A growing trend in the business sector is the use of shared office spaces, which are often more affordable and flexible than a traditional work environment. In keeping with the forward-looking philosophy of cooperative environments, these co-working spaces often take advantage of technologies to enhance the productivity and overall experience of the workers. Indeed, technology has a major role in enabling the co-working environment. Read on to learn about the benefits of co-working spaces.
In this article:
- What are co-working spaces and their benefits
- How technology is changing the workplace
- Technical needs and tools for co-working spaces
What Are Co-Working Spaces and Their Benefits?
A co-working space is an office sharing arrangement between multiple persons or companies. Freelancers and employees of different companies and startups can all work under the same roof without having a designated office. The workplace is shared with often completely unrelated businesses, unlike in a typical office.
The co-working environment is equipped with the technology needed to get the job done, and it may have equipment for recreational activities as well. Co-working spaces may also offer other amenities to establish a sense of community and encourage collaboration between their tenants.
There are many advantages for the users of a co-working space, whether they are self-employed or employees of a small business or a large organization. In addition to their reasonable cost, flexibility, and scalability, co-working spaces offer networking and community benefits, which can contribute to improved productivity and motivation.
Most of the companies, especially startups, prefer not to be tied up into a yearly office contract. Co-working space offers a flexible and adaptable solution where they can work, expand and grow.
Cost savings and flexibility are two advantages of co-working spaces, but there are other benefits that these collaborative workspaces deliver. These include:
- Meaningful work and better performance: Co-working spaces create an atmosphere that helps people feel they are doing meaningful work. It makes people find much more meaning in work. They find in the co-working space a supportive community and work environment, and a feeling of belonging to a modern and dynamic social movement. In co-working spaces, there is less competition or politics and more potential for mutual support, since everyone is working for different companies and projects. This sense of meaning and collaboration contributes to better performance.
- Enhanced communication: Co-working spaces usually contain a kitchenette, recreation areas, and display equipment, which can boost communication. The result is a stronger connection and communication among the co-working space members, improved problem-solving, and higher satisfaction.
- Advantageous locations: Even with advances in smart mobility staying close to clients and customers can be essential in certain industries. Many co-working spaces are based in central areas that put them in close proximity to clients and partners without paying high rental fees. It is possible to lease workspaces by unit and on demand in key locales, to minimize costs.
- Facilities and services: Some co-working spaces offer a full range of facilities and services that support its users in growing their business, and allow them to concentrate on their core business activities. These include reception and administrative assistance, printing, courier, tech support, fast and reliable internet connection.
- Partnering and networking benefits: In a typical co-working space there might be teams of freelance graphic designers, coders, marketing experts, and much more. These may end up making invaluable networking and connections with other businesses in the same co-working space.
- Cost and flexibility: Co-working spaces are relatively inexpensive to lease. They offer flexibility because there is no long-term lease commitment. It can be easily scaled up or down to the member's needs.
- A Professional Setting: A co-working office offers telecommuters and freelancers a professional, which is a better alternative to meeting with clients at home or in coffee shops.
How Technology Is Changing the Co-working Environment
Technological advances have driven the co-working movement and continue contributing to the global boom in co-working spaces. Mobile technologies, collaboration tools, and cloud services, make co-working easier, and more popular, than ever. These technological advances allow the modern workforce to be constantly flexible and agile.
Digitalization of workflows has made it possible for people to work from anywhere in the world. The option to travel the world and be able to continue working without compromising quality and performance appeals to many individuals and companies.
With access to a laptop and internet connection, it’s now possible to work from any location and at any time. This has led to a need for spaces that promote collaboration as well as functionality, providing employees with a variety of working environments for every kind of work mode.
With the co-working trend growing at an increasing rate, offices are striving to offer the newest and best technology to keep up with demand. The co-working environment is ever changing and becoming ever more appealing, all thanks to technology latest advances.
Technological Needs and Tools for Co-Working Spaces
Co-working space occupiers are not only seeking community, collaboration, and attractive services, but they may have strict IT and security requirements. The co-working space should be equipped with the technology to support all its occupants' needs, from individuals to corporate employees.
Connectivity is important as most user data is stored in the cloud and, without connectivity, productivity drops off completely. As a result, the most fundamental requirement for a co-working space is strong and high-performance internet access.
Organizations are cloud-based and employees need to access it easily and safely from wherever they choose to work. These organizations require fast and secure wireless Internet access with predictable speed and reliability. Large organizations typically have a remote, centralized IT function that has information security standards that must be met.
Security has always been a primary concern of co-working space operators using IT systems. It’s important to be able to separate different tenants within a site to ensure there’s no danger data leaking to the wrong person, and also to prevent the spread of viral infections that can seriously compromise all co-working space users. Insufficient security measures can expose personal and business information to the danger of being stolen, shared or misused.
In addition to the essential connectivity and security technologies, additional technologies which are implemented in co-working spaces:
- Automated Billing: Automated billing is one of the most vital technologies components to make a co-working space a success. It can save a lot of time spent monthly on billing customers. Co-working space operators implementing automated billing can have a higher margin and lower cost. For the convenience of the co-working space customers, digital payment systems are the solution. This would automatically take care of bookings, billing, and payments in the most convenient manner.
- Wi-Fi Optimization: A reliable and fast internet connection holds the co-working space together. It has to be at its peak all the time when it comes to speed, bandwidth, and security. Bandwidth management instrumental in co-working space internet connection. More and more bandwidth is being used all the time for streaming, downloading, programming, video conferencing, and more. The bandwidth of the co-working space should be optimal. The option of dedicated VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks) for the top tier members, should be considered. Every corner of the co-working space should have an optimal internet connection. There are solutions that provide full coverage across an entire floor of a building. Cybersecurity should never be compromised. Important and confidential information must be protected. The co-working space must be optimized to the needs of its members.
- Advanced building access: Providing seamless building access control is a basic technological need in co-working spaces to make sure only authorized people to enter the work premises. As the place is accessible to many people at all hours, an advanced building access security technology is essential for co-working space members convenience and security. Cloud-based building access system allows managing keyholders, monitor all activity on the premises and assign mobile keys from any device. This allows co-workers to use keyless access with their smartphones, wearables or key cards to open the building’s doors, and co-working space security personnel can manage access from anywhere in the world.
- Uninterrupted power supply: Co-working space members need an uninterrupted power supply to maintain the continuity of their work. Without electricity, the whole co-working space can come to a standstill with no running computers and servers. Thus, providing an uninterrupted power supply is probably the biggest prerequisite for co-working members. To avoid power outage, a powerful electricity generation system that comes to rescue in case of a power failure should be used.
- Conference room bookings: Conference rooms are a limited resource at co-working spaces. To manage and avoid any quarrels over inappropriate usage of a given conference room, a conference room booking system should be used. Conference room bookings system helps co-working space members find and book the right room for their needs at the right time, avoiding confusion and frustration of manual booking.
On top of providing people all they need to work, co-working spaces encourage creating a culture of community, sustainability, collaboration, and learning. These co-working spaces offer their tenants the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other creative workers under a single roof.
By sharing the space with others, employees and independents can also benefit from expensive technologies and services such as high-speed internet and separate meeting rooms, which they may not be able to afford otherwise. While the philosophy of sharing is the lynchpin of a co-working community, the success of this trend is down to the technological benefits that shared environments provide.