Coworking spaces are becoming the go-to office for more and more people. Whether you’re a freelancer, remote employee, startup or ASX listed company looking for a satellite office, coworking spaces may be the solution you didn’t know you needed. However, as with any major shift in business culture, there are plenty of myths surrounding this growing industry. Let’s break down the top 5 myths about coworking in this article…

1. Coworking is just for startups

Coworking spaces aren’t just for startups. They can be used by businesses at any stage of growth, from small to large, in B2B or B2C. Coworking is also perfect for freelancers who want to find like-minded people as well as work in a professional environment. And remote workers can use coworking spaces for meetings or even temporarily set up their offices there (more on that below).
In short: anyone who wants to grow their business, be productive and socialise with other professionals should look into coworking or flexible office space as their first option.

2. You Can’t Work in a Coworking Space

You can work from a coworking space. You need to be flexible and willing to adapt to something other than your own completely private office. This brings with it an additional benefit of being around other businesses, networking within your space and even finding services that your business requires right from your own ‘office’. Coworking spaces are no longer the domain of freelancers, they are professional spaces adept at managing different needs and a diverse range of businesses.

Coworking spaces provide all sorts of different areas to work in.⁠ Whether you like some low level noise, completely private silence or some general chatter and action during the day, there is a space for you!⁠ It really all comes down to your definition of what is distracting and what is not in a working environment. Some studies have shown that working in a buzzy, coworking community can actually help boost productivity and promote good business practices. ⁠The reasons quoted are that coworkers have a large business and social network that allows for more creative discussions and collaborative work.⁠

But there’s always a quiet desk, corner or private phone booth available when you just need to be on your own!

3. It’s Not Really Cheaper

One of the main benefits that businesses can expect from using a coworking space is lower capex. Your capital expenditure and outlay is massively diminished when you choose to use a coworking or flexible office. Utilities such as gas, electricity, internet and cleaning is included. Most coworking spaces have printers available for use as well as kitchens, refreshments incl. tea and coffee, meeting rooms, AV equipment and reception staff. Your mail is handled for you and you have a business address to use. Most importantly you can walk in, sit down and start working!

Different membership levels in coworking spaces are designed to suit different businesses. For example, if you work from home and need a space to meet clients or co-workers in person on occasion (like a lawyer would), there are casual options to suit you. If you are a large company and need professional space for a team to access 24/7, there’s a place for you too. It all depends on what kind of work environment suits YOU best.

4. It’s Just People Using Laptops

Coworking spaces are not just for laptops. It’s true that many people do use them as mobile offices, but that’s only one of the many types of people who use coworking spaces. Coworkers range from freelancers to small startups and even larger companies with satellite offices in other cities or countries. Coworking spaces are also used for networking events, meetups, workshops, educational classes and more! Many coworking space users will have permanent spaces where they set up their desks with their computers plus monitors, stand up desks, personal effects and more.

5. Coworking spaces are all the same.

You might also think that all coworking spaces are the same. And you’d be wrong! Coworking spaces are used by businesses of all sizes, from large corporations to small businesses and startups. Additionally, coworking is not just for freelancers or people who work from home. In fact, many people who join a coworking space are those who have full-time employment elsewhere but want to escape the 9–5 mentality and work somewhere more inspiring or productive than their office cubicle. It’s also important to note that coworking isn’t just for those who like coffee shops—coworkers have access to shared resources such as printers and high-speed internet in addition to espresso machines and kitchen facilities. Coworking spaces vary widely from place to place. So, if you find that one isn’t to your taste, just try another! Explore the different levels of social interaction, privacy, community and so on. They can vary quite a bit in different spaces.⁠

It’s always important to research before you make a commitment and if possible have a trial day. Space, flexibility, room to grow, environmentally conscious, innovation hubs – there’s something out there for everyone!⁠

While coworking isn’t for everyone, there are a lot of misconceptions about it. It’s not just for startups and freelancers, it can be cheaper than renting an office, and there’s a lot to do besides staring at your laptop all day. If you’re looking to get out of the house or use a meeting room, or find a place for your team to work flexibly, look into a coworking space near you!

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the future of work and challenged many assumptions about how we do business

It is true that some companies were already prepared to transition to working from home, while others were not. Those who had the foresight to set up policy and infrastructure in advance of the pandemic have been able to keep their teams together while still meeting client needs. On the other hand, there are many businesses that have been slow to respond or failed altogether because they didn’t have a contingency plan in place. The ‘great disruption’ that we have all experienced in the way we work is set to be even more disruptive in the months and years to come.

The hybrid model will be the new norm.

The hybrid model is a compromise. It’s partly remote work, partly office work—but it’s also a good compromise between the two. In fact, I believe that this combination of approaches will become the new norm in business and allow companies to get the best of both worlds: flexibility and stability. The golden rules of hybrid work are leadership and culture. How are you leading your team through a disruptive era and how are you managing your company culture to get the best out of your team?

