Benefits of Coworking Spaces: From Staying Connected to Boosting Productivity
The transition from being in-office to working remotely can cause a slight disruption in our normal routines. With new distractions, worries, and responsibilities, it can be overwhelming to embark on your new remote journey. Due to Covid and the Great Resignation, many have transitioned from sitting side-by-side with co-workers to sitting in solitude. But it doesn’t need to be that way. As more and more people venture into coworking spaces, the more we’re figuring out what works best in these spaces.
If you’re someone who has recently made this transition, don’t worry, we’re here to help. Below, we’ve compiled this complete guide to help remote workers seamlessly navigate coworking spaces.
Coworking Spaces are Spreading, and for Good Reason
Thanks to their unique blend of flexible space and membership options, as well as their varied cast of users, coworking spaces offer benefits ranging from affordability to productivity. The benefits of coworking are such that clever individuals and organizations are overwhelmingly choosing these spaces over the alternatives: working from home, from a coffee shop, or renting their own office. Curious to learn more? Let’s take a detailed look at some key coworking space benefits.
Key Coworking Space Benefits
1. Complimentary amenities and space management
At most coworking spaces, amenities like coffee and cleaning are included as part of your membership. Many spaces also offer snacks and beer on tap. You won’t need to worry about facility management either. The coworking company handles everything from HVAC repairs to rotating the artwork.
2. Locations across the region
Several coworking companies have multiple locations across a region. This means you can choose where you work based on your schedule. On days when you have a lot of heads-down work, you may work from the location in your hip neighborhood. On other days when you need to meet clients, you may choose to work downtown. Workbar has more than ten locations in and around Greater Boston. It also has partners that enable you to work anywhere from Amherst, MA, to Newport, RI.
3. A place designed for work
Coworking spaces are designed with your productivity in mind. To start, you can expect to find sturdy tables and comfortable chairs. Printers, Post-Its, and paper are standard too. In addition, many spaces offer phone booths to keep your conversations private and whiteboards to support your big-picture thinking.
Some spaces go the extra mile to boost your effectiveness. Workbar, for example, offers external monitors and standing desks. Workbar also ensures you find the right environment for your work, thanks to its neighborhood concept. Among the options, you can choose the pin-drop silent Study for your focus work or the lively Café to get creative. Prefer the comfort of your spot? You can sign up for a dedicated desk too.
4. A supportive community
One of the key benefits of coworking spaces is the community. As a member of a space, you’ll be surrounded by professionals who are overwhelmingly open to a genuine chat. Community managers are happy to make introductions too. Your coworkers can become close friends, valuable professional connections, or simply friendly people to chat with at the coffee machine.
Coworking spaces work hard to foster this community. On the planned side, they put on social and professional events for members to meet and mingle. At Workbar, these take the form of happy hours and bagel breakfasts. On the spontaneous side, coworking spaces design areas for members to meet organically. At Workbar, members commonly bump into each other in the kitchen and the Café. This creates an environment where people build genuine connections based on trust.
Belonging ranks highly among our universal psychological needs. It takes the second level in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and masquerades as Relatedness in Ryan & Deci’s Self-Determination Theory. The key to fulfilling our need for belonging is to be part of a community and to experience meaningful relationships characterized by trust. Joining a coworking space is a great way to do so.
Coworking can go a long way to enhance belonging. Recent research has found that 83% of coworking users report feeling less lonely since joining a coworking space. The relationships people form in these spaces offer social and professional support and are a clear part of the value proposition. “We offer a flexible workspace that also enables you to build relationships with fellow members,” states Devin Cole, Workbar’s Head of Partnerships.
At the base level, coworking spaces create belonging by hosting a consistent group of people in a shared space. The resulting social interactions lead to an initial sense of community. “It’s just nice to be around other people,” says Jamie, a software engineer who works remotely from Workbar*. “I felt very isolated if I was just by myself at home working all the time.” Bringing people together already offers value, but coworking spaces don’t stop there.
