The term coworking space derives from the new work form known as coworking, in which freelancers, creative people and/or start-ups come together to work in public spaces. The rented office spaces are thus referred to as coworking spaces. A coworking space offers its members a fully equipped workplace consisting of printer, scanner, Internet access, individual rooms and meeting rooms, plus flat rates for coffee and water in some cases. In addition, it also pursues a community idea. The aim is to promote continuous dialogue between the members who use a coworking space independently of each other. Coworking spaces evoke values such as community, openness, collaboration and sustainability. They are based on different booking models with weekly or monthly rates. In recent years, coworking spaces have experienced rapid growth.

Why are coworking spaces interesting for companies?

In addition to freelancers, start-ups and creative people, established companies too are increasingly using coworking spaces. There are many reasons for this.


Savings through a central location

Rental prices in big cities are becoming more and more expensive, which adds to the monthly financial outlay for companies. Coworking spaces have an advantage here: They are usually located in very good and central inner-city locations and enable their members to use the office space much more effectively. At the same time, the costs are often lower than usual rents, because companies pay for the premises only for the time they are actually used. In addition, this arrangement offers significantly greater flexibility to companies that want to establish themselves in a new location or start-ups that have just entered the market. Instead of high rents and long notice periods, they can test their market value by renting office space in coworking spaces – and can terminate at short notice if necessary.


Sound infrastructure

Included in the rental fees of a coworking space is the office infrastructure. With everything from furniture and office equipment such as printers, scanners, telephones and beamers to high-speed Internet, state-of-the-art meeting rooms and coffee lounges, coworking spaces offer ideal conditions for working on joint projects or business ideas.


Concentration on the essentials

Modern technology, professional room planning and an open and collaborative atmosphere contribute to productivity and creativity. On the other hand, many distractions await at home or even in a regular office setting. Unfinished household chores or repairs in the home can distract people from the work they should be doing, as can technical problems in the company's office.

What advantages do coworking spaces offer to employees?

For employees, the open and collegial working atmosphere is particularly advantageous. Unlike in a home office, participants in coworking spaces always meet other coworkers. This can be inspiring and motivating at the same time. In open lounges, members can get to know each other and share ideas on various business topics. This often leads to new solutions and ideas for current projects or even business partnerships. Some coworking spaces employ community managers who promote collaboration and support members in networking. For employees who want an undisturbed working environment, individual rooms are provided.

What criteria should you look for when choosing a suitable coworking space?

The hard facts must come first. You will need to clarify the cost of the premises and what you get for what you pay. Some coworking spaces, for example, include extra services such as drinks, snacks or a break room with TV and a pool table, which could have a motivating effect on employees. Depending on the number of employees, the coworking space must also be large enough. And despite all the advantages of coworking, it is also important to know which other people use the same space. Managers need to weigh up whether working together at close quarters with other members would be more of a hindrance or an inspiration. Interested companies should also pay attention to the location of the coworking space and, depending on the sector and business activity, decide on the suitability of a coworking space in, say, an old town location, in an industrial estate or in a technology park. For example, if many of your team travel by public transport, moving to an area that is difficult to reach would make little sense. To be on the safe side, you should also check the opening hours of the coworking space, although these are usually very flexible and often even extend to 24 hours a day.

How can the coworking work model be established in a company?

Communication is everything. This motto can be applied to all restructuring and change processes in corporate contexts – and also to the establishment of coworking arrangements. Since this form of work is still relatively new, especially in Germany, all employees should be properly informed about the concept. Advantages should be clearly highlighted and, especially in the initial phase, it is advisable to gradually familiarize employees with the new working model. If it is financially possible, a coworking space could be rented parallel to existing office space for the first few months. A voluntary group of employees could work from the new premises in a kind of pilot phase and report on their experience. HR departments should also highlight the company’s new form of working in their communication with applicants. In addition to the benefits already mentioned, this positions the company as an innovative and contemporary employer.

Which coworking space models are currently in vogue?

Having conquered the major cities, coworking spaces are now advancing into smaller cities and – a key trend – rural areas too. Increased use by companies is leading to the emergence of spaces that specialize in particular sectors: These spaces are tailored specifically to the needs of the industries they serve. Overall, a shift away from open-plan offices to high-tech locations is emerging. The latter include features such as interactive dashboards, synchronized calendars and a uniform software work interface. In terms of size, contrasting trends can be observed: Due to their greater use by larger companies, coworking spaces are growing on the one hand, while their emergence in smaller rural towns is also causing smaller spaces to spring up. In other words, the size of coworking spaces is as flexible as the model itself.