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Co-Working: Engaging and Inspiring Teams With Collaborative Workplaces While start-ups and individuals find co-working immensely convenient and cost-effective, today large organizations are adopting it to fuel innovation, diversity and expansion.

By Harsh Binani

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Zastolskiy Victor | Shutterstock

Co-working is a collaborative, flexible, yet self-directed and independent work style. Freelancers, independent contractors, remote workers, and people who travel frequently tend to choose co-working spaces. While start-ups and individuals find co-working immensely convenient and cost-effective, today large organizations are adopting it to fuel innovation, diversity and expansion.

In recent years, the Asia-Pacific, including India, has seen significant demand for co-working spaces (a trend that started in the US and Europe initially), and this continues to increase.

How are co-working spaces different?

Co-working spaces have become a popular choice because of the many advantages they have over traditional workspaces.

Affordability: Co-working spaces offer members the workspace and amenities of a fully-equipped office at affordable prices along with networking and collaboration opportunities with like-minded individuals.

Sense of community: Co-working helps avoid the isolation of a home office or a coffee shop. It also offers the chance for meaningful interactions and connections with others in the space. The members of a co-working space like being in the company of similar people. Co-working space providers organize various corporate skilling workshops that bring together people from different walks of life and equip them with the latest skills of the industry. They also hold various recreational activities and wellness programmes to keep their employees engaged and motivated.

Flexibility: Many co-working spaces operate 24x7, offering a wide choice of hours and schedules. People get the chance to do more meaningful work, as they experience more control over their time. This flexibility extends to expenses and amenities also. Most co-working spaces have their offices across multiple cities and offer a standardized experience in all their centres, which enables companies to expand their geographical footprint, without any hassles.

Access to resources and networking opportunities: Co-working spaces often have the best minds or experts in their fields. They offer easy access to potential clients, partners, and mentors, and can seek their advice and support. Members typically experience less competition and more collaboration.

Work-life balance: Co-working helps members maintain a work routine while keeping to their schedule. Co-working spaces today have a sports arena, gymnasiums, and break out rooms for members to rewind and de-stress. They also have exclusive partnerships for transportation, food and beverage, and laundry services, among others, for providing maximized comfort to the employees.

Co-working and mental health

Everyone wants a harmonious and positive work environment. They wish to meet and associate with friendly and stimulating people there. Co-working helps alleviate most of the stress related to usual work environments and fosters good connections among like-minded people.

Moreover, most co-working spaces organize exciting events and educational opportunities for their users' benefit. The member engagement activities range from corporate training and grooming sessions to hobby clubs to seminars on entrepreneurship to dance, yoga, and meditation sessions to art and craft workshops.

Co-working spaces now provide an opportunity for a healthy work-life balance with an array of partnerships that individuals and companies can leverage at the click of a button such as a creche, concierge services, food and hospitality, employee engagement activities and recreational events, among others. Such facilities under one roof relieve stress and increase comfort among members.

Shared space operators are leaving no stone unturned to provide managed and customizable offices with world-class facilities in a collaborative community environment, to ensure employees get an extremely well-managed, inspiring workspace that adds to productivity and reduces attrition.

Harsh Binani

Co-founder, Smartworks

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