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November 08, 2016

What makes a great co-working space?

Co-working is the popular name given to describe a style of work adopted by small businesses, solo-entrepreneurs and those wanting to work individually in a shared environment. Yes, co-working predominantly takes place in an office but unlike your typical office environment, those working in the same space are not employed by the same company.

Co-working has evolved alongside working trends. Traditional office spaces and the standard 9-5 working lifestyle has been replaced by flexi-working, round the clock hours, hot desks, drop-in zones for collaboration and socialising and breakout areas.

In this blog we will discuss the benefits of co-working and what features of office design make a great co-working space.

Collaboration is key

You may be forgiven for thinking that co-working spaces comprise of a soulless environment where strangers are forced to work alongside one another. However a good co-working space is one that is open and energetic and that can facilitate an exchange of ideas.

Collaborating and communicating while expressing individual work problems could be far more productive in a co-working space than in a traditional office. For example, an individual working for a creative agency could be struggling with a financial aspect. What if he were to be sitting alongside an accountant? Bingo! Co-working spaces promote an “economy of exchange” – the notion that those that we surround ourselves with already have the answer to the problem we are struggling to solve. All it takes is a bit of communication and confidence to ask.

The benefits

Co-working doesn’t necessarily have to take place in edgy coffee shops or chic breakout zones. A bog-standard (or traditional) office will do. Co-working can help spark creativity, nurture talent, promote collaboration and knowledge exchange as well as promote a stronger working ethic through working together.

At Workspace Design and Build we recognise the importance of a co-working ethos and here are a few simple things that you can do as part of an office refurbishment to incorporate this:

• Play around with your office layout – While this may take a bit of time, we suggest that you try a few different table layouts to see which suit your office culture best and for different situations. When experimenting with table and office layout designs ensure that all employees are given the freedom to voice their own opinion. Not only will you find a solution that will be productive to everyone, but your employees will feel engaged, valued and this will ultimately contribute to wellbeing within the workplace.

• Multi-purpose furniture – You can tailor office space it to best suit you and your staff. Your meeting room for example can double up as a breakout zone or a free zone that can be filled with sofas or even beanbags for more creative collaboration meetings. Take a look at our other blog about office space and all that you need to know.

• Keep it flexible – Different people inhabit co-working spaces across a variety of industries. Workers from Generations X, Y and Z are working together and it’s important to be aware that people work differently and work best in different conditions. To ensure productive co-working, office space must be flexible. This way, workers can spontaneously interact or work alone as best suits them. At Workspace Design and Build we recognise the importance of this so that workers don’t feel constrained by their workspace, but inspired.

And you?

What do you think? Do you think that co-working spaces are the way forward or do you think that most organisations should promote a traditional working culture? We love to hear from you.

And if you’re considering an office fit-out and have any questions get in touch by our website or alternatively fire us a tweet.