Why should entrepreneurs and startups give up offices, and freelancers from working in a cafe or at home? And why do more and more people in Russia and abroad prefer coworking?
This article will be useful to freelancers who are looking for a comfortable place to work. Small businesses and start-ups, large companies that are thinking about reorganizing work processes, and entrepreneurs.
We tell you why more and more people are moving to coworking, and what benefits you can personally derive from this.
Coworkings are located in steep areas where shops, coffee houses, bars and clubs are within walking distance. And coworking itself often hosts lectures, events, and thematic parties. But if everything is so wonderful in coworking, why do offices still exist, and many freelancers or solo entrepreneurs prefer to work in cafes or at home?
Coworking VS office: what is the difference?
Why pay for coworking if you can work all day at Starbucks or a budget coffee shop for the price of a cup of coffee? And even completely free - at home, in your favorite pajamas, without getting out of bed. This is what the freelancer’s dream usually looks like (of course, the second, after a fabulous picture of work under palm trees by the ocean). Coworking rent starts from 350 rubles per day. This price includes a full-fledged workplace, Internet, a relaxation area and a meeting room. The cheapest coffee at Starbucks - espresso - costs 120 rubles. But usually, visitors to a trendy coffee shop have cappuccino, flat white and latte in medium and large cups. During the working day, you can safely drink at least two cups. Total 530-600 rubles. It’s cheaper and more profitable to rent coworking and take away coffee at local establishments.
Coworking is much more comfortable than an office. You have completely different working conditions: freedom of movement, the ability to change the location. You can easily negotiate from a convenient point, you are not tied to the phone and workplace. As a rule, coworking is located in some interesting places, and if you are a freelancer, you can choose a place close to home. And it is much more convenient than a cafe. If we are talking about the company, as we have now, then we choose from the point of view of common interests. Here, for example, there is a swimming pool, you can sunbathe, drink coffee and read a book or article during the break, or even conduct skype negotiations on a sun lounger. Of course, you can also leave the office and take a walk on the street, but there is a certain working time regulation, which is not so strictly enforced in coworking. Especially if you are a freelancer.
In the end, there is nothing wrong with a clear work schedule, and many adhere to it even in home offices. But coworking is not an office or a house. It helps a person to remain free, but at the same time disciplines. As a result, the specialist is comfortable working, he is not confined to the office, but, at the same time, work and personal space, personal life and work are clearly separated.
Office work schedule
It is impossible to sit eight hours in the same room with one hour and a couple of fifteen-minute breaks. For productive work, a person needs to switch, change activities and relax. Only then does an employee concentrate on tasks as much as possible and manage to do more in a shorter period of time. It is precisely because of the tight office framework that many specialists are fleeing to freelance.
Work schedule at home
But at home, freelancers often stretch work all day. It would seem that this is the charm of freelance - to complete tasks at any maximum comfortable time. Work in the morning, go for a walk or go shopping, watch a movie, and return to the computer in the evening. But in the end, a free schedule is not so free.
Separation of work and personal spaces
Coworking divides personal and work spaces. Yes, the specialist works the same eight hours as in the office, but at any time he can be distracted, relax, change the table to a sofa or chaise lounge by the pool. No regulations and obligations. But at the same time, this is not a house where you have to constantly set yourself up for work and where there are a lot of temptations and distractions.
The house is a place where you can relax, rest, walk slowly in your favorite home clothes. The office is the place of work. Dress code, rhythm, tasks, responsibility, short business conversations. A completely different rhythm. Work from home, a home office is about a kind of merger, there are no clear boundaries. Well, if a separate office is reserved for work. And if there are no such opportunities? In life, we play many roles, put on different costumes that help identify our Person. Work in the office or coworking helps to clearly understand - I am now at work, I need to focus. At home, I can be in a relaxed state and not think about work, but be together with relatives and children. Less stress, nervousness - more fun.
Why should companies change offices to coworking?
There is a stereotype that only startups, freelancers and hipsters work in coworking. This is the second “Starbucks”, where people come to chat, attend events and work in the last turn. It is better for serious entrepreneurs there not to drop in and rent offices, where a truly working atmosphere reigns. But coworking is not so scary and give much more than a closed office. Large companies sometimes place entire project teams in coworking or transfer departments there.
Coworking is a huge educational and working space where events are constantly held. This gives employees the opportunity to develop in the profession and related fields, while saving the head from spending on third-party training and courses. And there is no obligation, because listening to an interesting lecture in a beautiful creative space with a cup of coffee is much more pleasant than spending half a day at a corporate seminar, which takes place in a strictly formal setting. It turns out that specialists are always aware of trends and new technologies in their field and can introduce them in a timely manner.
Harvard Business Review recently conducted a study and found that coworking boosts professional self-esteem. In offices, they don’t have to tell others about their projects, but in coworking everyone is interested in each other. And the more often you tell people about your work, the higher its significance in your eyes.
The standard story in offices is that people work together, communicate during lunch and breaks, set the table for birthdays, and occasionally meet in corporate settings. Communication and hanging out rarely go beyond the scope of work - the situation does not have. All sit in their places, isolated from each other, and rarely conduct joint brainstorming sessions. And if in the office each specialist separately deals with a separate part of the project, then in coworking everyone works together on tasks in a single space.
Lectures, an informal atmosphere, joint dinners in a cafe and walks are conducive to communication, people become friends who grow and develop together, they are comfortable working with each other.
Proximity to the leader
In the office, the manager often sits in a separate, closed office and rarely takes part in the affairs of employees. And if an entrepreneur has several projects, then he has to constantly travel in meetings or switch from office to office. Coworking unites everyone in one zone. The “boss-subordinate" border is erased, everyone works as a single team, exchange ideas, and consult with each other. It is easier for the head of the company to monitor the processes, indicators and successes of employees and to keep abreast of everything if necessary.
