Helen Donovan is the Community Manager at Tobacco Dock Workspaces, and passionate about building a buzzing co-working atmosphere, encouraging networking, collaboration and professional development.
The rise of co-working spaces has shaped the way we work. No longer do you have to choose from working from home or in a more rigid corporate office. These bustling, adaptable spaces mean business when it comes to making your company at home. Businesses are rapidly realising that co-working spaces nurture positive business growth and increased well-being of their team members as well as plenty more benefits besides.
So, what is a co-working space? How do co-working spaces work and how can you and your business benefit from a collaborative workspace?
What is a co-working space?
The name conjures images of an open plan space, with a mixture of businesses and freelancers working side by side. Of course, this is one possible set-up, but the term covers a whole array of set-ups, from your own private office, semi-private offices and workstations. A co-working space offers a dynamic office environment for companies and individuals, allowing them to benefit from a whole host of benefits in a cost-effective and convenient manner.
What’s in it for me?
Whether you’re a start-up, a scaling company, or a freelancer looking for a professional base from which to work, here’s a list of our top ten reasons why a co-working space might suit you.
1. Ease of use
You’ve got enough to concentrate on without having to worry about the printer toner or the office WiFi provision. A serviced co-working space takes care of the details leaving you free to work on the things that matter to your business. Dramatically reduce your overhead costs, with utilities and service providers included in your rates. Printing, copying and scanning facilities are already in place and don’t need any set-up or servicing from you.
2. A workspace to be proud of
This new breed of office space is a far cry from the impersonal buildings of yesteryear. Position yourself in a workspace which you can be proud to call yours and which is an attractive destination for your clients.
These dynamic workspaces mean that there’s no need to spend your entire day chained to a desk. Spend some time at your workstation, make use of the sofa areas for a catch-up and use the meeting rooms to gather your team.
And when it comes to sustenance, forget soapy tea and vending machines, think proper coffee and healthy food in places you’d visit even if you weren’t at work. For example, our own Dock St Bar has a constantly changing seasonal menu, offering treats such as Asian salad, homemade pumpkin soup and smashed avocado on toast. It also runs twice weekly Happy Hours with 2-for-1 on all drinks, providing a fun place to ease yourself into the weekend or to get to know the others working here.
3. Ready, tech, go
Getting the IT infrastructure up and running ready for your business endeavours is costly and time-consuming. You can bypass this completely when you work from a collaborative workspace as all the technology is ready and included, from high-speed, high-capacity WiFi, to etherports in the meeting rooms. Security is also in place, with swipe cards and automated check-in systems or general reception to receive your visitors.
4. Ready to move in
Forget hauling your office chair and desk across the city. Co-working spaces have all your furniture ready and in place. If you’re a flexible freelancer, all you need to bring is your laptop! This makes it an extremely quick process – the printers are set, WiFi is humming away, the phone lines are ready for your calls. Just plug in and get to work!
5. Space to grow
The flexibility of co-working spaces makes them ideally suited to scaling businesses. Whether you’re just starting out and want a single workstation, or if you’re looking for a base which can accommodate an expanding team, you’ll be able to grow into the space. This flexibility means that you can increase your workforce without the disruption of an office move, and that your new recruits can get straight to work.
6. Level up your productivity
A successful co-working space breaks you free from the stuffiness of a corporate office, while offering greater structure than your home office. Freelancers in particular report greater levels of productivity following joining a creative co-working space, drawing motivation and input from their proximity to other hardworking individuals. Having all the co-working facilities at your fingertips means you save valuable time not having to travel around looking for meeting places or suitable venues for networking.
The flexibility of the spaces themselves also encourages greater productivity. When tenants need to tackle projects that demand a high level of focus, our desks and smaller meeting rooms are a great place to find some privacy. Others may prefer a more relaxed work approach and can make use of the comfortable seating areas or Dock St Bar. This range of choice gives employees a greater level of focus and efficiency.
7. (Net)Work it
Being part of a collaborative workspace means that you are working alongside a host of other professionals with complementary skills. Co-working spaces are terrific springboards for collaboration and networking which is beneficial whether you’re a freelancer, tiny company or rapidly growing business.
Co-working tenants report significant increase the number of new clients in response to relationships they’re nurtured at their workplace. Collaborative workspaces give your business terrific exposure to a wide number and range of potential clients as well as helping you to find people to work with. Looking for someone to carry out some branding work? They could be on the sofa opposite!
8. Location, location, location
Co-working spaces offer office space in areas of the city which would otherwise prove too costly for growing businesses to hire. Attract the brightest talent and boost credibility with your clients by making your business’ home in a great area, close to public transport, restaurants and shops.
Our home at Tobacco Dock, for example, puts you just a single tube stop from Bank and places the buzzing St Katherine’s Docks right on your doorstep. It also comes with the major advantage of putting you right at the centre of London’s most exciting events. From live music events to food festivals to conferences from the world’s leading brands, you can play as hard as you work!
Our tenants also benefit from our rooftop bar, Skylight, which offers spectacular views of the city skyline, as well as cocktails, street food and seasonal activities such as ice-skating and croquet. It makes the perfect spot to raise a glass to the weekend on a Friday night, to entertain clients, but also a beautiful spot from which to work from your laptop! Our lucky tenants get 20% off their drinks bills too.
Many traditional offices spaces are simply a place for getting a job done and this can make it tricky to foster a sense of work/life balance. Co-working spaces work to create a. co-working community among their tenants and will often have exercise or yoga classes on-site, allow dogs or offer other perks to make your office a happier and more relaxed environment. For example, here at Tobacco Dock, we offer twice weekly yoga classes and Happy Hours as well as offering our tenants generous discounts at our rooftop bar, Skylight. We have a regular calendar of events to encourage our tenants to mingle and get to know each other as well as to enjoy themselves, with quiz nights, charity coffee mornings and even pumpkin carving competitions!
No wasted time
When it comes to business, we understand the need to be spry. Co-working spaces help you to keep pace with your business, by enabling you to easily expand your team without breaking step. There’s no need to work through inflexible leases on more traditional offices, or to spend precious time searching for a bigger space – it’s all available at your co-working space.
Come and see us!
We’d love to talk to you more about the ways our co-working spaces can help your business grow. Get in touch and we’d be delighted to show you around and talk about your requirements over a coffee!