Why are coworking spaces popular?
With the many success stories of today’s sharing economy, the benefits of collaborative consumption is evident. Maximising the use of a resource is imperative as our population continues to outgrow the space we have been given. Companies like Uber optimise the use of private cars while Airbnb opens the door to unoccupied accommodation; the social acceptance of sharing resources with strangers is clearly on the rise.
In the city, the threshold for small-medium businesses to rent an office are very high. Property prices, long-term lease requirements, potential renovation costs, utility bills, maintenance costs, not to mention the requirements for a good location, office frontage, social impressions..the list is endless. Finding a suitable workplace is often a surprise hurdle to many startups.
It makes sense, therefore, that the workplace is also shared. After all, meeting rooms are not always full, open plan desks are easy to setup, kitchen and bathroom facilities can be used by many people. Most individuals today just need a power outlet and good internet access to carry out their work. Perhaps more interesting is that while ‘coworking’ has become a trending term, the concept is not. Business centers, libraries, even coffeeshops have always been coworking spaces as such. However, the identity and culture of today’s coworking spaces, and that of FutureWard, is what separates it from these typical places of work.
How are coworking spaces different than business centres?
Many people have the freedom of working from home or in public space. But often, working at home is too quiet (or too noisy for those with kids). Working at a coffee shop can be too loud. Business travellers end up working in a hotel room which can be extremely lonely. For many of these people without an office, finding a suitable place of work can be difficult.
Obviously, its easier to work in an atmosphere where others are working. Yet, the tedious nature of work requires a relaxed, even fun, atmosphere for balance. This is the main difference between business centers and coworking spaces. Both provide space rental and business services of varying degrees, but whereas business centers are often clinical and impersonal, coworking spaces are vibrant and young.
Business centers also typically operate under a strict landlord-tenant relationship (which tenants may prefer for the anonymity and independence), but coworking spaces have a much more involved team of community managers who will inquire about your needs and provide a social environment within the workspace. Often, there are mini-social events to break up the work day, targeted events catered for startups, all providing great opportunities for networking and mingling. It is this personality that differentiates the two types of shared workspace, and also what we aim to provide at FutureWard Central.