If you’re an entrepreneur, you know how many tools there are available to you for collaboration and networking. What some experts will tell you though, is that social and online technology is in no way a substitute for the benefits of human interaction.
With the popularity of co-working spaces is on the rise. tech companies and startups are quickly realizing the networking opportunities and easy flexibility of these arrangements. Cohabitation means that whether or not your team is around you, you aren’t stuck in isolation for hours on end.
Finding Your Space
When looking at a co-working space, it’s important to find one that focuses on your particular type of business. Let’s face it, if you’re a professional services solopreneur, co-working in a maker space with the noise of manufacturing all around may not be a good match.
It’s all about having the right kind of people around you. Even though all the companies sharing the same space are independent and not working together, there still may the opportunity to help each other when the time is right.
Imagine striking up a conversation with a random business owner or solopreneur who is so incredibly bogged down with administrative tasks, that they don’t actually have time to work in their business to produce income. As a virtual assistant, you know that’s there is the potential to offer some assistance while helping out a local business owner. With simplistic proximity ease, you can suggest just the right person to add to their team that can help resolve the problem.
Who Uses Co-Working Spaces?
It’s not just tech companies and startups that are taking advantage of co-working spaces. Some companies have started to use these places as satellite offices, or temporary offices. Some larger companies can even afford their own locations but still prefer the feel of a co-working space.
If you’re a small startup with less than a dozen people, it can be hard to find a place that’s affordable for you. Even when you do find a space, you might not have the funds to do anything with it at all. If you’re trying to pull talent from a large tech company, having a small, stark location with no amenities can be a real deal-breaker.
Millennials have become accustomed to a very different type of work life, and they have much different expectations to those of older generations. They’re going to be looking for a job with a great location, comfortable break out spaces, furniture they can lounge in, the ability to have a standing desk, and place where they can go to have a real break or play a game. Young talent with top skills are going to want it all. Co-working spaces can help small startups give this to their staff with less costs.
Examining the Layout of the Space
Some companies are private about their work, and may not want to sit next to a competitor. Other companies don’t mind this and will happily be near a competitor, hoping to gain insights from them. Ultimately, it’s up to the companies, and if there’s room to move people around then there’s no great problem with doing so.
The co-working space itself can be set up in many ways, but most places prefer to have large open spaces and no cubicles. With so many people wanting varied workspaces, it’s hard for a cubicle to allow for everyones needs. Having areas with high-backed furniture or small rooms with phones can give people privacy when they need it and standing desks allow for people to be comfortable when they work.
Another way of making co-working spaces work for everyone is to group certain people together. In any company, you are going to have people who need quiet spaces to concentrate, and people who need spaces where they can be loud all the time. Keeping all these groups together will make things easier for everyone in the space.
The Added Benefit of Networking
Co-working spaces also allow for something else — a professional safety net. If the company that you’re working for doesn’t end up staying alive, you may very well be able to get work with one of the other companies in your shared space. These spaces provide great networking opportunities because you not only get to meet people but you can show them your skills in a very casual way.
If people seem to be keeping themselves separated from each other, it’s always a good idea to have events and meet-ups in the space. Social events and a night of drinking every week can really encourage people to interact with each other. The chances of losing a staff member to a competitor are slim, and the pros of this type of interaction far outweigh that risk.