It’s impossible not to notice a jump in the number of shared office space popping up in cities across Canada. In fact, the shared office model has continued to rise in popularity over the last 10 years or so. In the U.S., more than 26,000 coworking spaces are projected to host about 3.8 million people by 2020.
Millennials are a key driver behind the growth of shared offices and coworking spaces, as more become entrepreneurs, join startups and drive the new normal for how people work. People are no longer chained to a desk in a dark and dingy cubicle. Instead, Millennials have become accustomed to workspaces that reflect and drive their creativity, particularly spaces build with modern design in mind and open floor plans that encourage collaboration and idea sharing.
So, What is Shared Office Space?
Shared offices, or coworking spaces, are locations where people from multiple businesses can work. These people might be startup founders on a tight budget and unable to realistically afford their own office space, freelancers that have grown tired of their home office, or solo entrepreneurs looking to leverage these spaces to scale their businesses and establish collaborative opportunities with other “coworkers.”
These spaces, such as Agile Offices, offer their members access to work areas at a monthly fee, much like a gym membership, and other charges for more advanced accommodations such as meeting rooms or special equipment.
Why Are Shared Office Spaces so Popular?
For one thing, they’re more affordable. In urban areas and larger cities, such as Toronto, leasing a dedicated office can strain a startups finances and inhibit their ability to grow. Shared office spaces allow startups and small businesses to make use of an office environment at a cost that provides major cost advantages and doesn’t tie them to lengthy leases.
No clean-up necessary. These spaces also don’t require their tenants to take care of things like cleaning. Coworking providers will manage the cleanliness and maintenance of the building so their customers can focus on what’s important: growing their businesses.
Network at will. Coworking spaces and shared offices provides their clients with opportunities to meet and interact with new people, almost on a monthly basis. These are great places to share ideas, establish collaborative relationships that may spawn new business opportunities and provide with a solid foundation to expand your professional network.
Millennials can be commitment-phobes. Millennials aren’t exactly crazy about commitment, at least in some cases. Traditional office leases will generally cover periods of up to several years, which can be prohibitive for a company that’s trying to grow. The onus may also fall on the founder of a startup to cover lease fees if the business were to go out of business, putting them deeper into a financial hole. Shared office environments don’t require these lengthy commitments, and instead will charge customers on an hourly, daily or monthly rate depending on their needs.
Easy to Access Urban Locations. Millennials love to live in urban centres. While there are a number of factors at play, such as easy access to resources such as grocery stores, restaurants and entertainment, they also want to work in areas that are easy to access. Centrally located coworking spaces present young entrepreneurs and startups the opportunity to lower costs even further by walking to work and avoiding having to pay for public transit or owning a vehicle.
Resistance to tradition. Millennials are making a name for themselves by breaking down the office structures defined in earlier generations. They’re dismantling the 9 to 5 mentality and breaking down corporate hierarchies, instead recognizing there’s opportunity in spaces that embrace individual expression and encourage collaboration.
Larger Organizations are Also Hopping on Board
In a traditional sense, shared offices and coworking spaces have been hubs for startups, remote workers and freelancers. But more than ever, larger, forward thinking organizations are embracing coworking space where possible. For example, KPMG uses coworking spaces to house employees meant to collaborate with entrepreneurs and startups on technology innovation research. In other cases, these spaces provide flexibility in terms of managing real estate and costs.
Why You Should Consider a Part-Time, Virtual or Coworking Space
By now, you’ve likely recognized that the way people work is changing, and will continue to do so as technology and other trends evolve. That change is part of a supply and demand process in the labor market that is currently being shifted to a scenario in which flexible work arrangements are preferable to both employers and employees. Shared offices and coworking spaces are going to continue to grow in popularity as their benefits establish deeper roots in the business community.
Want to learn more about Agile Offices coworking space? Don’t hesitate to reach out to see how we can help your business grow.