27 Feb 2017
In a survey of more than 2,600 small businesses, it was discovered that nearly three-quarters of SMEs thought that co-working space is the best environment for start ups, principally because it’s a lot cheaper than a fixed office. But they also found that 63% of small businesses find it more inspirational than the traditional office set-up, offering them a more creative environment to work in. Crucially, 62% said that co-working space offers them opportunities for new business, and 70% cited meeting other entrepreneurs as one of the main positives of working in hubs.
This mirrors research carried out at the University of Michigan which discovered people who work in co-working spaces were thriving. On a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being the highest score, entrepreneurs in co-working spaces scored an average of 6 – more than a point higher than employees working in regular offices.
Researchers believe there are three main reasons for these higher scores.
Most of the people who rent co-working spaces work for themselves, which means that they care more about what they do. Also, they are surrounded by other small businesses, the majority of whom will be solopreneurs working on a diverse range of work, helping them feel unique in what they do. And with so many people with unique skills and a pride in what they do working in close proximity, it’s inevitable that they will start to do business with each other, adding to the feeling that they are thriving.
When entrepreneurs are no longer tied to a 9-5 working day, they will work when it suits them best. That flexibility gives them full control over their time, so they can work whenever they like – even if it’s through the night – and take breaks when it suits them best.
By hot-desking, they also have flexibility within the co-working space. This means that if they need to concentrate on a task, they can go and find a quiet desk away from people. Alternatively, if they want to be more sociable, they can move to sit at shared desks where they can enjoy the company of others.
A lot of people find that working from home or renting a one-man office can end up being very lonely. Co-working spaces offer them lots of company so they can have those casual chats with ‘colleagues’ which a lot of people find such an enjoyable part of their working day. Taking enough breaks is vital for greater productivity, so co-working spaces usually provide areas where people can take a break from their tasks – a kitchen, a café or a table tennis table for instance – enabling them to return to their work with renewed energy.
The diversity of organisations working together also encourages a culture in which people help each other out, encouraging an even greater sense of community. This leads to the organisation of community events, and even doing tasks like cleaning in order to keep the space nice for everyone.