The way we work in, and view the office has changed. It’s reported that 26% of US employees are working remotely currently, and by 2025 they anticipate over 36 million Americans working remotely. The rise in remote work—largely in part to the pandemic and global shutdown—has caused a decrease in the number of employees in the office each day. The result? Empty office spaces, downsizing, or return to work mandates putting strain on both the employees and leaders. In this post, we explore how coworking office spaces might help, and why collaborative furniture should be included.
Coworking Office Space
Coworking space is a flexible workspace for utilization by several different companies. Simply put, a shared workspace. The first coworking spaces appeared in the early 2000s. These spaces were utilized primarily by self-employed freelancers and web designers searching for an alternative to working from crowded coffee shops, business centers, and the distractions of a home office.
The goal is to reduce costs, by sharing some of the overhead. For example, utilities, maintenance, secretarial staff, and cleaning services to name just a few. Further, if companies need similar high-cost resources, like 3d printers or digital interactive display walls for planning with remote workers, these expenses could be shared. Many offices face a reduction in the space needed to accommodate their own employees on a daily. And coworking spaces can literally fill that void.
Coworking spaces are ideal for social interaction and to combat the loneliness of remote work.
While coworking spaces are usually thought of as a solution for companies, they are also a solution for individuals. Many remote and hybrid employees are under extreme stress and isolation, according to a recent survey from ServiceNow and ThoughtLab. Utilizing coworking spaces can provide the in-person social interaction that is missing when working from home. These spaces are on the rise, so if a reduced commute is your favorite perk of remote work, chances are you can find a coworking space close by.
Furniture to Include
Similar to the setup of a hybrid workplace, a coworking space should have multiple zones. Some people utilize these spaces for a break from the noise. Others seek collaboration. Companies may have large meetings or breakout sessions. Additionally, both companies and individuals might require individual workspaces for focused work.
Acoustic furniture or individual workstations create spaces for focused or detailed work. While acoustic furniture is designed to reduce the overall noise, there are some items like acoustic privacy pods that are designed to largely eliminate distractions.
Similar to the setup of a hybrid workplace, a coworking space should have multiple zones.
Ergonomic furniture helps provide a level of comfort that might not be available at home. Things like adjustable height desks, and ergonomic chairs can help not only reduce the strain of sitting all day, but improve productivity as well.
Include furniture that is flexible. Often referred to as soft architecture. These flexible furniture pieces provide the ability to adapt to whatever lies around the corner. This allows coworking spaces to be responsive to the needs of the people utilizing the space.
And while all of these furniture items are important, most people choose coworking spaces for collaboration and interaction. Collaborative furniture is a must.
Collaboration comes in many shapes and sizes. So it is important to offer plenty of collaborative furniture options. Here are the top collaboration activities in a coworking space, and furniture to make it happen:
- Breakout Sessions – During large meetings, it is difficult to make individual contributions. Quiet people with great ideas don’t share. Breakout sessions allow smaller groups to plan, strategize or brainstorm. Comfortable seating and furniture pieces that can be easily rearranged are ideal for these areas.
- Meetings – Conference-style tables can be used for either meetings or as individual workspaces. Often available in either sit, stand, or adjustable height varieties this multipurpose collaboration furniture piece makes a great addition. Add various-sized tables to combine or separate for changing group sizes.
- Staying Connected – Most people utilizing coworking spaces bring a laptop with them. Include furniture that has plugs and ports to make staying connected easier. Small group meeting tables with screens create a great way to connect with other team members working remotely or for group training. Acoustic meeting pods are a great space for small or virtual meetings.
- Socializing – Coworking spaces are ideal for social interaction and to combat the loneliness of remote work. Collaboration furniture for social interaction should be comfortable and easily rearranged. Include a mix of comfy lounge seating that still allows for relaxation and easily rearranged seating with laptop tables thrown in to keep work on track.
And while coworking spaces might not be an ideal solution for your business, the concepts in this post can be applied to your hybrid office design. Creating a space that is flexible and based on the needs of a hybrid team works well for coworking offices, and for any office designed for the modern workforce.
Find our selection of collaborative furniture for the modern office at StrongProject.