HOW COWORKING IMPACTS INNOVATION FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND STARTUPS

Today’s professional coworking sites attract a diverse array of companies and
individuals as members. Most also provide chic environments with such amenities
as 24/7 access, custom coffees and teas, honor bars and cafes, high-tech security,
private offices, workout facilities, high-end furnishings, social and networking
events, learning opportunities and much more.

Coworking is an arrangement in which several workers from different companies share an office space, allowing cost savings and convenience through the use of common infrastructures such as reception, equipment, utilities, and services. The benefits of coworking are myriad. As demands on workplace flexibility continue to increase, corporations are turning to coworking to solve the problem of rising real estate costs and the need to stay agile

The self-employed knowledge worker sector is growing too, bringing with it the
need for hubs to provide social interaction, alternative locations than the cramped
office desk or coffee shop, and clusters of interaction for connectivity.
Collaboration is also crucial to innovation, and it’s precisely this element that coworking provides. The need to build links has always been a key part of business, but open innovation speeds up development; this means networking with people both inside and outside of your organization, making coworking a clear contender. Creating an incubator culture through coworking also has an impact on the speed of growth and success rate of startups. Coworking members grow through collaboration with the space operator where opportunities allow startups, the coworking solution ticks all the boxes of flexible, affordable space, and a creative hub to foster new ideas and new business.

The reasons to join a coworking space are mainly to access the space itself, the direct contact, the events, and the sense of the community or “home” that all of this provides. Ross and Ressia (2015) expand those reasons by considering four
aspects that make a coworking space appealing:
1. Flexible, precarious working conditions associated with a broader macro-social economic reality.

  1. The attractiveness of flexible alternatives to either working from home or a corporate office.
    3.Opportunity for social interaction that brings also the benefit of better separation of working and home activities.
    4. Opportunity to participate in collaborative projects and put related skills into practice.

The good neighbors and good partners proposition suggests there are different levels of collaboration in coworking spaces. The cost-driven level is about the rental of specific physical spaces, where building a community is non-existent and sharing knowledge is a secondary goal. The resource level is about a common physical space that attracts people or organizations that look for a mix of personal convenience and socialization advantages. In the relational level, the focus is on the synergistic effect of collaboration from a community shaped by a diverse social network of people with both strong and weak ties that choose to share resources

serendipitously while in close proximity with each other. It often starts with a
community, not space, and it may take some time to build.

Creating an incubator culture through coworking also has an impact on the speed of growth and success rate of startups. Coworking members grow through collaboration with the space operator where opportunities allow. This gives startups the chance to showcase their businesses to a wider audience that they may not
otherwise have had access to it. Growth during the early stages of a company often relies on introductions to new clients or contacts, all of which take precious time out of your day to create those connections if you are working from a coffee shop or private office coworking offers many components that are essential to innovation: collaboration, open network input, a safe space for ideation and in many cases, mentoring and support.

Coworking can prove to be very convenient if you want to connect with talented and enthusiastic people from the same industry. These people can then introduce you to potential clients and even investors. And if you find another company in your coworking office whose employees’ knowledge and work ethics you really admire, you could even suggest working on a new project together. An exchange of fresh and original ideas from two different organizations can have very exciting results. For young startups, initial growth is largely dependent on the ability to find clients and gain new contacts. It’s not that easy to accomplish this while sitting at home or in a coffee shop, roaming through random LinkedIn profiles. And in this context, there aren’t many better places than coworking spaces to meet new people who can help. Small businesses and startups have a great opportunity to inspire growth, encourage innovation, and boost creativity among their employees by going for coworking offices instead of traditional offices or telecommuting. There are several good reasons to make this choice. Feeling that you’re a part of a community can give genuine meaning to your work and an additional reason for every employee to get up in the morning.

Finally, having a good atmosphere around your team is crucial for carrying out everyday tasks. Namely, as much as 86% of employees blame a lack of communication and collaboration for workplace failures. Have this in mind when picking your team and the right environment for them. Coworking spaces offer a dynamic and vibrant environment that can boost your team’s enthusiasm and stimulate their creativity. The concept of coworking perfectly fits the way that up-and-coming, promising businesses of the future will work. If you’re carefully choosing the right place with the right people surrounding you, coworking can be of great benefit to your startup and motivate your employees to develop fresh, groundbreaking ideas.

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