Why CoWorking Works
We’ve just moved into a WeWork office in the London’s South Bank and almost immediately it is clear to see why people are raving about coworking.
We’ve got quite a large office on the top floor which probably isn’t traditionally what is thought of as coworking to be honest, but coworking has moved on. It used to be more of a one person option but is now becoming a viable solution for all types of small to medium sized companies too.
There are a variety of coworking office types from industry specific spaces like the Tileyard offices in Kings Cross, where the London music industry collaborates, to small spaces where you can hire adhoc desks.
From our first day at WeWork there were immediate advantages over our last office space. There's the superb free coffee, lovely fruit water, cool communal spaces, free beer and cider on tap (they’ve got Prosecco on tap in the US – now that’s really dangerous), biscuits, events every day, giveaways, offers, printers, all types of cool meeting and conference rooms where everything works (now that’s a first), music and more
But apart from that – what have coworking offices ever done for us?
In time, however, all of these exciting new things will probably become normal. So what are the long term benefits to coworking?
The Harvard Business Review have researched this and picked out three key benefits that are undoubtedly more important than shiny new toys (we’ve also got stickers, snacks, ping pong, table football, pens, paper, shredders, free brunches, mouthwash!)
1. Meaningful work
Instead of working in a company silo where one can often work with the same set of people, day in day out, there is huge opportunity to meet different people continually. It is highly likely that you’re going to spend a lot of time explaining what you do to new contacts at the coffee machine.
This will ultimately help develop your work persona as you think more deeply about what you do and start feeling really good about it.
2. Job Control
There are lots of options for how you work and where you work – even within the building. You can work from your office, communal areas, meeting rooms, private little phone booth/pod type rooms, the kitchen – the choice is really yours.
If you want to get away from your colleagues – you can. If you need peace and quiet – you can find it.
Many remote workers use coworking spaces instead of sitting at home because it gives a level of discipline and structure to the day that may be hard to achieve at home – so the best of both worlds potentially.
The idea of remote working often seems idyllic. You can sit there in your pyjamas, the commute is less than 30 seconds, you can talk to yourself with impunity and wallow in your favourite strange habits. The reality can often bite however and sometimes it is just lonely and at worse can be unproductive. The option to come in during the week to engage with people can be just what is needed sometimes especially to keep a level of sanity.
This is the predominant reason as to why coworking works on so many levels. Coworking space managers are tasked with creating a vibe and generally really go to town with it and as human beings tend to thrive when they’re part of something good this is what really makes it work.
But you don’t have to interact if you don’t want to – sometimes just knowing that you can is all that is needed to feel a sense of community.
Coworking encourages the sense of community where employees from different companies can easily work together and help each other out. They are great environments for initiating new ideas – thinking outside of the box – or as a minimum, at least thinking outside of your normal office and team environment. This often results in staff bringing their best energy and ideas to the office each day and feeling more committed to the company
WeWork has an app that helps facilitate the community vibe where we can find out who else works in the building, what they do, what they love and find out about all sorts of events happening in the office. We're really looking forward to finding new friends and hopefully helping them in return.
You could also look at coworking as being close in ideology to the Open Source movement where the software developer community works together for the greater good. This could be the start of the ‘open source way’ happening in other types of business too. Smaller companies collaborating for a common purpose – it sounds like a lovely idea. But let’s not discount the big companies here as even corporations are starting to use coworking spaces as ways to be more flexible - albeit more for individuals, projects or meetings rather than the masses.
You are part of a bigger social movement with a focus on collaboration, learning and sustainability. There are echoes of the hippy commune about it, but it feels much more practical now and a useful way of working for the future
Other bonus features
As someone who is a remote worker myself I am certainly looking forward to being part of something bigger again. One of the reasons I work remotely is because I have a dog – but our new coworking space welcomes her with open arms. I’ll see if my colleagues feel the same way when she tips all their bins over!
I’m also looking forward to being able to run MeetUps from the office where our last office didn’t have the communal space that we really needed. Working in this new way opens up our world to new possibilities and makes a multitude of issues simply disappear.
And most importantly - my colleagues are already working with new clients in the building that they’ve met using the app – oh happy coworking days!