The community is also a great resource for your work. Thanks to their variety of personal and professional backgrounds, your coworkers can open you to new ideas and fresh perspectives. They can tell you about industries you know little about and parts of the world you may have never been too. Overall, the community holds great potential to enrich your personal life and career.
5. Good for your health
Coworking spaces have your health in mind. They offer healthy snack options and plenty of natural light. Several spaces also support your ergonomics, offering standing desks and supportive chairs. These are just some of the health benefits of coworking. Workbar itself is a leader in the field – their Back Bay location is the first coworking space to achieve WELL certification.
Beyond your physical health, coworking spaces also support your psychological well-being. The connections you make with your coworkers drive your sense of belonging. Smiling community managers feed your positivity.
Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely. This has led US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to state that we are in the midst of a loneliness epidemic. One of the contributors to this phenomenon is the growth of the gig economy and remote work, which has reduced the opportunities for people to interact face-to-face while working. Thankfully, the global growth of coworking is helping professionals address this issue. By joining a coworking space, remote and independent professionals can reverse the loneliness epidemic by boosting their sense of belonging through a hybrid work approach in order to connect with like-minded individuals.
The times you talk about your work reinforce your purpose. Altogether, these factors make coworking spaces an ideal environment for you to thrive.
Coworking Benefits for Individuals
If you’re a freelancer, an entrepreneur, or someone working remotely, there are several coworking space benefits that are specific to your work style. Let’s start with the community.
The people that are part of your coworking community can offer more than just friendships. They can help you professionally too. An experienced consultant, for example, can become your mentor. A fellow writer can advise you on pricing a proposal. A startup sharing the space can become your client. Even so, the benefits extend beyond your peers.
To better understand the coworking space benefits for independent professionals, let’s compare coworking to your alternatives.
Coworking benefits vs. a coffee shop
First off, you won’t be paying extra for coffee. Java is included in your membership, and at most coworking spaces, you’ll get complimentary snacks too!
Second, you don’t have to worry about leaving your laptop unattended. The majority of coworking spaces are card-access only, or are staffed by a community manager at the front door. Furthermore, you can trust that your fellow coworkers will leave your things alone.
There are other coworking space benefits too. You’re guaranteed to find a seat. Coworking spaces are managed so that there are always free workstations.
Coworking benefits vs. working from home
Goodbye procrastination! At a coworking space, the distractions that exist around the home are gone. There’s no laundry to do. No closets to organize. No mail to sort. Better yet, cleaning is taken care of by the coworking staff.
You won’t be lonely. Coworking spaces work hard to build community among their members. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to interact with coworkers: when you grab coffee, when you eat lunch, or when you attend events.
Coworking Benefits for Startups & Small Businesses
There are several benefits of shared office space that are particular to startups and organizations. They range from people benefits to strategic benefits. Let’s take a look.
There are several benefits of coworking spaces that are key for your people. First off, because of the appeal of shared office environments among several generations, working from a coworking space can help attract talent and become a major perk. Secondly, shared office spaces can drive employee satisfaction. One of the key benefits of coworking spaces is that they give people flexibility for where to work. This can lead to higher employee engagement, productivity, and happiness.
Shared office spaces offer several strategic benefits. For one, they enable your organization to plant teams in target locations for short durations. This can be Ideal for researching target markets, or for short-term collaborations with partners. Shared offices also enable you to flexibly adjust your team. You can easily bring on new employees, or reserve a desk for a short term contractor. With their flexible membership structures, shared office spaces also enable you to quickly move on or switch locations.
Shared office spaces also offer benefits derived from visibility. Within the space, you are likely to meet partners & collaborators. You’ll also drive exposure to your brand. These are just some of the benefits of coworking spaces for startups and companies. To dive in deeper, you can read more about the advantages of flexible workspace for large organizations.
Economic Benefits of Coworking Office Space
Coworking spaces present a range of economic benefits for individuals and organizations. They range from affordability to service model efficiencies. Altogether, these benefits enable you to limit your costs, act with agility, and expand your business.
