What is a coworking space?
As self-explanatory as the phrase is, a co-working office space refers to sharing office space, and is a viable alternative to conventional, serviced or home offices for independently working individuals or small business owners. A co-working space offers office environment for such people where they can work collaboratively in a shared area.
Some businesses might opt for such spaces to provide their staff with equipment, space and services, difficult for them to afford otherwise. At times, larger and more established enterprises go for a co-working office space if they have more than usual number of employees working at a certain time. In such cases, these businesses need to maintain required number of memberships with co-working space providers.
Co-working space owners provide a work environment and generally, office equipment and services characteristic of a typical workplace. The features of such an office space typically include the following:
- Shared space to work
- 24/7 access to work place
- Conference and board rooms that can be reserved or rented on need basis
- Shared printing, copying, faxing and/or scanning facilities
- PBX equipment
- Common kitchens, restrooms and/or lounges
Normally, the lessees have to shell out flat-rate membership fees; the fee structure is either based on number of visits on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis or per single visit. Rates are generally all-inclusive, providing complete access to all office areas, and helping them focus on the most important aspect of business, growth.
Co-working facilities offer a variety of options suitable to individual needs. For instance, certain co-working space providers offer access to multiple locations for ease of members. Generally, there is no deposit that you need to pay and no concept of minimum stay period.
UK has recently seen a massive growth in the number of co-working office spaces, with their prominent presence in all the big cities like London, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham. Among these, London has become a hub of co-working spaces, not only in terms of large number of such spaces it offers, but also for the variety of services these offer to cater to different needs.
London houses around 20 co-working office spaces across the city in areas including Westminster, Soho, and North and East London. Apart from fundamental services such as a work-desk and a chair, various facilities like storage, stationery, meeting areas, cafÃ© and lounge areas, fitness and sports centre, library access, flexibility in contracts, and mailing addresses are offered too.
One of the largest and trendiest co-working office space opened in London about a year ago, is the Google Campus. It consists of seven floors of office space for freelancers and new companies, built right at the heart of the Tech City in East of London. It offers a gamut of services in a hip working environment that boasts of modern digital features such as a garden with plants that tweet about their water needs.
The growth in the number of such co-working spaces has been fostered primarily due to a rising number of online start-up firms and freelancers, who require office space and services to expand their business without paying massive amounts in rent and bearing other expenses needed to set up a conventional office.
The key idea behind offering co-working spaces is not only to aid start-up ventures to grow, but also to bring professionals working from home together, and build an intellectual community that can share ideas and knowledge, and in turn grow together. Also, small businesses can enjoy all the facilities of an actual office space without owning one.