By the year 2020, over half of the U.S. population is expected to be freelancing either part-time or full-time. Freelancers traditionally work from home or the local coffee shop, but what if you want something cozier than a stuffy corporate office, but more professional than your kitchen table?
To accommodate the influx of freelancers, remote workers, and start-ups that are seeking a place to collaborate, a new type of workspace has emerged--they are called co-working spaces. These offices tend to house a variety of set-ups and offer different work experiences for their users.
If you want to work at a cubicle to get your work done with no distractions? Grab a cubicle in the corner. If you prefer to work at an open-air desk, they usually have those too. You are even able to switch it up everyday if you want!
How do co-working spaces decide which furniture to buy and how to optimize their floor layout? All decisions are geared towards the clients. Freelancers and remote workers are used to an adaptive work environment and if they don’t like a space, they will leave.
Another important factor is that most freelancers are millennials, a generation that values work collaboration. From networking between colleagues to working jointly on a large project, these workers tend to like open office spaces that give them the ability to communicate easily with their peers. The collaborative atmosphere continues outside of work as workers enjoy networking with professionals in their industry. This is why co-working spaces often offer networking nights or host events for members to come together.
Each co-working space will have the same basic ingredients: laptops, desks, and of course, the workers themselves. In true millennial fashion, the market demands even more than this and workspaces are meeting the demand by offering 24-hour access to facilities and high-speed Wi-Fi. Some spots, such as COVO in San Francisco, now include amenities such as an on-site coffee shop, nap rooms, and even a bar for that after work drink.
For anyone who is worried that the traditional office space is declining, have no fear. Even in the co-working spaces full of open desks and third wave coffee shops, you can find a cubicle and sometimes a closed office to use during the day. Members have the option to reserve specific desks and spaces for use as well, such as an individual office or the conference room if you need to set up a meeting.
For optimal results that fit a wide range of worker needs and communication styles, it is best to have a variety of work desks and spaces available. This is why it common for co-working spaces to feature a large open furniture space, while still offering a set of private cubicles to work from.
The work landscape is changing to fit the demands of the market, and analysts predict that this market of freelancers and remote workers will continue to grow exponentially over the next few years.