‘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. Even large companies are using coworking spaces to fulfill their needs – housing 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. So what is driving this workplace evolution, and what makes coworking so attractive for tech companies?
Leading coworking spaces create an atmosphere that inspires imagination, experimentation, productivity and innovative thinking. From vibrant design to a diverse community of companies, the most innovative tech startups are given the opportunity to break out of traditional structures and ways of thinking. An attractive working environment is also a big plus for motivating existing employees and attracting new ones. Mindspace currently operates 17 locations across the U.S. and Europe, and will expand throughout Europe and to the U.S.
Most coworking spaces are characterized by their community. At Mindspace, the exchange between members across locations is actively promoted through shared spaces such as lounges and communal kitchens, as well as many networking events. In addition to internal events, external partners are invited 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. Growing rapidly, Mindspace’s global community consists of a vast and dynamic range of forward-thinking tech companies to work alongside, which makes it easier to cooperate, as well as organize or attend workshops, test ideas and inspire concepts.
Coworking spaces also provide a stimulating environment for startups to innovate and harness their creativity. IT and tech companies are in a perpetual “war for talent”. Finding top talent is extremely difficult. Individual factors such as the workplace and other benefits can make the decisive difference. By providing a coworking space for their employees, staff can decide exactly how, where and when they choose to work, ultimately helping to increase productivity, morale and encourage innovative, out of the box thinking across teams. Coworking represents a modern lifestyle that attracts millennials – the generation that will constitute more than 50% of the global workforce by 2020. Having an innovative ‘Silicon Valley’ vibe can be a top draw for this generation.
Saving on upfront costs
An additional, particularly attractive coworking advantage for tech companies is cost savings. Tech companies of all sizes can choose spaces to suit their needs in coworking spaces and scale their teams with flexibility at any time. In contrast to a traditional office, coworking space members save 20-40% of their expenses. Leasing offices can come with an additional headache of maintaining the place, which startups can look to avoid by choosing shared space that includes these services within its offering. Mindspace memberships are all-inclusive 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. Coworking allows for companies to be adaptable to change, with month-to-month arrangements that let them upsize or resize flexibly.
Most companies are limited by their location to attracting local staff only. At Mindspace, tech startups can hire local talent around the world, based on skill level instead of proximity to the office. The savings associated with hiring digital nomads and talent in various locations helps businesses to expand their teams with more qualified candidates. At flexible coworking spaces that provide unrestricted access around the clock, remote workers can work whenever they choose, with all the necessary tech resources at their disposal.
With the rise of the sharing economy and technological advancements, coworking is set to continue its impressive growth in the tech sector. For tech startups looking to attract and retain the best talent, companies need to ensure its working environment is well-designed, with round the clock access to foster innovation and collaboration among employees. The various advantages of coworking spaces offer real value to tech startups at a time when there is a need for change and continual innovation to stay ahead.