Member Experience

10 Key Stereotypes About Coworking & How To Address Them

Michael Dehoyos

Coworking does offer some fantastic networking opportunities, but it can create conflict as personality clashes and drama can have a negative impact.

We are seeing coworking become more mainstream as flexible working becomes the norm. With this rise, we need to establish a basic code of conduct for coworking spaces so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of a shared workspace without the downsides.

In this article, we talk about the ten assumptions that people make about coworking spaces that you should address or ignore:

#1. Disorganization

Many entrepreneurs that have come from a corporate background but are considering using your facilities have the view that coworking spaces and the working model that they are based upon are disorganized.

The reality is that evolved workspaces like yours provide flexibility and freedom not seen in traditional workplaces. People can come to work at a time that suits them, sit where they like, and socialize with other professionals on their breaks. These are some of the factors that have facilitated the success of coworking, as well as the growth of the businesses that use them.

Most coworking spaces also have dedicated facilities that provide the uniformity that people are used to from corporate, which helps smooth their transition to a more flexible way of working.

#2. Only Freelancers Benefit

The way that coworking spaces tend to be set up means that freelancers, in particular, will benefit from using them. This doesn’t mean that their usefulness is limited to only freelancers though.

In fact, we are seeing a rise in big corporations encouraging their teams that need to create and innovate to work from these spaces, which saves time, energy and reduce travel. The primary reason for this, however, is to get a better output from those employees.

See more coworking space trends here.

We are also seeing a rise in human resource teams working in coworking spaces, as this allows them to get privacy and space in which to think away from the employees they are supporting.

The myth that only freelancers will use your coworking space is exactly that – a myth. In reality, coworking is a broad ecosystem of individuals, businesses and employees.

Coworking spaces are inclusive by definition, yours included, and they bring a range of ages, experiences, backgrounds, and skill sets together.

#3. Coworking Is for Start-ups

While coworking spaces were initially designed to suit start-ups, people are starting to realize that they can offer the flexible working environment that everyone is seeking – from employees, to corporations, to sole traders.

The corporate culture is also starting to change and people are realizing that the creative ways that people using coworking spaces operate can be beneficial to all businesses. Coworking offers an abundance of opportunities, including networking, collaboration and access to new markets, that is starting to attract a wider audience of small and medium sized businesses, as well as corporations.

Open your doors and who knows who’ll come in.

#4. Unaffordable & Fancy

Many people perceive coworking spaces to be elegant and fancy, so they assume that they will be an expensive option. A simple check on Google will reveal that this is false.

“Because the workspaces are shared, it can actually be a really affordable option,” explains Lucy Atkinson, a business writer at Australia2write and Writemyx. “The conveniences and amenities are higher quality than renting your own office but because the management of these services are shared, you end up paying less.”

So feel free to boast to potential customers about how casual and affordable your coworking space is in your ads.

#5. Lack of Individuality

One stereotype that we hear often about coworking spaces is that they are all the same.

This is a strange statement, as it is a bit like saying that all shops are the same, or all homes. Most traditional office spaces look similar, but in fact coworking spaces have more variety, as no one unit is the same. They vary in size, level of social interaction, scope for collaboration, office provider, location and diversity.

In the same way, the type of person who is attracted to each coworking space can vary greatly, so it is completely unjustified to suggest that all coworking spaces are the same.

To address this stereotype, you can set up and decorate your coworking space to be as unique as you like.

#6. Too Many Distractions

One common complaint when colleagues suggest going for a coworking space to each other is that they could be too noisy or very distracting.

Yes, there can be a certain level of noise, chatter and laughter within most coworking spaces, it really depends on what people personally find distracting and what people can manage in their working environment.

Most coworking spaces have quieter corners employees can always retreat to if they find themselves sitting somewhere particularly noisy. These spaces are specifically designed to cater to a lot of different work styles. It is important that you have these, too.

Studies have also revealed that working in a high-paced, buzzing coworking space with a good sense of community can boost productivity and encourage good business practices. There are often private offices provided and break out spaces or private meeting rooms that you should make sure you also offer. This will help you to create the ideal blend of dedication, flexibility and location.

#7. Why Not Just Rent?

Coworking is just like when businesses rent an office, but it has a lot more benefits. When they choose a coworking office, they can rent on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, whereas most formal rented offices require a commitment of at least a year.

“Flexibility is a strong benefit of the coworking space,” says Daniel Osborn, a lifestyle blogger at Britstudent and Nextcoursework. “If a company or business hires more people in the future, they don’t have to find them a new office, but can just rent an extra desk in the same coworking space.

This makes it a fantastic retention tool for businesses, as they can offer employees amenities, networking options and events. You will build them a unique working environment that they would not get if they had their own office.”

If a business is looking to get a new team up and running quickly, or create a new satellite office in a new city, choosing a coworking space initially can be a great way of testing the water before investing time and money on an extensive build out.

Many businesses embrace the coworking culture for just this reason, as they are able to outsource business functions and spaces without bringing it in-house.

Coworking spaces also offer an opportunity to network with other businesses to find collaboration, or perhaps your next investor or employee. Many shared spaces also hold weekly network events, socials, training seminars and expert discussions.

If you offer flexible renting options and host networking events like this, don’t be surprised when your space is one of the most popular in town.

#8. Not Enough Space

Some people have commented that they expected coworking spaces to work a bit like a battery farm, with workers crammed in and desks shoved into all available space.

On the contrary, most locations are very spacious and give people the option to choose where they want to work from. The majority of coworking spaces have a lot more room than the average open-plan office owned by a corporation and are rarely fully booked, as most people who use them work on a flexible schedule.

People working there can choose to come and go as they want and select their space and the person that they work next to, so it is a much more organic environment.

Keep your coworking space airy like this and many businesses will surely come around to the idea.

#9. No Privacy

We often hear from people who are concerned that there is a lack of privacy in coworking spaces.

It is true that they are very communicative spaces. Users of them can clearly tell that other people are working there too from what you can see and hear around you, but this can be a great way for them to get to know each other.

If privacy is a concern for workers, the coworking space should offer the option to choose locations where other people can’t see information on their screens, so it’s important that you offer this.

For freelancers and employees who normally work from home, going to a coworking space like this a few times a week can be a haven in their routine, to help them stay in touch with other people and reduce isolation.

#10. Home-Working is Cheaper

This one is true, but employees may also earn less if they only work from home. Funding the entire office infrastructure on their own can be a serious downside, so it can be nice to have the choice to go to a coworking space and split the expenses with you.

More entrepreneurs and business owners are being attracted to coworking spaces every day. This tells us that many of the reasons that have been putting people off, such as those above, are starting to dissipate and are not impacting their choices.

The article was written by Michael Dehoyos. Michael works as an editor and content marketer at Phd Kingdom and Academic brits. He helps companies with their marketing strategy concepts, and adds value to numerous sites and publications. Also, he writes for Origin Writings.

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