It’s not your parents’ workplace any more. And I don’t just mean that it’s your turn, and that of your generation, to run the show, as people of an older era are moving towards retirement.There are larger changes going on in the landscape of the work environment. Huge offices filled with endless rows of cubicles are being phased out, in favor of alternative workplaces styles. These include “open office” settings and teams which include a growing number of people working from home or other locations.
One of these changes is the introduction of coworking spaces as an alternative to traditional offices. While originally a trendy choice for startups and freelancers, coworking has become a viable option for small businesses and even large corporations. It’s one of the forces that is really changing the work environment. Let’s look at how:
It wasn’t so long ago when we wouldn’t even have been using the word “flexible” to describe anything about the workplace. Most office jobs were housed in large, well-established offices where one could expect to work their way up through the hierarchy of a venerable company. Today’s business world is filled with young, fast-growing, and ever-evolving companies, and so is the space in which people work.
You might even say that the traditional monolithic office space is too static for today’s work environment. Simple economics has made the coworking model more viable. The ability to get professional office space without a long-term commitment, to be able to expand as needed, and scale down as well when appropriate provides a key element of success for young, evolving companies. It allows them to use and pay for only the space that they need, saving unnecessary costs that could risk the survival of the operation.
A Sense of Community
Up until recently, the alternatives to working outside of a traditional office had an unpleasant side-effect. Working from home or otherwise remotely tended to leave workers feeling isolated and removed from the hub of activity. The benefits of working “in the comfort of one’s own home” were often offset by feeling left out of the action of the main office, and distracted by the presence of children and pets.
All this changes however, when remote workers relocate to a coworking space. Though the other occupants of the coworking space may not be employees of the same company, they’re all there to work. This results in a vibrant atmosphere, not entirely unlike an old-fashioned one-room schoolhouse. The energy level and sense of community is great for morale and typically increases productivity
A Collaborative Environment
At first it may seem that it may be inefficient to share space with people from other companies and perhaps even other industries. Experience has shown, however, that this is not the case in practice. In fact, working side by side with a diverse collection of people offers increased opportunities for networking and collaboration. Each coworker brings to the space each day their unique skillset and background. This provides an opportunity for a wonderful exchange of ideas and perspectives, and even collaboration with people from other industries, which would never happen in a “traditional” office setting.