A new era of co-working: What are the benefits for businesses?

A new era of co-working: What are the benefits for businesses?
A new era of co-working: What are the benefits for businesses?

Co-working, or the sharing of workspaces by different companies or people, has evolved from a trend to a “revolution”, says a recent paper by real estate consultancy JLL.

Traditionally seen as a startup model, even big companies like Philips and IBM have jumped onboard now. The number of co-working spaces has grown from a small 75 globally in 2007 to 7,800 spaces in 2015 and is expected to engage one million people globally by 2018, says JLL’s A new era of coworking.

As companies in Australia and around the world adopt co-working practices, there are a number of benefits that this rising workplace strategy presents for businesses. The paper identifies these benefits as well as the four core models of co-working that are emerging. It says that flexible or ‘liquid’ space solutions are becoming important aspects of wider Corporate Real Estate (CRE) and portfolio strategy.

The paper says the demand has been driven by the growth of creative and technology industries in addition to the changing nature of work. 

According to JLL director of Workplace Strategy, Dinesh Acharya, “An increasing number of companies across the world are realising the value that a co-working environment can provide with respect to flexibility, collaboration and inspiration. 

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A new era of co-working: What are the benefits for businesses?

Benefits of co-working

A tailored co-working solution can reap benefits for businesses ranging from increased innovation due to from working with entrepreneurs, start-ups and emerging technology platforms; to meeting the demand for business agility by providing flexible occupancy terms and fluid space, without the need for major organisational changes. 

Co-working can help companies attract talent and also reduce costs through more efficient utilisation of space. 

Co-working hubs can even fatten the toppling.

“Companies can realise additional benefits by paying for space ‘just in time’ to increase flexibility and reduce CRE costs, and by expanding social networks and reinforcing community to drive increased staff engagement,” said Acharya.

The results of the latest Global Coworking Survey reveal that 61 percent of co-working space providers are planning to expand their operations and almost 80% expect the number of members to increase in 2016.

However, the paper cautions the risks that co-working may expose an organisation to, such as cyber security, privacy and possible issues associated with organisational culture, if it is implemented without careful consideration, or if staff don’t buy into the reasons why co-working is being implemented.

“It is important for organisations to assess the suitability of a co-working environment for their business model and monitor the risks this type of environment could pose, as part of a strategic corporate real estate and portfolio strategy.However, with an estimate of one million people to be coworking globally by 2018, this is a testament to how far the practice has evolved since its beginnings.”

“We expect its prominence and success in the Australian market to continue growing in the near and medium-term future,” he added.  

The four core models of coworking

The paper notes that four core models of coworking are emerging which can be applied by organisations seeking to take advantage of the benefits of co-working. These are internal collaboration (internal co-working space for employees only), co-working memberships (external co-working memberships for employees), external coworking space (collaboration space for employees shared with external organisations/individuals in an external co-working environment) and internal coworking space (internal co-working space open to external organisations/individuals). 


Workspace Coworking

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