Many of the world’s big businesses, including South African companies, are increasingly making use of co-working spaces even though they have plenty of their own office space and facilities.
“It seems counter-intuitive at first but on further examination it makes perfect sense,” said Linda Trim, Director at FutureSpace, a high-end work space joint venture between Investec Property and workplace specialists Giant Leap with two offices in Sandton.
“Coworking, or proworking spaces as we like to think of them now as they evolve to being extremely luxurious, are increasingly being used by large companies like Starbucks because they offer things they simply can’t get on home turf.”
So what makes coworking so attractive to big corporations?
Ease of access to innovators
Some of the major companies, and especially tech companies that choose to use coworking spaces do so to get closer to innovators in the field. These types of people are mavericks by nature and don’t consider applying for a job to sit in a cubicle and work their way up.
Said Trim: “Because coworking spaces tend to have a social and collaborative element in addition to the features of a traditional office in a more relaxing atmosphere, it becomes natural to interact with others. This gives large corporations access to talented people and startups with industry-changing ideas.”
For companies like Microsoft, keeping their ears on the ground and scoping out the businesses of the future is a strategy executed to ensure that they maintain a part of the community which feeds tech trends and influences masses.
Having employees work side by side with startups and industry innovators does more than make it easier to get new talent; it also provides motivation and increases employee productivity. “Employees tend to be more motivated when they see others around them working hard and producing great ideas, giving large companies another reason to use coworking spaces,” Trim noted.
Coworking vibe can’t be found in most corporate office spaces
While many companies have gone out of their way in recent years to create a hip vibe, dedicated office spaces can’t really generate the same electric atmosphere that’s palpable in most coworking spaces. Said Trim;”A sense of creative innovation and the capacity to change the world underlies the excitement of turning professional passions into lucrative realities. The creative process hums like a pulse in coworking spaces, igniting ideas and fostering collaboration. New ideas evolve into new projects.”
Flexibility and convenience for employees
Most large corporations that let their employees use coworking spaces offer the choice of working in a coworking environment or in a normal office. “This way, employees can have more flexibility and choose whichever location is more convenient for them, Trim added. Employees can choose the location that is close to other activities for the day, such as errands they need to run after work.
Connecting with the larger community
Coworking spaces offer ties to a much larger community than traditional office environments. A common downside of the traditional corporate structure is being just another number but in coworking, members get to know other members and discover resources they can bring to their specific corporate cultures.
“Social activities and networking events lend themselves to finding new talent for large companies as corporations take advantage of recruiting the talent they need from coworking members they already know they’d like to hire,” Trim concluded.