These days, it seems like there’s always something new in the world of work or business. Email revolutionized the way business people communicate, remote work has given employees flexibility and allowed companies to widen their talent pool, and now coworking is growing rapidly in the business world. So, what is coworking? It’s a working environment that is shared by individuals and companies, and is valuable for startups because of its small-scale and short-term nature. An entrepreneur can rent a desk space (or more, if she has a few employees) for as short as 1 business day. Alternatively, growing companies can reserve a longer term office within the coworking space before “graduating” to their own office space.
It may not come as a surprise that this work concept has grown incredibly over the past decade or so. According to one study, the number of worldwide coworking spaces has gone from 3 in 2005 to 15,500 in 2017 — that’s a growth of 5,100x. And, the count is likely even higher now. Beyond simply a place to work, these spaces provide a few key benefits to entrepreneurs and companies. Read on for 3 major ones.
A professional setting to host investors and hold meetings.
In the early days of a startup, it comes down to entrepreneurs convincing investors that their idea has what it takes to succeed. Research and projections are always valuable, but as human beings, investors could walk away from the opportunity simply because it doesn’t feel right. In order to minimize these worries, entrepreneurs need to make their business appear as legitimate as possible — and coworking spaces aid with that. Rather than meeting someone at a coffee shop or hosting them in their home where the entrepreneur works, coworking spaces allow important meetings to take place in a professional conference room. Plus, there’s no chance of forgetting materials since the startup’s workspace is down the hall. This altogether can be the difference between securing or not securing investors.
Sharing ideas with other startups.
This is entirely something an entrepreneur can opt in or out of, but some business people find great value in working beside others with similar goals (hopefully in different industries). Coworking spaces are designed to support new business ventures by providing a comfortable environment to get started. Sometimes, these spaces will even put on events so that the occupants can mingle and get to know one another. Plus who knows — it could even lead to the next business partnership.
Flexibility when traveling.
In certain industries, there is a need for entrepreneurs to travel frequently to different cities. If they have to stay for a day or more, it means they’ll need a place to sit down and work. Of course, there are hotel business centers and coffee shops, but these can sometimes have the issues of loud noise or inconsistent internet connection. Plus, holding calls or video meetings in either of these public spaces isn’t exactly the most professional option. That’s where coworking spaces come in. Business people can purchase a short-term pass for one of these workspaces (which often provides coffee and sometimes more perks beyond that) and complete their work in a professional environment.
Coworking is by no means for everyone but it has proved to provide a lot of value to many startups and small companies. Beyond the fun perks like free coffee and a social atmosphere, there are concrete business benefits that are undeniable.