Connecting People: Why Coworking Spaces Appeal to Modern Workers
The days of cubicles are numbered. They’re quickly being replaced by a more modern floor plan — the coworking space.
You’ve probably heard about the rise of coworking spaces. Perhaps you harbor a fondness for them. Those of you who think coworking spaces are nothing more than a flashy, overrated fad, think again. These open work environments have benefits that transcend their perceived cool factor.
Why Coworking Spaces Attract Talent
There’s no denying that coworking spaces are trendy, especially among 20- and 30-somethings. Coworking spaces are appearing more and more frequently in pop culture, especially TV shows and movies about young professionals. With up to 39 percent of young adults choosing their careers based on TV inspiration, it’s no wonder so many millennials and Gen. Z-ers have a soft spot for coworking spaces.
However, the real reason why coworking spaces capture candidates’ attention is much deeper. A research team at the University of Michigan’s Steven M. Ross School of Business has spent years studying the psychology of coworking spaces. According to the team’s research, the appeal of coworking spaces can be boiled down to three key factors: flexibility, autonomy, and connection to a meaningful community.
These conditions are often missing in traditional work spaces, in which workers have to abide by the limitations of rigid corporate cultures. Coworking spaces, on the other hand, offer workers more options for how and where they’d like to work. This allows employees to operate in environments most conducive to their productivity.
While critics may see coworking spaces as little more than a way for powerful companies to cut costs further, the fact is many workers have thoroughly embraced these alternative work arrangements. At this point, coworking spaces are positively mainstream. Consider the numbers, according to Allwork.Space:
- There are roughly 35,000 flexible workspaces in the world, totaling 521 million square feet of coworking space.
- Between 2014 and 2018, the number of coworking spaces expanded by 205 percent.
- In 2018, flexible workspaces accounted for more than 66 percent of US office market occupancy gains.
Companies of all sizes are adopting coworking spaces for reasons far beyond cost-cutting. These spaces bring real, people-focused benefits, which in turn help to attract and retain high-performing talent. See for yourself:
The employees of companies that operate in coworking spaces rub shoulders with each other. This creates opportunities for companies with complementary skills, products, and services to network and collaborate with one another. The shared environment also creates greater brand awareness, not only among other companies in the space, but also among the clients of those companies who may need your organization’s services.
Remote workers often struggle to feel connected to their in-office counterparts. However, if the company puts remote workers in coworking spaces, these telecommuters will feel less isolated. They’ll have access to a community of fellow workers, and they’ll also appreciate the way their employer considers and caters to their needs.
For fully distributed companies, the lack of a dedicated office space may lead to a loss of credibility in the eyes of potential clients. The best option for these companies may be to book meeting rooms in coworking spaces for important conversations and strategy sync-ups. A coworking space provides a physical location for clients to visit, bolstering the brand’s image and giving clients reason to trust the company’s professionalism.
4. Better Health and Wellness
Social interaction is a necessary component of good health, both physically and mentally. In coworking spaces, socializing with various types of people is the norm. Many coworking spaces also offer additional wellness amenities, such as on-site yoga studios, fresh fruit and healthy snacks, and more. This allows a company to support its employees’ health and well-being without breaking the bank.
Many talented workers don’t have the resources or circumstances to work in dedicated office spaces on a regular basis. With a coworking space, these workers can have slip in and out as needed. There is always a place for them if needed, and some coworking space operators even offer no-commitment plans. That way, the organization only needs to pay for the amount of time the employee actually uses the space.
Whether by choice or through the pressure of market forces, there’s a strong likelihood your organization will someday need to leverage coworking spaces in some way. Embrace that reality — many of your employees certainly will.
In fact, instead of waiting until you are forced to adapt to coworking, try experimenting with it now. You may just find it is the secret to capturing the hearts and minds of modern employees.
Kara Tee is a communication outreach specialist for The Professional Centre.