It’s a much-mentioned comment, “Get a coworking space to get you off the ground (i.e. before you need a ‘proper’ office)”. When I set Collabor8te up 3 years ago, I didn’t see it that way and I still don’t.
As a small business owner, my view has always been that collaborating with others is far more powerful than standing alone so it makes absolute sense to me to share space with other businesses.
With a changing world in terms of technology, remote working and the shared economy model, coworking has evolved and new operators have entered the market to broaden the availability and type of workspaces available.
So, who can benefit?
Home-based Businesses (no matter how long trading)
That’s a lot of existing companies who are (often) currently working from home, coffee shops and hotel lobbies. 76% of all businesses in the UK are one-person operations and 99.3% fail into the SME category.
Other than the obvious cost savings to be made and much less commitment by not needing to sign into a lease contract, coworking provides a valuable solution to many of the challenges that home business owners have, such as isolation, lack of productivity, meeting new contacts through networking and having a professional address and place to meet clients.
We have several members at Collabor8te who work away from their company’s hub. Whether that is in London, Edinburgh, Australia or Israel, they are often the only member of their team to be working in Glasgow. Many times, they have only just arrived in the city so don’t have much in the way of a community to connect into.
Joining Collabor8te provides them instant and friendly office colleagues, and a comfortable and well-equipped space to work out of, with high-speed internet and ergonomic chairs. Sometimes that’s just a day a week to provide an alternative environment to home and people to chat to other than the cat!
Many companies have peaks and troughs in their business year, where they may need to recruit more staff on a temporary basis for a few months. Ensuring that there’s enough space in the Main Office can be a challenge as that usually means paying over the odds for a larger workspace than is needed the rest of the year.
Because there’s no minimum term contract at Collabor8te, several businesses have used the space to cover these ‘overflow’ periods. It’s good for the employees as an alternative to home-working or being squeezed in to the office and good for members too to meet people from larger organisations who have a different outlook on work.
While started this blog with a ‘not for start-ups’ headline, this was more to attract attention to the fact that by no means are coworking just for start-ups. Of course when you’re starting out, keeping your costs to a minimum is usually pretty key to surviving. You’re also on a steep learning curve so being surrounded by more established business-owners means you have expert advisors on-tap, literally sitting next to you!
The dynamics at Collabor8te of the combination of all these types of workers creates a fantastic atmosphere. It really doesn’t matter what kind of business you have or are part of, how long you’ve been up and running or have been in a particular role. If you’re open to the idea to being part of a business community, sharing your physical space as well as knowledge, I honestly believe the benefits of a coworking space far outweigh the traditional small cube office for 1-4 people. Commercially beyond that makes sense to look to moving into an office for the team to share and even then, I’d suggest that this is better as part of a larger community also providing coworking.
We’re running some Open Days at Collabor8te throughout January and February. For details and to book, visit: http://collabor8te.spaces.nexudus.com/en/events