Co-working spaces are becoming increasingly popular as start-ups look for adaptable working spaces without fixed-term rental contracts, and freelancers join forces with other freelancers to collaborate on joint projects or just work in the company of others. Digital nomads of the world unite in fun work environments.
So what is a co-working space? A co-working space is typically a large room or set of rooms with office supplies available that you can use as a freelancer or as a small business to make the employees more productive, usually for a fee, sometimes for a pre-specified length of time, and sometimes indefinitely.
They will typically have clusters of tables and chairs, separate meeting rooms for hire or to record a cellphone call, WiFi, and depending on the level of specialization or luxury, specialist equipment and restaurants or cafes. They’re often customizable to suit your basic needs. Some even come with yoga and work-out rooms and showers.
They’re popular with start-ups because they’re more affordable and practical than renting out a permanent office. Freelancers like to use them to have some work/home separation. They’re also a great space for things like cross functional collaboration, and many will also include a receptionist and parcel-collection service.
3 Benefits of Co-Working Spaces
There are so many benefits to coworking spaces, and we will highlight our three favorites here:
- You can always see when your next-computer-over colleagues are browsing cat videos or even their call log history on their cellphones
- The expectation to make tea for everyone in your vicinity every time you want a cup gradually turns you into a better person.
- It’s more fun to prank your colleagues if you can see their reactions. You can also easily ask your colleagues how to transfer calls to another phone if you’re having a hard time doing it.
Just kidding! Here are some serious advantages:
- They’re less lonely and promote team spirit and a collaborative atmosphere. It’s much nicer when you can see your colleagues (most of the time), and it’s a lot easier to collaborate with people who are right next to you than miles away (or even two offices away).
- They make it easier to mentor and train people about itv cac, and are also a space where networking can flourish rather than flounder.
- They can be more affordable than offices, which is great in general, but also means that budgets can be freed up to spend on useful software and training programs (or whatever your team might need–multicolor pens, anyone?).
8 Types of Co-Working Space
There are 4,698 coworking spaces in North America alone, and it’s a growing business, so you have your pick when it comes to finding a space that suits your needs. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of some co-working space styles.
1. Conventional Co-Working Space
Conventional co-working spaces are pretty much your run-of-the-mill, clustered tables and chairs in a big open space type of deal. Think library-style layout but without the hushed voices and all the books. Throw in a water fountain and WiFi for good measure. There may or may not be a cafe in the building.
This tends to be a low-cost, open-layout option suitable for a variety of different purposes and individuals and teams alike. Tends more towards the casual side. Think BuzzFeed-style offices but open to the public.
2. Specialized Co-Working Space
Specialized co-working spaces are pretty self-explanatory. They exist to serve niche customer needs by offering the likes of larger workstation areas, specialized R&D zones, better meeting room facilities, and more. An architecture start-up’s needs will be vastly different to the needs of a marketing agency, or the needs of a graphic artist collective, and there are co-working spaces specifically geared towards these differing needs.
You can even get co-working spaces that include chemistry and biology laboratories, if that’s your area of expertise. The sky is really the limit with the kinds of co-working spaces out there.
3. Fancy Co-Working Space
The first thing that springs to mind when someone says the word “fancy” is cheese fountain. Do Google’s co-working spaces have ping-pong tables? Fancy co-working spaces can include all kinds of awesome things. A restaurant on site, an atmosphere of sophistication and genius ideas. A recreational hub that probably does have a ping-pong table. Probably not the cheese fountains, but the restaurant might supply some fancy organic blue cheese from a tiny village in the Dordogne in France.
You want modern, sleek, fancy furniture with an industrial vibe? Fancy co-working spaces probably got it! They probably have artisanal water from Austrian anhöhen, hand-filtered by Heidi and her brother. You want fancy? They got fancy.
4. Corporate Co-Working Space
When you think of corporate co-working spaces, those gray 80s partition walls that double as pinboards and fluorescent overhead lighting may spring to mind (think of the classic film Office Space, or that bit in The Matrix before Neo becomes cool). These are most certainly frill-free. They offer a sense of privacy at minimal cost, but the boss can still sneak up on you and take you by surprise when you’re having a Solitaire break (or whatever it is kids use to procrastinate these days–Wordle? Absurdle?).
This layout is unpretentious. You won’t be distracted by any fancy colors. An underwatered spider plant probably lurks somewhere in the corner, as well as a sad cactus. The water fountain is probably the most exciting thing about this place!
Kidding aside, this is the color beige of the office world. Simple, unpretentious, functional. The plain cheese sandwich of work life. Walls can often be moved around to suit the layout that you want, and there are usually a couple of private offices you can use for meetings. They will normally have a clean, corporate vibe.
5. Open Co-Working Space
The open co-working space is one unhindered by movable walls and other obstacles which separate the space into different sections. Instead, you get to enjoy sweeping views of a gorgeous hub of activity and ingenuity. While some people might prefer visual privacy, others thrive more in this open environment. Great ideas and inspiration can thrive in an open co-working space. It completely depends on your personality.
6. Minimal Co-Working Space
The minimal co-working space is the Stealth Zen of productive work spaces. Think clutter-free, minimalist desks and chairs, and of course WiFi. They’re sleek like the Jedi outfits in the new Star Wars movies, offering no distractions to help your creativity flourish in this blank canvas space.
Some people like having ambiance and a lively energy around them, but if you prefer a quiet energy with little-to-no external stimulation, because your ideas are loud and colorful enough already, then the minimal co-working space might be your temple.
7. Incubator Co-Working Space
Incubator Co-Working spaces specialize in providing mentorship, advice, and resources to help startups succeed. You can sometimes find them at universities, providing users with research opportunities and access to specialist equipment.
Their purpose is to take a startup and help it grow. Classic incubators are available to a startup for a limited amount of time, but co-working spaces don’t usually impose a deadline and are also open to others, such as freelancers, to share the space.
8. Informal Co-Working Space
Ah, the innovative coffee shop workspace. Because there’s nothing that baristas love more than a Laptop Lucas hogging the prime seat of their teeny tiny cafe and ordering just one cup of coffee for their 4-hour stay (free refills included of course!).
Passive aggressive intro aside, there are many dedicated cafes that are totally geared to this crowd of Remote-Work-Rhondas, with charging stations generously placed around tables, ample seating space and non-judgemental baristas, as well as surprisingly satisfactory WiFi! Though you can always tether to your phone.
You can recognise these cafes from afar because their windows are filled with rows of laptops and sleep-deprived entrepreneurial faces. In the same genre you can find hotel lobbies, public libraries and cantines! The world is your Chrome-friendly oyster.
The main point to take from this entire article is that business acumen has zero limits! You can set up shop anywhere in the world, pull out your laptop and produce high-quality work. You can do this at a cafe, a hotel lobby, a library… though there are some pretty glamorous options out there for coworking, so whatever floats your boat. A boat… floating coworking spaces! Someone should invest in that idea.
Co-working spaces are likely to become more popular as the hybrid work model expands, and the great news is that there are tons of co-working space options to choose from.