Quick start without major investments
Opening an office, you need to pay rent, buy furniture and office equipment, hire an office manager, security and a cleaner, connect the Internet and constantly replenish supplies of tea, coffee, paper and other little things. The Internet, by the way, often bites off a big chunk from the budget - business centers like to impose their operators with high price tags. So it is with repair, cleaning and other services. As a result, the entrepreneur has to invest heavily at the starting stage, when the company was just born and in itself requires a lot of cash investments.
Further, the company grows and expands the staff of employees who need jobs. And if the office is designed for 5 people, and now there are 10 employees, then the head needs to either move out or huddle in cramped quarters. To move means to lose time and money already invested in this room. And sitting on each other’s heads does not contribute to a productive and comfortable workflow.
And what about startups, who until the last do not know whether to shoot. All investments go to the development of the product, there is no money left for the removal of the office, and why?
It is much more profitable to rent a place in coworking, where everything is already included: from the Internet and coolers to cleaning and office manager. Just right for a new company or start-up, which with the same probability can take off, or close in a couple of months. You can completely immerse yourself in work; coworking takes care of all organizational aspects. At any time, you can expand or leave without losing money - a businessman does not hold anything.
New acquaintances and useful contacts for business
Coworking is a huge business community where new faces and projects appear every day. You can have lunch in the kitchen with your future partner, and over there with that girl in headphones on the couch three months later, start a cool joint project.
Work in a single space, joint dinners, trips for coffee and events will sooner or later flow into constant communication, friendship or partnership. A closed office does not provide such an opportunity, and there is not always time for business events. Sometimes you don’t even know about them for weeks without getting out of your working world. But in an informal atmosphere of coworking, people easily grow in contacts and connections.
Ability to contract and expand without loss
When renting an office, you cannot predict the growth of a company. As a result, you either rent a large area "for growth" and suffer losses, or constantly move, losing time and money.
Coworking in Russia and abroad
Some statistics. According to Coworking India Magazine, as of 2017, there are 13,800 coworkings in the world, in which 1,180,000 people work in total. In New York, a 16-story coworking area of 60,000 square meters is being built right now. m., designed for 4,000 residents. A third of the building is occupied by WeWork, which already operates in 16 countries and 48 cities of the world.
Coworking is only gaining popularity in Russia, but in the USA and Europe this is already a trend. Coworking in a Mexican mansion, agile office, co-living, combining living and working spaces, creative projects are slowly conquering the real estate market and the love of freelancers, startups and entrepreneurs. Life and work smoothly mix into one bright cocktail, full of new emotions, impressions, meetings and constant development.
If in offices people work from 9 to 18 and only after they go about their business, then in coworking life is in full swing. In the morning you hold meetings in the meeting room, more like a cozy living room, dine in the stylish cafe during the day without leaving the building, and work at the table by the window or in a bean bag chair, and in the evening you go to a lecture, a master class or a party.
Such a life, as the studies of American psychologists show, fully reflects the values of the generation of millennials - our generation - flexibility, freedom, independent determination of the work schedule, pleasure from work, a mixture of personal and professional life.
Millennials strive to launch their projects and sit down on their favorite work, leaving it headlong and getting high. In the morning, they immediately reach for the phone, at breakfast they look at the social media feed and read articles, and in the afternoon they juggle with task with enthusiasm, managing to keep up with everything at once. They are crowded in offices. Having achieved success in their field, they remain in coworking.
In the USA, business giants such as one of the world's largest audit firms KPMG, Silicon Valley Bank and Current, which sells energy systems, place teams in coworking.
Coworking is not a party for beginners, hipsters, freelancers and IT sociopaths, it is a comfortable environment where it is pleasant to work. Remember the huge multi-story loft from the movie Step Up 3D, where the dancers from the New York team lived and trained? Also a kind of creative coworking for enthusiastic people realizing the project of their dreams. In the USA and Europe, such a lifestyle and work is gaining popularity among young professionals and entrepreneurs.
In the United States and Europe, there are even interest-based coworking oriented to businesses in certain areas.
Thematic coworking in the USA and Europe
For example, Green Spaces in Denver, designed for charitable, social or environmental projects.
In Chicago, The Coop is preferred by designers, journalists, and students. There is a personal cook and thematic lectures and exhibitions are held.
RocketSpace is an elite business accelerator for IT startups in the coworking format.
English TechHub is another startup accelerator that works in partnership with Google, Adobe and ZenDesk. Coworking often hosts events where investors get to know projects.
In the USA and Europe, there are also separate coworkings for writers, designers, and women entrepreneurs. Plunging into the environment of like-minded people working in the same field, you are growing rapidly, immediately learn about new trends and mechanics in your industry and always own relevant information. To work among professionals and successful projects means always being one step ahead of colleagues who are closed at home or in offices and rarely allocate time for training and professional development.
Coworking is the office of the future
In 2017, there were already 223 coworking in Russia, and new ones are constantly opening. Large companies appreciated the charm of agile offices and creative workspaces, where motivated employees work with pleasure and develop. Coworking in different cities and countries is a great alternative to branches when scaling up and entering foreign markets. And a convenient way to bring a remote team scattered around the world to a single schedule and coordinated processes. We recommend that you try this format for large companies, start-ups, freelancers, startups and creative people. The rhythm of life will become more dynamic, the days will become brighter, more saturated with meetings, ideas and events, and work will be more productive. Many people dream of harmoniously combining work and personal life, achieving success in both areas, and coworking is a chance to finally find a balance.