As coworking continues to gain popularity, people are wondering, well, what exactly is coworking? Although coworking is an Anglicism, the term is ubiquitous among Spanish professionals and entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, not everyone really knows what it entails.
Today, we’ll talk about the basics of a coworking space, including the type of services offered (some things to look for and what to avoid) and what types of people can benefit from this type of environment. We’ll also review some frequently asked questions.
Don’t know if a coworking space is right for you? Fortunately, Cloudworks is here to explain everything you need to know.
What is coworking?
According to a piece published by Network World, a publication specializing in business administration, coworking is a “movement” or “philosophy” based on four fundamental pillars: collaboration, openness, community, and sustainability.
Generally speaking, coworking is when people meet in a neutral space to work independently, or in groups, on different projects and tasks. This differs from a typical office because people in a coworking environment generally do not work for the same company, though occasionally coworkers may collaborate and offer each other feedback.
The term coworking was first coined in 2006 when Brad Neuer, an engineer and software developer, created what is widely considered the first coworking space called “Hat Factory”. This coworking venue is located in San Francisco and now operates under the name “Citizen Space”.
People working in coworking spaces are known as coworkers. Unlike typical coworkers, which has historically been a term that refers to “colleagues working for the same company in a shared office”, a coworker here is a fundamental part of any collaborative workspace. In this new sense, a coworker’s role is to enrich the experience and projects of other members of a coworking space by sharing connections, exchanging ideas, and otherwise synergizing and collaborating.
Coworking today: the future has arrived
Over the past 15 years, the term coworking has become increasingly common, as have the businesses that provide this form of collaborative space. There are now approximately 13,000 coworking spaces worldwide. Germany, the United States, and Spain are among the countries with the largest number of coworking offices.
Inspired by major companies in the United States, coworking spaces are appearing more frequently in cities like Madrid and Barcelona. These venues are sure to attract more freelancers, contractors, and SMEs as they continue to become widely accepted as the ideal environment for corporate and business dealings.
Currently, coworking offices serve all kinds of clientele, from freelancers to big names like Pepsico. This is because the coworking industry is constantly evolving. You can even find coworking spaces in airports where they provide effective solutions for today’s professionals and entrepreneurs.
Who is coworking for?
A good coworking space has facilities suitable for all types of users. These offices can accommodate a diverse range of professionals and companies of all sizes. Common coworking clients include:
- SMEs: Small businesses, who do not want the same expenses that accompany a traditional office lease, have transitioned en masse to coworking spaces. Since coworking spaces are free from setup fees and typical office costs, and because they offer all of the features a company needs for day-to-day operations, it's no wonder small businesses now make up a majority of coworking users.
- Large enterprises: Even multinational companies like Nike have partnered with coworking venues to meet their workspace needs. When you have thousands of employees working in different countries, establishing centralized offices can be a major challenge. These transnational organizations take advantage of coworking sites to setup personalized spaces for their employees around the world.
- Nonprofit organizations: Many coworking spaces offer special arrangements or discounts to non-profit entities. As such, it’s no suprise that many of these organizations rely on coworking spaces.
- Freelancers: Coworking spaces create the best of both worlds for freelancers — the flexibility of contact-free office space combined with an environment designed to foster creativity.
- Startups: New companies appreciate the flexibility of coworking spaces. That’s because they don’t involve the same costs and commitments that a traditional office requires. Coworking also provides opportunities for networking and for small teams to collaborate.
How does it work?
To figure out how coworking operates, the most important thing to understand is that its methodology is based on several different paradigms. Most coworking companies, for instance, place flexibility at the core of their company ideology. This means that coworking spaces can generally be used by anyone, including professionals, students, and entrepreneurs who just need a place to work on their laptops.
Similarly, coworking spaces can give you access to meeting rooms, private or shared offices, and more. This model is often adapted to the needs of particular clients. In some cases, the exclusive use of particular spaces is possible, which is ideal for larger companies.
Pros and cons of coworking
To help you decide if a coworking office is right for you, here are the advantages and disadvantages of coworking spaces. Read carefully so you can make an informed choice:
- Motivation — an office full of striving workers generates an inspiring atmosphere and increased productivity. Being surrounded by people with interesting goals and ambitions also results in enhanced performance.
- A collaborative community that will help you grow by enabling you to connect with people who can give you feedback on your work.
- Versatile membership programs ensure that there is a package that meets your requirements and doesn’t require you to sign a long-term lease.
- A sense of community — being around other people is good for your spirit. It helps you to stay alert and boosts creativity. Unlike working from home, in a coworking space, you’ll find an area designed to offer comfort while also raising productivity.
- Privacy: You can also have your own space if you need to concentrate on the task at hand.
- One negative is a potential lack of niche tech equipment, hardware, and advanced software to maintain the security and privacy of your work.
- Lack of privacy may compromise your client relationships if good care isn’t taken.
How to create a coworking space?
To put together a coworking space, the first thing to know is that these facilities are not just “shared offices”. To create a true coworking space you need the following:
- An intelligent design of the workspace, which includes everything needed to perform key tasks (meeting rooms, fully equipped common areas, furniture, etc.).
- A good policy of coexistence and respect.
- A manager or expert coworker that encourages connection between clients.
- A variable pricing structure that fits different customer profiles and needs.
- Freedom of access and security measures.
- Dynamic initiatives that enrich the experience.
- Constantly evolution and adaption to new trends and needs.
Services offered by a coworking space
The best coworking spaces typically offer the following services:
- Fully equipped workplaces.
- Depending on the membership, some offer storage spaces, materials, or office supplies.
- Secure high-speed internet throughout the area. This can be both wireless or wired.
- Printing and photocopying.
- Coffee and tea.
- Corporate events or entertainment for members.
- Common areas, such as fully equipped kitchens, meeting rooms, and indoor/outdoor eating or mingling spaces.
- An address at which businesses and freelancers can register publicly or for fiscal, tax, and adminstrative purposes.
- Audiovisual systems for presentations.
- Air conditioning and heating systems.
Coworking prices vary depending on many different factors. These could include location, the dimensions of the space, the needs of the customer, length of use, and what services are included.
In cities like San Francisco, coworking memberships can cost up to $700 per month. At coworking offices in Madrid or Barcelona, prices vary widely based on the factors mentioned above.
Cloudworks — your perfect coworking space
Cloudworks has all the essential ingredients required to bring you a premier collaborative workspace. We have coworking locations in Madrid and Barcelona that are waiting to help you develop your potential.
At your disposal, we have meeting rooms, outdoor areas, private offices, and fully-equipped conference rooms. Contact us now to make your reservation.