Having spent many years working as a freelancer, I have spent countless hours working (or relaxing) in co-working spaces. Usually, the purpose of a co-working space is to provide an affordable, relaxing and productive working environment, without the constraints of working under an organisation’s specific culture. However, this can vary between spaces and territories, as well as the ability of the company to instill rules. Here are a list of what is generally expected of a co-working space.
It is affordable
The reason why many startups and small businesses choose to work from coworking spaces is simple – they are cheaper than leasing an office. Many spaces are located within cities where the price of office spaces can be a high barrier to entry, and therefore alternatives must be found. While renting a room within a coworking space may still be expensive on the surface, consider that everything will be ready to go from day one. You won’t need to worry about setting up the internet or buying furniture as these will already be included, and you will usually have a kitchen and toilets provided.
Customers who use coworking spaces casually, such as freelancers or those wanting to use meeting rooms would also expect reasonable prices for hourly or daily rates, which would include most, if not all, the amenities enjoyed by those renting long term.
Modern technology and furnishings
The concept of co-working spaces is relatively new and therefore most of the spaces are modern and practical, designed and built within the past decade. Hence, users expect these spaces to be fitted to modern standards by having stylish furniture and fittings as well as super fast internet. Being able to book meeting rooms should be possible through a room booking system, without requiring human contact. Many offices have an online app that allows for this, so meeting rooms can be booked and paid for purely online.
Many workers run on hot drinks, so it is no surprise to see spaces offering unlimited tea and coffee for their customers. The cost of this is minimal in comparison to how much is spent by the customers, and they know this. Spaces that aren’t willing to invest in such small things that make a big difference in the eyes of their users, have a lot to learn.
Gone are the days of the office image being purely rows and rows of cubicles; nowadays open working areas are just as likely to be found in any office space as these cubicles. Open areas are purposefully designed to foster a more community style environment and to encourage networking and, as the name of these spaces suggest, coworking. For example, a startup based in the coworking space may require a website to be built or their product to be marketed, and what better place to begin searching than within the space itself. Open areas increase the inclination to talk to others and this could organically lead to partnerships.