When you think of a coworking space, you probably envision a hip working environment populated by freelance creative and tech entrepreneurs attempting to get their ideas off the ground. However, this type of flexible office space is no longer limited to startups and freelancers. Last year, tech titan Microsoft moved 70% of their marketing and sales teams to coworking spaces, and just last month, Media Company Discovery Communications, Inc. claimed 150 seats at a coworking space in Mumbai.
It’s apparent that big businesses have cast a dramatic vote of confidence for coworking – but what is driving these corporate giants to take advantage of the trend?
Saving Money Through Shared Space
In some cases, coworking spaces simply present an opportunity for big companies to cut back on costs and increase profit. For businesses with teams that are distributed throughout a country or region, it is more effective financially to rent out a few seats in a coworking space than to lease an astronomically expensive high-rise building for a handful of employees. What’s more, these businesses are not only saved the cost of the lease, but also furnishing and maintenance fees, as well.
Taking Advantage of Flexibility
Since large, high-growth businesses are constantly expanding, they often requireoffices that can grow with them. As coworking spaces do not involve commitments like signing a lease, companies can simply rent out more desks within a flexible office space when the need arises. Some coworking spaces even offer multiple types of membership to give businesses maximum flexibility: The Brew, a coworking space in London, provides access to coworking-style desks suitable for freelancers or small teams, but it also offers memberships with private offices for companies of up to 100 people. Paired with the fact that such memberships are typically far less costly than a leasing office space in London, it makes sense that big businesses are just as likely to turn to coworking as individual freelancers.
Tapping into Coworking’s Creativity
Most large companies are not moving into coworking spaces merely for financial savings or logistical ease, however. Rather, these businesses are hoping to absorb the creative energy fostered within these work environments. Through everyday interaction with the smaller companies and startups that are sharing the space, big businesses can spot trends, stay in the loop about newly developing tech and even recruit new hires from the startup talent pool.
Businesses are also recognising that these creative environments have a positive impact on their employees. A recent study analyzed in Harvard Business Review reported that people who use coworking spaces view their projects as meaningful. By setting up in coworking spaces, these companies hope to improve their employees’ outlooks, increasing productivity and engagement as a result.
As more big companies take cues from Microsoft and get in on the coworking trend, the line between a startup work environment and a corporate one is becoming less clear. It has yet to be seen how the corporate adoption of coworking will affect the freelancers and startups within these spaces, but one thing is certain – big business is booming thanks to the benefits of coworking.