
From lower costs to more interactive workdays, flexible workspaces provide major benefits to the companies that use them. Between 2014 and 2019, coworking offices grew more than 135%. Who knows what the next 5 years will bring.