The concept of co-working has grown beyond its beginnings and has transitioned into promoting communities of entrepreneurs working alongside each other, sharing desks, coffee machines and, in many cases, ideas, to become an industry onto itself.
The 2018 Global Co-working Survey estimates that 1.7 million people will be working in around 19,000 co-working spaces worldwide by the end of this year.
In today’s ever evolving workplace culture, employees are looking for positions that go beyond the traditional corporate office and instead cater to their desire for flexibility. As demographics of the market keep on changing, the desires and demands of workers are developing, and many employers are looking for innovation.
Part of the charm is the flexibility; monthly membership means not having to commit to a long-term lease. Signing up for a co-working space is more like taking out a gym membership than making a pivotal business decision.
Digital nomads can use memberships at multiple locations. But the real idea of a co-working space, is a more innovative work culture.
Being able to take your job across the globe or create your own schedule also allows women to continue to pursue their work. These rapid, substantial changes have many advantages but one demographic that predominantly benefits? Women.
Companies that understand that women have families and create boundaries for family time and commitments are highly prized.
As more women embrace a remote or flexible career and lifestyle, the community of women in the workforce grows, develops and flourishes.
This is evident through the co-working spaces that are popping up, which are more than just an office; offering women a safe, trusted place to work with perks that are more aligned to them than the average male-dominated work spaces. ‘The Address’ also provides various useful amenities such as on-site gyms, meal delivery, relaxation areas, private phone booths, etc..
The job market is no longer local, and because of technology we now have access to a global hiring pool.
The global co-working boom has also reached critical mass in Japan, now home to more than 400 spaces that facilitate the trend. Major Japanese real estate companies such as Tokyu and Mitsui Fudosan have also established their own co-working facilities, and other firms across Japan are quickly following suit.
Co-working spaces provide a shared office space where individual workers can work independently while also enjoying the support of an office community.
With the high cost of securing dedicated office space in major metropolitan areas, shared offices have become increasingly popular over the past decade. Shared offices generally consist of private offices for up to 10 employees with a joint reception area and conference rooms that can be rented by the hour.
In contrast, co-working spaces tend to have fewer private offices, instead focusing on large central spaces with islands or rows of desks. As a result, co-working spaces usually operate on a membership model that allows for a “free-address” plan in which there is no designated desk space.
Co-working spaces also offer inherent networking opportunities. Because of the focus on building a supportive community, co-working spaces hold events and encourage interactions between members.
Teruo Kurosaki, founder of Midori.so, started one of Japan’s first co-working spaces. He wanted to create a truly independent think-tank; A group of free-thinking creatives who can make their own conclusions to influence the future. That inspired him to create Midori.so as a place where creative people can flourish and do great things together.
Do open office floor plans increase productivity and worker well-being? This lies at the center of an ongoing debate between traditional office and co-working advocates. There is also the question whether productivity depends entirely on the nature and preferences of individual workers.
Coworking spaces are not just for freelancers, startups and small teams. Large firms are increasingly transitioning into co-working spaces as well.
For rapidly growing companies, the spaces are an attractive choice as a temporary office and prevents waiting for several months until their new office spaces get constructed.
Companies focused on innovation also sometimes choose to work inside of a co-working space in order to foster an innovative, free-thinking environment outside the traditional corporate framework.
Since we have the ability to work from anywhere, the need for traditional office space decreases. With 50% of the workforce projected to be Millennials by 2020, the younger generation is ready for this change and embracing new environments.
And ofcourse, how can one let go of the fact that each co-working space has its own vibe and culture. It is beautiful how every country is adding their own cultural elements to their own co-working spaces and creating masterpieces on a global level.
Read More: 10 Tips to Thrive in a Shared Space