The way we work is changing. Many companies are now seeking co-working spaces as the nature of work shifts to virtual work policies and hybrid work models.
Although previously identified with startups, freelancers, and digital nomads, co-working spaces are now garnering popularity among large enterprises, corporates, multinationals, and even NGOs.
Because of their status and needs, corporates tend to prefer only co-working spaces where they can get a great experience, better than what they have in their traditional offices.
Why are corporates adopting co-working spaces, and what makes a great corporate co-working experience?
Why Corporates are Moving to Co-working Spaces
Co-working is the new normal. They help companies avoid long leases that can be restricted as well as the costs, time, and processes it takes to set up office spaces. Co-working spaces also allow companies easier growth and expansion since startups can start small with few employees and expand based on their needs.
But that’s not all.
Described as the future of work, co-working spaces are hubs for communities, talent, collaboration, and innovation. For companies and teams working far and wide, co-working spaces provide a structured and convenient work environment.
The shift to co-working offices has been accelerated by the shifting working models to virtual work and hybrid work practices. Under a virtual or hybrid work model, employees get greater flexibility to choose where they work.
These benefits have seen an increase in the number of corporates seeking co-working spaces for their employees.
In a recent survey, the number of people who use co-working spaces has more than doubled across the globe since 2018. This growth is projected to continue with more than 5.1 million people estimated to be using co-working spaces by 2022 in more than 20,000 co-working spaces.
With more people now working remotely, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s an increasing demand for co-working spaces. In 2020, more companies, a 76% increase, inquired about co-working spaces with private offices.
Data shows that the type of co-working space most corporations request includes private offices, executive office space, higher capacity spaces with more desks, and longer-term contracts.
So, what are co-working spaces like?
In general, co-working spaces strive to offer a dynamic work environment and accompanying amenities like virtual offices, work studios, meeting rooms, and event spaces.
What’s an Ideal Corporate Co-working Space
Companies are cautious about the type of co-working spaces they settle for. A co-working space that offers a great experience is a key factor when searching for a shared office space.
Some of the factors that companies should use to gauge ideal co-working spaces are:
- Who is part of the space’s community?
- How much space do they offer?
- Is the co-working space location ideal?
- Are their amenities adequate to fit the business’ needs?
- How secure is the co-working space?
Based on these factors, the following are what we believe makes a great corporate co-working space experience:
Companies and teams strive to find a community and network of like-minded professionals, with whom they can share, learn, collaborate, and network.
Community is a key element for a good experience in a co-working space. The foundation of a co-working space is a collaboration between like-minded professionals.
Most co-working spaces, for example, offer members a sense of community through social events, professional membership, and networking events that bring people together.
A People-First Office Space
Co-working spaces offer amenities like private offices, work studios, desks, meeting rooms, phone booths, break-out spaces, event spaces, and more. But that’s not enough.
An ideal corporate co-working space understands that they are in the Real estate business too. This means the quality and convenience of the space matter just as much as the other key elements.
Corporates, multinational businesses, NGOs, and even maturing startups demand co-working spaces that can accommodate their expansion needs while still offering shared offices with the same vibrancy.
- Layout: Office layout must reflect the client’s needs. Workable spaces, for example, are designed to increase your personal space, comfort, and productivity. Workable space offers state-of-the-art office studios, spacious private offices, collaborative spaces, and meeting rooms.
- Fit-out & Design: The space must convey the brand. For example, the space should provide nice and cozy furniture arrangements and well-lit offices that fit the needs of the corporate community.
Having a co-working space in a prime location is convenient and encourages member loyalty. Businesses consider different factors to reach their ‘best location’ definition. These can be:
- Just off the highway
- Within a business hub
- In the heart of downtown
- Close to public transportation
- Close to a residential community
An easy-to-access co-work space makes members’ lives easy. Members can also meet their clients at a convenient location. And, as visitors check in to the workspace, they will see their future partners as stable and organized and give an initial level of trust.
A great coworking location is also close to cafes, a variety of restaurants, and other retail amenities. This allows members to have business meetings over coffee or lunch without driving or jumping into public transport.
This is why corporates like office spaces in prime locations such as the Sanlam Tower in Prime Westlands, Waiyaki Way where Workable currently has its first co-working space location.
Today, technology is the spine that drives the experience of a coworking business, including dedicated connectivity. Businesses need access to modern and enterprise technology that supports business operations, virtual office needs, remote work, virtual meetings, or other hybrid work models.
An ideal corporate coworking space technology infrastructure and office amenities may include:
- Copy machines, printers, fax machines, and scanners
- Quick, reliable WiFi
- Meeting room reservations technology
- Built-in VLAN in private office studios
- IP phones system with conference call capabilities
- Firewall for data security
- Video and teleconferencing equipment
- Secure 24/7 access like electronic and cloud-based access points and door locks
- Extra computers (for those who personal laptop computers)
- Community app for networking
- And more!
It’s all about the people — what you offer the people and what the people gain. You can’t offer a service without being hospitable. This applies to co-working office spaces as well.
A great corporate co-working experience comes when the co-working space exemplifies hospitality in areas like:
- Staff: Nice, friendly, and smart professionals with a sense of empathy.
- Concierge services: A way to run day-to-day tasks to allow you to concentrate on the growth of your business. These include office reception, customer service, mail handling, event planning, visitor management, ordering office supplies, assistance with travel arrangements, and more!
- Refreshments: Everyone needs a break from work at some point. A basic kitchen with a water cooler, freshly brewed coffee throughout the day, and various teas and other refreshments is important. Some co-working spaces offer complimentary snacks and waiter service to private offices, event places, and meeting rooms. Remember coworkers’ next best option is a cafe where they can get all these. While great amenities are intangible, the kitchen area and refreshments are a solid rational component of your office space.
- Air quality and hygiene: Hygiene-centered co-working spaces have a design and layout built with HVAC systems for air cleaning and safety in the office environment.
While unique to a team, the elements of a great work environment are constantly shifting. Corporates prefer co-working spaces that both reflect their business ethos and their team’s need for a healthy workspace.
This is why wellness-centric co-working spaces prioritize their members’ wellness and health. For example, they have a layout of private office studios with large windows, individual temperature control, electric sit-stand desks, ergonomic task chairs, visitors stool, UV sun blinds, and acoustic sound insulation.
These small details increase productivity, creativity, and efficiency among co-workers.
Hosting events differentiates co-working spaces from traditional corporate office suites. Events and networking opportunities are beneficial to professional members, especially for established corporations who are seeking new opportunities and new ventures. Professionals get fresh perspectives from like-minded people around them.
Co-working spaces can host different types of corporate events:
- Events for members. These encourage co-working community building. They include book clubs, morning coffee clubs, networking events around specific topics.
- Events for prospective members. These events help showcase your community to businesses and organizations that might be interested in working from the shared office. Even-mindful co-working spaces have a dedicated outdoor terrace to host events like corporate launches, intimate cocktails, or industry get-togethers.
- Events for the community. As an organization, a co-working space is part of a community. Community events help connect the space and your members to the local environs.
A genuinely great co-working space builds community, gets people talking, provides its members with a great co-working experience for productivity and growth.
Now that you have a clearer picture of what a great corporate co-working experience entails, your next best step is to get a real feel of the co-working space.