The first modern-day coworking space opened back in 2005 in San Francisco. Shortly after, many other coworking spaces followed, opening to offer working space for freelancers and entrepreneurs who used to mostly work from home or coffee shops. Fast-forward 13 years and coworking is still around, although with a different value proposition and business model.
While it used to be that freelancers, entrepreneurs, and startups were the main users of these collaborative spaces; the trend has shifted to include medium-sized businesses and large corporations. Corporate coworking has been around for a few years now, though it wasn’t until recently that it became a widespread trend across the world for companies to incorporate coworking spaces into their real estate strategy.
There are several reasons why corporates started to embrace the coworking movement. One of the most attractive value propositions of coworking today is the flexibility that these spaces offer and their ability to connect people and bring them together. Yet, there’s more. One of the main reasons why large companies are partnering with coworking providers is to provide a workspace experience that contributes to employee wellness.
Wellness is more than eating healthy and having an active lifestyle–it’s about mental health, about productivity, and about experience. As the lines of work and life continue to blur, companies need to find creative ways in which to make the workspace a destination for their employees; a place where they want to be and they will be empowered to be and perform their best.
Coworking spaces offer several amenities that contribute to wellness in the workspace, and companies have taken different approaches to this. While some large enterprises have opened their own coworking spaces, others have partnered with existing operators in order to manage their space.
Wellness is one key value proposition, but so is innovation. Change comes fast and often in today’s tech-driven world, and companies need to be resilient and innovative to remain competitive in a global market. Innovation can be powered by ‘healthy collision’, when people are forced to interact with one another, sharing and challenging existing ideas. Coworking spaces, because they bring together individuals from various industries and lines of work, provide a perfect opportunity for company employees to mingle and ‘collide’ with one another.
This also serves another purpose: attracting and retaining talent–one of the most common challenges most companies face today. Providing an attractive workspace, combined with the opportunity to work with the best and brightest of different industries can be a great motivator for a person to join and stay with one company. On the corporate side, this type of arrangement will aid them in keeping an eye out on talent, startups that they might be interested in acquiring, and help their current team create creative products, services, or solutions.