Compared to renting traditional office space, coworking spaces are significantly more affordable. This rings true both for companies and individuals. At the fundamental level, coworking spaces are significantly more affordable than renting your own office. Let’s look at some numbers. In prime real estate markets - think New York, Boston, Chicago - full-time memberships range from $300-600 per month. And that’s if you want to be there 24/7.
Coworking spaces offer a range of memberships to best fit your business needs. They range from a few days a month to full-time access. At Workbar, memberships start at 5 days per month, and extend to 24/7 access to your favorite location. And you’re not just limited to one location.
A membership at a coworking space allows you to access a network of locations. This means you can vary where you work based on your schedule. With a full-time membership at one Workbar location, for example, you can work from any other network location for five days out of the month.
This enables you to work across Massachusetts and Rhode Island for much less than renting multiple offices. Furthermore, coworking spaces don’t require huge upfront commitments. At Workbar, for example, an individual only needs to leave a deposit for their last month. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to benefit from a newcomer promotion. And opportunities to limit your costs don’t stop there.
Several coworking spaces offer referral programs. These benefit existing users and newcomers alike. When referred to join Workbar by an existing member, for example, you can get a free month of membership. And your friend will get a nice credit as well. These referral programs provide opportunities for cost savings, and to build your network.
Affordability is just one of the economic benefits of coworking. Coworking spaces also allow members to lower costs by offering flexible, no-commitment plans for both private offices and memberships.
Thanks to their flexibility, coworking memberships offer a significant economic benefit. Rather than committing to a multi-year lease, you can sign up for much shorter periods with cost-effective plans.
At Workbar, for example, memberships are month-to-month. You can choose to move on with just a 30-days notice. And there are additional benefits. The advantages of flexibility extend to space. As your organization grows, a coworking space will allow you to easily expand into the space available. Similarly, it’s straightforward to reduce the amount of space you need.
This means you won’t be stuck with unused space. Altogether, this flexibility allows you to be agile with your workplace needs.
3. Service Model Benefits
Many of the economic benefits of coworking spaces arise from the service model by which they operate. For one membership fee, coworking users can benefit from a range of services and amenities. This makes it easy for you to plan your costs, focus on your value-add work, and build your network.
Low startup costs
Coworking spaces eliminate many startup costs traditionally associated with moving into a new space. You won’t have to hire an architect to design the space. You won’t have to buy furniture. You won’t even have to pick out artwork. Instead, you can focus on your core business right away, in a space that’s optimal for you.
Leading coworking spaces are designed to boost your productivity. With activity-based designs, they ensure you’ll find the right space for your task at hand. At Workbar, the Neighborhoods concept offers you four different zones. You can choose the pin-drop silent Study for your focus work, or the lively Café to get creative. Prefer the comfort of your own spot? You can sign up for a dedicated desk too.
Included space management
A great advantage of coworking spaces is that running and maintaining the space is taken care of by the coworking staff. In contrast to renting your own space, you won’t have to hire a facilities management team. You won’t have to fix the HVAC. You won’t have to clean the space yourself either. This frees you up to focus on your work, and creates cost efficiencies.
Complimentary amenities & supplies
The membership fee at a coworking space includes a variety of amenities. Coffee and tea, for example, are complimentary at the majority of spaces. Office supplies like post-its and paper are provided at most spaces too. At Workbar, you also get meeting room hours, printing service credits, and snacks! All considered, this means that few additional costs will sneak up on you.
The economic benefits of coworking spaces extend to the events that are offered. Coworking spaces organize events to socialize, learn, and have fun. Better yet, these networking events are free with your membership. At Workbar, each location offers weekly events, ranging from bagel breakfasts to lunch & learns. These provide great networking opportunities to expand your business.
