A coworking space, in essence, is a collaborative working environment, wherein freelancers, small companies, or start-ups are able to work independent of each other, whilst being able to share the same services.
Types of coworking spaces
It is important to note there are different types of coworking spaces that suit the needs and requirements for different people.
When thinking of coworking spaces, this is often what comes to mind first. Conventional or open workspaces are typically not geared towards a specific type of organisation or company but rather focuses on creating a shared, open and collaborative environment, in which freelancers and different types of companies from a range of different sectors are able to conduct their business from.
These usually have higher quality and a broader range of amenities than a conventional workspace may have, with a higher focus on offering luxury and convenience for the people that work there. Whilst they may offer more services, this means that this type of coworking space often comes at a much higher price than their ‘conventional’ counterparts.
This type of workspace caters to more corporate clientele rather than ‘energetic’ start-ups that put a higher emphasis on collaboration. Therefore they offer a more private and usually quieter setting that might conventionally be considered more professional. They are also a cheaper alternative to the high-end workspaces, so are a good fit for smaller companies. A good example of this is OpenHub, a professional coworking space based in Dubai.
Minimalist or ‘bare-bone’ coworking spaces places a high priority on affordability. They usually offer just the basic services, such as wifi, electricity and water, and have very basic and minimal furniture. This is a good option for individuals and freelancers who do not require much in terms of services.
These are usually niche working spaces that only allow companies or individuals working within a particular sector to work. As such these spaces tend to cater to specific demands of that industry. Specialised workspaces might include healthcare specialists, law firms, or even creatives and artists. This allows for and encourages much greater inter-company collaboration.
Incubators are often reserved for start-ups and new companies, so, therefore, cater to smaller companies that are more budget-conscious. Incubators sometimes offer business guidance, funding as well as networking opportunities, which help businesses to grow.
What are the advantages?
It makes quality services more affordable
Coworking spaces allow those that have a smaller budget to have access to amenities and services that would otherwise be unaffordable. Even the most basic coworking spaces offer pantry space, wifi, receptionists, and printing services, whilst some of the more high-end spaces can provide access to expensive industry-specific equipment, boardrooms and meeting rooms.
It allows much greater flexibility
Freelancers and small business owners often do not have the budget, resources or the need to commit to a long term contract for an office space. Coworking spaces can often be booked on a short term basis, allowing the individual to have much greater control over the spaces they have. This is especially the case with smaller companies who may be undergoing rapid expansion, and so can take up more office space as and when their business requires it.
Offers networking and collaborative opportunities
One of the greatest benefits regarding coworking spaces is the collaborative environment they foster. Sharing big spaces with other likeminded individuals can help spark greater innovation, as well as afford them priceless networking opportunities, which can often lead to inter-brand collaborations. Especially in the case of start-ups, these collaborative environments can help kickstart the company’s growth and development.
Who uses them?
Coworking spaces are used by a wide range of different individuals and companies.
Many start-ups, small businesses and freelancers enjoy coworking spaces as it allows them to utilise resources and receive services and amenities that would otherwise be unavailable or too costly were they to have their own office unit. Further to this, anyone wishing for more flexibility when it comes to work can benefit from using a coworking space. They are a great way to foster creativity, new ideas and a collaborative environment.