Where do freelancers go when they need to get down to business? Many work from home. Some hop between coffee shops. Others put down roots in a new kind of shared office called a “coworking space.” Instead of housing a single corporation, coworking spaces open their doors to multiple businesses or independent contractors, and they’re becoming more common by the minute. Why are so many people tearing down the office wall and putting up glass office dividers? Take the time to learn a bit more about these 21st Century workspaces.
Why All the Rage for Coworking Spaces?
In the past few years, we’ve seen the rise of the gig (or freelance) economy, in which short-term contracts and remote work become more popular. In other words, businesses are hiring more independent contractors and fCd. Intuit CEO Brad Smith told CNN Money that 34 percent of the workforce already works in the gig economy, and that could reach 43 percent by 2020.
Combine that with the fact that the collaboration-loving millennial generation is taking over the workforce, and it’s no wonder coworking spaces have become so popular. Indeed, we’ve seen a boom in the number of offices that accommodate more than one business. From little more than a dozen known coworking spaces in 2007 to more than 11,000 in 2017, it has become one of the fastest-growing trends in modern office design.
That being said, whether coworking spaces are a brilliant idea or a terrible idea depends on who you are, what you do, and how you work. Freelancers love them because they offer the structure of a regular office and the benefits of a communal workspace without them having to get a regular job.
Many entrepreneurs prefer coworking spaces because they’re less expensive than traditional offices and require less commitment and responsibility. In other words, they come with no long-term contracts or the obligation to hire a cleaning staff. By renting out part of an office, a startup can get many of the perks of a bona fide office, without some of the most prohibitive drawbacks.
How to Design the Perfect Coworking Space
Coworking spaces present unique design challenges. How do you create an office space that works for such a diverse set of people? Here are a few tips:
- Open Space: One of the reasons people love coworking spaces is because they want to be part of something bigger. They want to work in an office with other people, and the design should reflect that. Allowing for plenty of open space also gives employees of a single business the opportunity to work together while encouraging innovation, collaboration and a sense of “buzz” going on to boost morale. When it comes to design, think shared tables, couches, large comfy chairs, and glass office divider walls instead of solid walls.
- Kitchen: So much of the socialization that happens at work takes place around the water cooler, or coffee pot, or fridge. Include a kitchen in your office design, particularly since workers can gather with others without interrupting the flow of their work.
- Separate Workspaces: Coworking spaces that serve multiple businesses might consider erecting glass office partition panels between different areas. That’s a great way to give different businesses their own workspaces without cutting them off from each other.
- Private Offices: Openness is fine, but sometimes you need a little privacy, particularly in shared offices where renters often belong to different businesses. Glass doors and office wall dividers are preferable in those cases.
- Conference Rooms: You should include at least one conference room so employees can meet with each other or so people in cross functional teams can brain storm or meet with visitors. Although renters typically have to pay a premium to access perks like private offices and conference rooms, they’re important features in any coworking space.
- Keyless Entry: Modern keyless entry systems allow tenants to input a code, scan a pass card, or even use their smartphones to gain access to interior offices. In other words, it’s both secure and convenient.
Looking for more design ideas? Need solutions for your workspace? Stay tuned to our blog and then give us a call at 888-869-1850 when you’re ready to talk quotes, purchasing, and installation!