The economic benefits of coworking are plentiful for members. Among them are affordable, flexible memberships. These give you access a network of locations, and allow you to benefit from many service efficiencies. Altogether, coworking spaces enable you to limit overhead costs, adapt quickly, and grow your business.
When is the Right Time to Move to a Coworking Space?
Deciding when to transition to a coworking space is a pivotal moment for many professionals and businesses. This move is often considered when you seek to enhance your working environment, stay connected with a vibrant community, and adopt healthier work habits. Coworking spaces offer a unique blend of professional and social benefits that traditional offices or home office setups might lack.
Here are some of the most popular reasons for making the switch:
To Elevate Your Space
One of the most important decisions to make when transitioning from in-house work to remote and flexible working is the space you choose to work in. A healthy, distraction-free workspace should have access to an ample amount of air and abundant lighting to help you stay focused, sharp, and energized throughout your workday. While it may be nice to think of working on the beach or at the park surrounded by nature, these settings create an abundance of distractions and headaches. The combination of sand, crowds, and unexpected changes in weather can be frustrating when trying to accomplish daily goals. And, as relaxing as working from your home may sound, it can be a comfortable trap that eventually impacts your production and efficiency. If you find yourself struggling in one way or another, try checking out a coworking space.
Workbar offices were designed to provide the perfect amount of lighting and airflow to help you stay focused and energized throughout your workday without the worry of external distractions. Various workspace solutions are available to help address all remote and digital needs. Like a private office for a more secluded and secure workspace for small teams and individuals. Or consider a dedicated desk to help you stay organized and efficient without having to lug around files and equipment. No matter what your workspace needs are, Workbar has you covered.
To Stay Connected
Staying connected with your co-workers is a must, especially while working remotely. Whether you communicate virtually or in-person, setting time aside to openly converse and engage with your team is crucial. Not only is this important for productivity but also for your mental health. Working remotely can make it easy to fall into a habit of staying quiet and reclusive, and falling into isolation can lead to major issues down the road if you don’t take action ahead of time.
As a Workbar member, take advantage of our meeting spaces, along with our intuitive meeting tools, to stay connected with your co-workers no matter where they are located. If a meeting space is too large, private phone booths are another great option for individuals in need of temporary privacy. And, do not be afraid to connect with others around the office. Workbar does not only provide a healthy workspace, but also a safe, social environment as well. Get to know those you share a space with!
To Practice Healthy Habits
At Workbar, we’re all about wellness. From design to practice, we know that staying healthy and creating a work-life balance is more important now than it’s ever been before. Although most remote work isn’t labor intensive, that doesn’t mean it comes without health risks. Back pain, eye strain, and fatigue are just a few of the health problems digital workers face. To ensure a healthy and productive workday, it’s extremely important to pre-emptively address these issues.
Nearly 60 million Americans have experienced computer vision syndrome which impacts performance, mood, and productivity if not properly addressed. It’s important to take small breaks throughout your workday to mitigate the time spent staring at a screen. Try implementing a 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen; look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you are still experiencing eye irritation, consult an optometrist to discuss your symptoms. There may be a solution as simple as incorporating the use of eye drops in your day, investigating different types of contacts , and other options that may work best for you. As the digital landscape continues to expand, our needs are becoming more reliant on it. It's worth being aware of the effects it will have on one of our most vital organs, our eyes.
While eye health is extremely important, it’s equally as important to be aware of your mobility and posture while working from a desk. To help, all Workbar locations have been equipped with ergonomic furniture to mitigate back pain and promote healthy posture. And, at select locations, be sure to utilize the onsite and in-building wellness facilities including a yoga studio, fitness center, and spa to help stay fit and stress-free throughout your workday.
Whether you’re an individual or an organization, joining a shared office space can give you a strategic advantage. Flexibility, community, and focus are just some of the benefits of coworking spaces. And with many different spaces in operation, finding the right fit is easier than ever. So consider coworking as part of your strategy!
Remote work can be stressful, isolating, and chaotic, but it doesn’t have to be. Schedule a tour today, to find your future workspace!