Ask any millennial about the things they’d love to see in a workspace, and you can expect to hear the words ‘flexibility’ and ‘innovation’. Employees today need an environment that balances collaboration and confidentiality. And coworking spaces offer just that!
For the uninitiated, co-working spaces are ‘membership-based workspaces where diverse groups of freelancers, remote workers and other independent professionals work together in a shared, communal setting’.
Co-working spaces are on the rise, breaking the stereotypical and conventional ideas of office setups. They are vibrant spaces, designed for collaboration. Some of the big names in the corporate sector have gone ahead and given a thumbs-up to the concept of co-working spaces by opting seats in them.
For example, Tata’s Jaguar Land Rover’s team works out of WeWork in Mumbai, as well as Smartworks in Pune, both of which are popular names in the co-working industry.
What are the different elements of a co-working place? What are the benefits associated with them in general and more specifically, how are they helping the HR rethink their employee engagement strategies? Let’s find out!
How Are Co-Working Spaces Different From Traditional Workspaces?
A research by Deloitte has revealed that organisational change is one of the key human resource trends for the next few years to come.
Organisational change comprises of meeting changing business expectations and opting for agile and flexible environments that facilitate better learning. Co-working spaces provide an ecosystem to the workers, which helps in building a strong network and broadening their capabilities.
Let’s look at the benefits of co-working spaces in detail and why they are proving to be a win-win in today’s economy.
According to a survey in 2018, 73% of workers said that flexible work arrangements increased their satisfaction at work.
A co-working space is one extremely flexible way to let your employees work. As the team grows, companies can scale up their space needs by simply getting their contract tailored according to the number of employees in the team.
2. Networking Opportunities:
Networking within the same office, amongst the same team members may not provide as many learning opportunities, as in a co-working space. These spaces are brimming with goal-oriented and high-achieving individuals who come together from different streams. This provides an opportunity to grow your network tremendously each day.
The co-working community is surrounded by potential partners, clients and mentors, who can prove to be a great help when it comes to the meeting requirements of some very specific projects or time-sensitive tasks.
3. Reduced Costs and Efforts:
The cost of starting up one’s own office space or even starting a completely new facility as an organisation can prove to be very costly. Sure, one needs to pay for the space used in the co-working facility, but it’s one single amount that accounts for everything put together.
On the contrary, while building your own office space, one needs to compute and allocate funds for building, rent, fire insurance, office equipment and various other expenses that come with setting up a business.
Even if financial aspects are kept aside, a co-working facility comes fully equipped with the necessary tools and equipment which are required for an office space to function well, helping organisations to focus on just their work and getting the operational formalities totally out of their way.
How Are Co-working Spaces Helping the HR?
The HR has to deal with a lot of challenges in today’s competitive hiring environment, such as attracting and retaining the right kind of talent and creating a work environment that motivates and engages them.
They need to come up with newer ways to do so, by keeping the traditional retention policies aside and working towards the latest, more competitive techniques to keep the employees happy at work.
Below are some of the ways in which co-working spaces are managing to lend a helping hand to the HR departments, shouldering responsibilities and proving to be a great partnership overall:
1. Talent Attraction and Retention:
Due to the emergence of the gig economy coupled with a seamless internet connection, individuals are enabled to work from anywhere, anytime. This has led to a talent war, which has expanded across borders and companies are not just fighting local businesses, but also companies across the world for attracting and retaining good talent.
How do co-working spaces help the HR departments in getting the kind of talent they are looking for and retaining them for a long time too? The flexibility that comes with working in the co-working spaces goes a long way in attracting talent, which is also the number one factor in most job seekers’ ‘must-haves’ list.
These spaces are well-designed, complete with unique and valuable amenities, generally located at central locations, making them easily viable to all and comes with a motivating work environment. Employees feel more engaged and happy at work, leading to increased job satisfaction, lesser retention etc.
2. Great for Remote Employees
Working from home is no longer just a buzzword – most corporates hire remote employees. However, like everything else, this too has its own share of cons. The environment at home can be riddled with distractions, preventing the employee from being their productive best.
Co-working spaces take care of this problem. By offering a more workplace-like environment with the flexibility of a ‘work from home’ arrangement, they help remote workers work more effectively and efficiently, minus the distractions.
3. Better Employee Experience:
Employee experience has become such an important company measure, that the HR departments are refocusing their efforts on building programs, strategies and teams that understand and continuously improve the entire employee experience. In fact, the workplaces of today and even the future of work are all about employee experience.
Co-working spaces are carefully designed to suit different working styles, offering individuals a choice to work as per their own convenience. This helps in creating a seamless employee experience with help from their creative, collaborative and innovative environment. Right from open workspace areas, meeting rooms, private areas such as phone booths to casual areas to unwind and relax, such as a play area and cafeteria, coworking spaces help employees feel great at work.
4. Employee Wellness:
The core of HR department always lies in the fact that people work at their best when they feel their best. This took shape over the years to include the much-talked-about term ‘Workplace Wellness’. This not only includes programs aimed at improving employee health but also actively boosting an employee’s social and mental health. When it comes to co-working spaces, they offer something very similar.
They come up with various programs and add-on services that focus on employee well being. Some of the factors that employees look for in a company’s wellness programs are flexible schedules, wellness counselling, employee assistance programs, designated office space for wellness, healthy snacks etc. All of these come bundled in a package along with a co-working space. Some of them also offer back-up daycare.
Co-working spaces are redefining the role that the workplace environment plays in keeping employees engaged and at their productive best. No wonder then, that they are soon becoming a critical part of the HR’s strategy to hire and retain the right talent!