Co-working spaces have become a very popular trend. If you live in Bangkok then you probably already know this because so many companies here use co-working spaces. You see so many co-working spaces being filled with digital nomads and freelancers; even early-stage startups. The number of remote workers continues to increase. At D8ii Limited, we have hired remote workers from different locations all around the world. The number of co-working spaces has also increased. Now, before jumping into why co-working spaces are a popular trend, I will explain what co-working spaces are and what their business model is so that you can share it with your family and friends.
What is a Coworking Space?
A co-working space is a shared work environment where people can collaborate or focus on their work; instead of working in a noisy environment, such as a loud cafe that could also have unreliable wifi.
Here is the definition of a co-working space from Wikipedia:
“The use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge.”
Pretty much the same as our definition. Next!
Why Do People Choose Co-working Spaces?
This is actually a good question. Here are some of the responses from my colleagues:
- To meet new people.
- To change the environment from time to time.
- To build a network.
Additionally, Deskmag has also proven that 84% of people use co-working spaces to meet and interact with people. This is not possible to do if you work from home, especially if you are a freelancer or digital nomad.
Coworking Space Business Model
According to Forbes, coworking spaces have three main business models. Most operators will provide at least one of these services:
- Rent an office space or provide shared desks.
- Flexible terms allowing renters to move in and out and upgrade or downgrade with short notice periods.
- Operator designs community building programs and events to create a strong business network among its renters.
A co-working space business model may sound simple but their business model is actually difficult to accomplish. As you probably know by now, co-working spaces are everywhere around the world. Today, approximately four new co-working spaces are built each day according to Vareconsulting. About half of the time, however, that rate fails.
The most common reason why coworking spaces fail comes down to these factors:
The Operator’s mindset that simply building a fun and funky space alone will attract people. However, a lot of times they often overlook the construction and management of these spaces. A recent study of Global Co-working Conference shows that people judge their physical environment within the first twenty seconds after entering it. Having said that, here are some of my thoughts about common factors regarding successful co-working spaces:
The building is the first thing that visitors will see. Therefore, the building should be in excellent condition, and provide parking spaces.
Urban areas are more successful than locations in suburban areas. Although having the space in a suburban area could make you a leader in those areas without much competition. Take Bangkok for example, Poolsub is doing a great job regarding setting their spaces apart from high density urban area. It’s what makes them unique.
Personally, I’m very keen of this one. Keep in mind that so many different kinds of people will come to these coworking spaces. So it would be wise to plan a layout for both extroverts and introverts.
Ergonomic design is definitely a plus. There isn’t much that’s attractive about sitting on IKEA chairs at work. Because most people will be working on their laptops, co-working spaces should consider maximizing their productivity by having a good selection of furniture. Although, I personally would like to work on a bean bag.
This one can be tricky as they can overdo it which can lead them over-promising and under-delivering. In the beginning stages, just after opening the place, it is not that important to have a fully equipped set of sound set or projector for presentation etc.
Nurturing a co-working community is one of the most powerful marketing tools to attract more people. Many co-working spaces fail because they only consider external factors such as interior design, equipment, and having a fancy coffee area…
After all, co-working space is to “CO” work. Community building will allow people to connect, it will provide an opportunity and place to find likely minded people, and who knows, maybe they will build a new business from your co-working space.
Some interesting statistics about co-working spaces …
According to Global Co-working Survey, the survey predicted that over 10,000 co-working spaces will open by the end of 2016.
D8ii limited offers co-working spaces for startup and small businesses. If you are interested, feel free to drop me an email from contact us. I will be happy to be your new colleague.