It’s the global phenomenon that is challenging the traditional commercial leasing space, and businesses both big and small are keen to dip their toe into the world of ‘coworking’. Here are the 9 reasons why you, your employees and your business will benefit from it in 2019
Let’s kick it off with the numbers, because if it didn’t make financial sense than the rest wouldn’t matter!
On average in Australia, a coworking space costs between $7,200 – $12,000 per desk per year and this cost is essentially all inclusive (furniture, internet, utilities, cleaning, reception services, kitchens and bathrooms, etc).
As a comparison, in an A or B grade building in a major CBD, this cost can sit closer to $20,000 – $25,000 per employee! (rather than desk… which can be used by multiple employees).
In addition, coworking allows businesses complete flexibility around term (1 month, 3 months, 6 months, etc) rather than committing to a 3+ year lease… and let’s face it who knows where your business will be in even 12 months’ time.
This function essentially converts a fixed cost to a variable cost, allowing a business to adjust its P&L when it either grows or contracts.
Coworking spaces provide an environment that is conducive to collaboration; with break out and communal spaces, open plan kitchen and dining areas, regular events and even the general layout of the offices and desks.
You’re bound to meet like-minded people and it’s a great way to build your business’s brand and identity within the space. Generally, members within coworking spaces end up doing business with one another and access to the space’s member portal is a powerful tool.
Not everything has to be business focused though, and its great for you and your staff’s wider wellbeing to be able to meet people from outside the business to grab a coffee with, have a chat or play some ping pong!
Coworking spaces in effect function as hotels for businesses compared to the conventional stereotype of the office given their focus on customer service, agility and simple pricing. Service is one of the main components to a successful operator, therefore.
You’ll have access to not only a reception team that will meet and greet your clients, but a wider team of staff including community staff and cleaners.
When I ran a coworking space I was never really sure how to describe the role of a community manager, as they are really office all-rounders. Whether its greeting you in the morning, checking up on you during the day, fixing a problem, providing an introduction, delivering mail or organising events; their job is about making sure you and your team is happy and fully utilising the office… and that’s a pretty great resource to have.
FACILITIES & AMENITIES
Coworking is far more than just a desk, chair and internet and the operators in Australia are continually upping their game in terms of the facilities and amenities within a space; and that has been driven by increased competition.
Included in the membership are amenities such as end of trip facilities, towel service, games room, beer and wine on tap, sleeping pods and meditation rooms, gyms, golf simulators and recording studios.
And whilst some of these facilities might seem slightly ephemeral they add to the character of the space, help to impress clients and attract and retain staff – which are all significant bonuses for a business.
Whether coworking or a traditional commercial office, the days of boring office cubicles are dead and gone… operators, landlords, and even tenants are putting a lot of effort into developing ‘space’, but no one does it better than the coworking players.
Providing members with multiple spaces allows businesses to mix up their day… brainstorming in a creative area, working privately in a quiet space, holding a boardroom presentation or conducting a team training session.
The best coworking spaces provide areas that are formal, relaxed, creative, private and area designed for both individuals and teams.
Regular events hosted by your coworking space are beneficial for a number of reasons…
- They allow you and your staff access to new knowledge and this can only ever be a good thing. Whether its learning about personal finance, how to drive sales or the basics about blockchain, coworking spaces are good at mixing up topics and presenters so there’s always a session that will be of interest.
- Social events are good for not only networking, but also for mental health for you and your staff. Breakfast in the morning or drinks after work, its about meeting people and having a laugh.
PASSPORT AND AFFILIATIONS
Many of the coworking spaces in Australia either have interstate and / or global offices (think WeWork, Regus, Servcorp, etc) or they have affiliations with other coworking providers which members can benefit from.
This can be a massive bonus for coworking members… you’re in another state or country and you need to work for the day or hold a meeting… You can walk into the coworking space, the staff know who you are, where you’re from and why you are there. That familiarity and convenience is priceless!
Probably one of the ‘fluffier’ points, but community is a big thing in coworking spaces. That feeling that you and your business are part of something bigger, that the environment is inclusive and the positivity this imbues. .
I always describe it like walking into your favourite coffee shop – they know your order and your name before you’ve got to the counter. Its effortless, its positive and its one of the reasons you go back every day.
We’ll continue on from the theme of Community and focus on the VIBE of coworking spaces.
Yes, it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea but a lot of people like that feeling of walking into a space and its buzzing… there’s people working, talking, there’s movement, the smell of coffee – all of these things create a really positive and energizing feeling. And it’s unique to the coworking world.
Tom Fleming – Director
The Instant Group