Although the traditional office model has been the standard for work spaces for many decades, the trend of community work spaces has become quite popular in recent years.
A coworking space is one that allows employees to get work done in large, open spaces without encumbering walls, cubicles or offices.
A coworking office may be laid out to allow all departments to operate in one shared space, while other designs may incorporate separate sections for different departments or teams.
Some offices are built with the concept of an open work space in mind, but most existing office spaces have to be renovated in order to achieve a shared work space as they were not built with the concept in mind.
For some business owners, this may be a simple move that means taking down cubicle dividers, but for others, it can require major demolition as walls are removed and ceilings are raised.
While it would be easier to simply cram everyone into existing office space, this generally does not bode well for success in an open office.
The point of the concept is to break down barriers and allow for enough open space to move about freely in order to collaborate. If employees are stacked on top of one another, workers may begin to feel confined and can lose focus as team members.
What’s The Appeal Of A Shared Working Space?
The general appeal of the shared work space is that it affords a greater level of communication and collaboration. Because employees are not confined to walled offices or cubicles, team members can easily communicate, and communication is often faster.
Additionally, the shared work space can generate a greater sense of shared purpose as employees are able to feel more like team members rather than isolated workers.
Of course, the concept does have its share of drawbacks, particularly in industries where employee focus plays a big role in daily tasks.
For example, web developers have voiced concerns that open office designs lead to too many distractions. Harvard Business Review conducted a study on the coworking space concept and found that noise levels and visual distractions can actually lead to lowered productivity in some fields.
This doesn’t mean that the shared office concept doesn’t work, but it may suggest that the best coworking spaces are the ones that are tailored to each individual employer.
Additionally, employers need to consider the needs of individual employees. Some people thrive in a work environment where open communication and fast access to other employees can be obtained, but others work best in environments where privacy and concentration are valued.
Will Sharing Office Spaces Remain Popular?
For employers wondering whether the coworking office trend will continue, the answer can often be found simply by taking a look at local real estate.
You’ll probably find a number of listings that read “shared office space for rent” as even developers are now incorporating the demand for coworking spaces into the designs of new commercial properties.
One factor that may determine the future of the open office is remote work.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more businesses are turning to remote work or work-from-home opportunities for employees as opposed to having any kind of office space at all.
This could lead to a decline in open office development, but it could also lead to a decline in office development overall.
Interestingly, remote work opens up the possibility of combining the open office concept with the work-from-home concept by allowing employees to engage with one another in an open and instant way via the Internet.
Virtual meetings can host dozens of workers at once, allowing real-time interaction, presentations and discussions. It also provides the ability to seek privacy and focus for employees who need these aspects of a job in order to complete their work.