In the post-COVID world, flexible office space will be king.

Flexible office space will be king in the post-COVID world. In the traditional model, most employees work nine-to-five and get a desk, usually in an office building or campus of some sort. But as we move to a hybrid workforce, flexible office space becomes key.

Employees need a place where they can not only plug in their laptops and immediately get to work no matter where they are, but also collaborate in an environment designed for creativity and engagement. Employers need employees who can be productive outside the traditional office setting and who are not tied down by geographic location or hours worked. Employers will also want to attract talent from outside their company walls when the size of talent pools expands beyond what one employer can offer alone. That means more options for employee satisfaction (and retention) will become available as hybrid workspaces open up across both emerging markets and mature economies alike.

The office building itself is changing too: it’s becoming less like a workspace with uniform white walls and generic office furniture, which doesn’t encourage collaboration between coworkers. Instead, offices are becoming more welcoming places that foster collaboration between teams while still maintaining privacy when necessary. The office of the future is place for collaboration and creativity, for meetings and team engagement, for social contact and wellness. Employees must be encouraged to join in on a new version of company culture and this must be supported by creative and forward thinking leaders.

The culture within companies needs to change too: leaders must embrace new ways of working with each other if they want their culture supported by their colleagues. A willingness (or even eagerness) to adopt new ways of working together remotely rather than face-to-face only at a prescribed locations every day is essential.

Remote working is here to stay.

You may have heard that remote workers are happier, more productive and more loyal than those who work in the office. But what are these benefits really? And how can you make sure that working from home is a good experience for your business?

A survey by FlexJobs found that 86% of employees would rather work from home than commute to an office every day. The same survey also indicated that 56% of respondents said they were likely or very likely to leave their current job if their employer wouldn’t let them do so remotely. And it seems like this trend won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

There are a variety of reasons why flexible or hybrid working can benefit your company:

> Employees get more time with their family or friends during the day, which leads to better morale and higher productivity when they return to work. This work/life balance makes for happier team members overall—a crucial factor when trying to motivate employees at all levels across departments within your organisation. Not only does this mean a reduction in turnover rates, but also less stress on each individual worker’s health and wellness due to having less pressure put upon them to adhere to rigid time schedules.

> Lower capex – businesses can reduce not only their office space footprint but also reduce their capital expenditure by outsourcing their physical office environment to a third party provider of flexible workspace.

Corporate culture will evolve to support a hybrid workforce.

The best way to keep a new workforce engaged is to have them feel like they’re part of the team, and company culture has a lot to do with this. The key here is fostering a sense of inclusion and understanding. You need your employees to see themselves as being on the same team as everyone else in their company, whether they’re physically present or not. You also need them to know what’s expected of them as remote workers—for example, how often they should check in with their managers, if they’ll have access to any online training materials that would help their performance at work, where can they work from if they choose to work outside the home, how can they stay connected with their colleagues, etc.

Companies need to focus on three main strategies to survive in a hybrid workforce world –

  1. Recruit well
  2. Retain talent
  3. Stay adaptable

Traditional leadership styles will suffer.

In the past, organisations that have relied on a traditional approach to management have been able to grow quickly based on their ability to attract top talent with strong work ethics and loyalty. These companies were also able to maintain high levels of productivity by focusing on a few core values that everyone followed strictly. Today, though, many employees are looking for more flexibility in their schedules or even part-time employment opportunities so that they can spend more time with their families or pursue other passions outside of work. As a result, these companies are losing out on talented workers who feel stifled by the lack of flexibility offered in traditional environments, while also failing to attract new hires with similar values because they know they won’t fit well within such rigid structures.

Leadership must support a hybrid workforce.

Leadership should focus not only on expanding its scope, but also becoming more inclusive when working with different groups within its organisation. Including those who don’t fit into traditional job descriptions. This means breaking down barriers between departments so people can collaborate across functions as needed without feeling isolated from peers outside their immediate team memberships. A hybrid work solution supports this premise – providing spaces for people to meet and teams to work together collaboratively as and when required. It also involves having leaders who understand how to cultivate diversity within teams without making others feel excluded from conversations.

Investing in digital solutions and supporting employees to work from wherever they want will enable leaders to create a workplace that is meaningful and rich in experiences and relationships.

The future of work is hybrid.

We’re all familiar with the term “hybrid”, but let’s define it again for this context: a combination of something old and something new that creates a whole new experience. Hybrid work models leverage the benefits of flexibility, agility and remote working to create an entirely new way to find meaning at work.

In order for us to shift our mindsets towards creating this type of future, we need to accept that it requires us to do two things differently: firstly, we need real leadership around what it means for businesses today; secondly, we must also change how we think about success as individuals within those businesses.