The world has proven to be anything but predictable. The changing shape of the economy, the shift to remote work and rise of the gig economy have all shaken up the real estate sector. The winners to emerge from all this change and uncertainty are the flexible office rental and coworking players, who in addition to providing a more efficient commercial real estate solution, have created a new blueprint for employee engagement.
Employers and employees both need the workplace of the future to be agile and productive. If your company hasn’t tried the benefits of coworking yet, read on to discover why it’s becoming a staple of the modern workforce.
What are the benefits to coworking or flex office spaces?
Alternative office, workplace of the future, flexible offices — there are many synonyms for coworking. What started a few decades ago as a solution for freelancers and young startups, has now become a global trend. Currently, more than one million people worldwide work in coworking spaces, and the number continues to grow. Large companies increasingly use coworking for their needs, and often house entire departments consisting of hundreds of employees within coworking spaces. There is also a shift towards enterprises leveraging coworking spaces as research labs, centers of innovation, or as satellite offices. This concept has become a central part of the tech and innovation scene.
The reasons to be pro-coworking are many fold and cover a wide range of aspects of everyday working life. Most of the coworking spaces are characterized by their community. The exchange between members in one or more locations is actively promoted through shared spaces such as lounges and communal kitchens, as well as networking events. In addition to internal events, many coworking providers also invite external partners to events. As a result, members can quickly connect to the local ecosystem and network professionally. Through the informal exchange during a working day, new cooperations and partnerships can develop, which would otherwise not be possible.
Coworking also represents “the future of work”. In addition to networking with other companies, the unique vibe in coworking spaces promotes innovation and productivity. The design of coworking spaces is often driven to inspire and provide new ideas and creations. Product and innovation teams, of large tech companies, in particular, benefit from this and can break out of the old, traditional corporate structure and ways of thinking. The stimulating working environment is also a big plus for motivating existing employees and attracting new ones. IT and tech companies are in a perpetual “war for talent”. Finding top talent can be extremely difficult. Individual factors such as the workplace and other benefits can make the decisive difference. Coworking represents a modern lifestyle that attracts millennials — the generation that will constitute more than 75% of the global workforce by 2020. Having an innovative ‘Silicon Valley’ vibe can be a top draw for this generation.
An additional, particularly attractive coworking advantage for tech companies is a reduction in costs. Tech companies of all sizes can choose spaces to suit their needs in coworking spaces and scale their team’s flexibility at any time. In contrast to a traditional office, coworking space members save 20–40% of their expenses. Memberships are often “all-inclusive packages” and, in addition to avoiding setup costs associated with traditional offices, they also include all taxes, cleaning, internet services, coffee and snacks, printing, and other cost benefits.
The global catalyst for accelerating the coworking trend
In a pre Covid world, commercial and office real estate investments appeared to be a safe bet. Throughout the pandemic companies adapted to the changing world and evolving worker needs, downsizing from a traditional corporate office set-up to accommodate hybrid or remote work models. In addition, smaller businesses such as restaurants, wellness studios and gyms were hit hard, with many forced to close. Landlords were suddenly struggling to maintain rental income, jeopardizing their livelihood.
Coworking and flex office spaces provided a solution to meet everyone’s evolving needs. Companies shifting to a coworking, hybrid office, or flex office space can provide their remote workers with on-demand meeting rooms and a much needed sense of community, while enjoying greater flexibility and lower rental overheads. Landlords and real estate agents have found a new way to transform large previously undesirable empty buildings into beautifully designed open spaces complete with yoga studios, restaurants and gyms – the greatest victims of the pandemic.