Co-working spaces are the natural next wave in remote employee work environments. They are on the rise everywhere- by the end of 2016, there will be an estimated 10,000 co-working facilities in the U.S. alone, and the number of employees using co-working spaces has increased by 50% in just two years.
The logistical, psychological and financial benefits are numerous for remote workers and for their companies.
For remote employees, working from home can be both enjoyable and periodically difficult. The comfort of one's own familiar home environment can sometimes be offset by a lack of some necessary supplies and tech, along built-in distractions and a sense of isolation. Co-working spaces are trending as a timely "best of both" alternative. In a recent DeskMag survey, 71% of respondents said they felt their creativity improved in a co-working space, and 62% said the quality of their work had increased.
An important reason for these numbers is the more work-like environment, which provides some elements of traditional structure in an atmosphere that is less formal and more relaxed. Co-working spaces provide a purpose-driven "semi-structured" location away from the home. It also allows for interactions with others in a positively charged space, which reportedly gives most people an additional degree of external motivation, along with the old-fashioned benefits of being around other people for periods of work-related time instead of the chronic isolation or domestic distractions that are often a component of at-home work.
As opposed to a traditional office, co-working spaces are normally accessible 24/7. Schedules can take on a new flexibility as employees choose to, for example, grind into a difficult long-hours deadline or take a gym break in the middle of the day. They can often decide between a space with shared work areas where communal interaction is encouraged, or a quiet space where they can focus. Importantly, they can also choose to work partly from home as needed, tending to day-to-day scenarios that require their presence.
Job distance and related travel expenses are recurring negatives in many employee polls. As such, employees may benefit in several additional ways from a co-working space. The cost savings of work closer to home are significant, and the saved travel hours are priceless. Having that extra time to spend with family and loved ones or to engage in personal activities also adds to a healthier, more balanced life.
Co-working spaces can directly benefit companies as well, as on-demand meeting rooms can be established for regional activities and presentations, and temporary headquarters can be booked for larger-scale, time-specific projects that require a collaborative "all hands on deck" approach from employees geographically far from the company's main offices. From a company's perspective, co-working spaces are also becoming a welcome cost reducer, saving on the expenses of an entire facility. Electricity costs are shared, as are the upkeep of common-use printers, food areas and meeting rooms.
By all indications, co-worker spaces will continue to evolve and expand their presence as a very viable, natural alternative to working strictly from home or office.