There are many great things about co-working spaces.
The fact that often they are close to home (and let’s face it the whole point is finding one close to home so you get rid of the commute), that you can just turn up and everything is there (coffee, wi-fi, printer and all the rest), their flexibility - monthly memberships, daily memberships - flexible opening hours too, the list goes on and on.
There is no denying the popularity of co-working, as a concept and as a reality - in 2000 as the decade began there were an estimated 21,000 people in co-working spaces. By 2018 that number had risen to over 1.6 million worldwide. In 2022 this number is estimated to reach 5.1 million. The growth over the past few years has been astronomical.
The future of co-working certainly looks bright. In London, considered by some of the world’s leading co-working centres, there were over 994,000 square metres of co-working space in 2019. Germany in the same year had 311 working spaces and the numbers continue to grow. The figures seem to suggest that the co-working revolution is here and here to stay.
What makes a co-working space work?
There are many factors contributing to the success of a co-working space. Many of these are factors that should be taken into consideration before the space is even planned.
Location is important - central locations are more popular, as are those that are more accessible and next to or along crucial public transport links.
Facilities and the vibe are also crucial - everything from great wi-fi to a fully stocked kitchen, and top of the range coffee machine. These are the basics of a great co-working space.
Management and customer service - how a co-working space is run is important. It needs to function well, accommodate as much as possible the needs of everyone who uses it, and have clear room booking policies and other important services.
Community. We saved the best, and the most important to last. Actually this is the essence of what makes a great co-working space and we are going to explain why.
Location, facilities, management while important to the success of a co-working space, are the basics. These should be found in any office, whether it is defined as a co-working or not.
What makes a co-working space so different and potentially so much better is its emphasis on community.
What does community look like in co-working?
First of all, anyone who enters a co-working space instantly becomes part of the community. While it is perfectly possible, and perfectly OK, to use a working space to work alone (many users are independents for example) the beauty of a co-working space is that it gives users the opportunity to work alone but still connect with others.
Interactions can happen anywhere - in shared spaces during breaks or over the coffee machine. They can also come when one member of the co-working community connects with another because they may be able to help each other professionally or even personally. Co-working spaces are hives of collaboration, even if it is just bouncing ideas off other members or connecting over coffee.
Co-working spaces designed with community in mind will be built to include physical spaces that allow for interaction and connection - from shared eating and working spaces, to terraces, gardens and sometimes even gyms as well.
Community can also be a more organized concept. Generally co-working spaces will have community managers, or someone in a similar role who is able to organize events, including networking and social events, to bring people together in the name of forming connections. It can be anything from a weekly yoga workshop to an important football match on the big screen, beers included.
Co-working spaces should be much more than just a space to work in. A space to work in is just an office. Co-working is meant to be different. It is meant to build and foster communities, both social and professional, and should be designed and managed to achieve that on a daily basis.
Many of our Vonder co-living spaces include great co-working facilities for our residents - allowing everyone to come together in the name of collaboration and productivity.