A year back, Harvard Business Review published an article that spoke of “corp working.” It’s a cousin to coworking, i.e., coworking spaces that house corporations instead of solo workers or start-ups.
The term was coined by Orange, a major telecom company in France, to describe Villa Bonne Nouvelle (VBN). VBN is a coworking space that the telecom giant created for its employees. Half of the co-workers at VBN are freelancers. The other half work for Orange.
This is just one example. If you look at other corners of the world, several multinationals jump up who have embraced coworking. AT&T, SAP, IBM, and Sprint are just some of them. From automakers to tech majors, there is no niche where companies have not given coworking a try.
We take a look at why so many enterprises are adopting coworking.
7 Reasons Big Companies Are Switching To Shared Workplaces
Typically, people believe that enterprises take to coworking like a duck to water to infuse their culture with ‘newness.’ While there is a grain of truth to it, it is not the whole of it. Corporations choose coworking for primarily the same reasons solopreneurs, remote workers, and SMEs do. Coworking helps companies make more connections, give more control to employees, aid in skill learning, and spark inspiration.
1. Transforming The Enterprise Culture
For a lot of firms with a global presence, the biggest drawback is their staid culture. Considering the present agile and digital environment of working, this culture is not conducive to growth.
Operating out of a coworking space teaches these firms a new way of working. They learn how lean and mean start-ups operate on a day to day basis and transform their ideologies accordingly.
2. Building New Contacts
A key benefit of shared workplaces for enterprises is the chance of “serendipitous encounters.” When you mix creative teams from various industrial backgrounds, happy accidents occur. New contacts are built which lead to:
- New clients
- New products or services
- Or a novel way of approaching an old issue
Essentially, coworking allows corporate employees to meet people outside of their team, organisation, and niche.
3. Inspiring Innovative Creations
Innovation is another goal multinationals achieve with shared workplaces. Coworking acts like a hub for diverse stakeholders. When digital nomads rub shoulders with veteran corporates, a unique circumstance is created that inspires creative thinking. It exposes all those involved to fresh opportunities. More often than not, it leads to breakthroughs that disrupt the current landscape.
The likes of Philips and IBM have already leveraged this benefit. By switching to coworking, they tapped into new ideas, shared knowledge with others and improved overall productivity.
4. Flexibility With Employee Schedules
The biggest chunk of the current talent pool is Millennials, followed by Gen Z. Both these generations demand a lot of flexibility from their employers. The elasticity can be in terms of work-hours or schedules. An enterprise headquartered in a traditional office space rarely has the leeway to offer this flexibility. As a result, they have a hard time recruiting young talent.
Working from a shared workplace allows companies to offer a more mouldable employee schedule. Delivering work-hours flexibility doesn’t merely ensure that their employees are happy; it also guarantees that their talent pool is not limited.
5. A Considerable Financial Saving
If time is one crucial aspect that coworking helps save, then the other is funds. Real estate costs are sky-high in places like Mumbai, Pune, and Bengaluru. There are only a handful of companies who wish to tie finances in permanent office spaces.
Coworking, comparatively, is far more pocket-friendly. The argument becomes even more compelling if part of the team is constantly traveling. For such employees, renting a desk or cabin when they are in town makes more financial sense than leasing a permanent space.
6. Employees Love It
For workers to be 100% productive, they need to be engaged. For employees to be engaged, they need to be happy. Studies have demonstrated, time and again, that coworking makes people happier.
Some enjoy the short commute. Others like the fact that they can clock in at all hours, even in the dead of night. Most say that the sense of autonomy combined with the vibrant décor of shared workplaces makes them feel more connected and, of course, content.
When multinationals choose to operate out of a shared workplace, they take people away from bland, nondescript and greige environments. They provide them access to a space that promotes communication and collaboration. Because of this, employees become more satisfied and healthier.
Coworking Works For Business Of All Sizes
More and more enterprises are asking their employees to embrace coworking. A few do so to better understand the start-up ecosystem and the gig economy. A handful does so for future-proofing. They hope to explore what products, services, and expertise will work in the coming time or where the entire industry is going. Most do it to boost worker happiness, amplify team building and restructure their business.
Whatever the catalyst be to embracing coworking, one fact is indisputable. The shared workplace revolution is not limited to gig workers or small businesses. It has taken hold of employees of large companies who wish to explore beyond the rigid boundaries of their organisation.