Coworking is fast becoming a mainstream workspace solution. It's flexible, collaborative, cost-efficient, and it's taking the world by storm. Having first taken root in large cities and independent spaces, coworking has now become a staple of many serviced office environments too, including all 8 UBC business centres.
Our own take on coworking, 'Venture', combines the companionship of shared workspace with private desks, professional on-site receptionist services and flexible memberships. Best of all, UBC clients can use one or all Venture locations under the same membership, enabling business owners to choose the workspace - and the region - that best suits their requirements.
In December, we went one step further. In addition to our regular full-time membership, we added a new day rate known as 'Venture Flexi 10', which gives users up to 10 days' coworking usage per month in any UBC location they choose.
Now that we've integrated Venture Coworking into all of our serviced office centres, UBC clients can pick and choose how they operate their workspace. With that in mind, take a look at these 10 alternative ways to use a UBC coworking space. And if you've got any more to add, be sure to drop us a line on Twitter or Facebook.
Many freelancers and small business owners use coworking spaces full-time as a refreshing change to the isolation of working from home. In a shared office environment where you're working shoulder-to-shoulder with other entrepreneurs, coworking provides an invaluable community filled with knowledge, skills and insights - the ideal place to foster innovation and learn on the go.
If your team is frequently out on the road, a flexible coworking membership provides a great place to 'land' when you're in the area. During those times you can catch up with admin, print off documents, network with others, or simply get your head down and work! UBC's 'Venture Flexi 10' coworking membership provides 10 days per month of coworking access and allows members to use any UBC location they choose, making it ideal for mobile workers and travelling employees.
School holidays are great news for kids; less so for entrepreneurial parents. Distractions, noise, interrupted phone calls, sluggish bandwidth... it's nearly impossible to work productively when you're sharing your workspace with excitable youngsters. Instead, trade your home office for a coworking space during school holidays. You'll get more done in less time, leaving your evenings and weekends free to spend with the family.
For growing businesses, it can be tricky to gauge when is the right time to expand your office space. During busy times or periods of transition, a coworking space can provide the ideal stop-gap. For instance, seasonal businesses who have rollercoaster patterns of busy and quiet periods can house short-term temp staff in a coworking space. Likewise, if you're looking to expand but you're not quite ready for a larger serviced office, you can use the coworking space as an overflow solution until you're ready to scale up.
Let's say you're got a huge 6-month project on the go. You're expecting colleagues from other branch offices along with agency staff and freelancers to pop in at various times over the next 6 months; but space is tight. Rather than sitting on each other's laps, take out a coworking membership and secure a number of private desks in a shared office, available anytime you need it.
Argh! You've just been informed that the MD is in town and wants to work from your office for the day. But all your desks are taken. What do you do? Before you hit the panic button, decamp a willing volunteer from your team (preferably one with tidy desk habits) into your on-site coworking space, and house the MD at the vacant desk. Problem solved.
Some corporates are now using coworking as an informal 'training' opportunity. According to a whitepaper by office furniture company Haworth: "Co-working can offer high potential for training, and its positive effects still are largely underestimated." In practice, this means that employees who spend a period of time in a coworking space alongside professionals from similar fields can learn from them by asking for advice, comparing notes, collaborating, and brainstorming ideas.
Often, larger firms house employees in coworking spaces specifically to stimulate creativity and innovation amongst its team members. The positive drive and enthusiasm associated with coworking users is contagious, and corporates are keen to tap into those creative channels. Therefore, some corporates are purposefully giving employees the chance to work in coworking spaces alongside independent professionals, where they can collaborate with others to generate new ideas.
If you're looking to expand into a new town or city, it certainly helps to spend time working there first. Set up shop in a local coworking space and get to know local entrepreneurs, understand the market, and get a feeling for local demand. With UBC, a Venture or Flexi 10 membership lets you work from any one of our 8 coworking locations, from Southampton right up to Warrington. It's a great way to put your finger on the pulse of the local market before making the leap.
Coworking spaces can provide a productive, creative, and positive atmosphere. Research, such as this study by Harvard Business Review, suggests that people who use coworking spaces are happier than those in traditional offices. Wellbeing is a vital factor in motivation and productivity at work, so given the choice, wouldn't you rather work somewhere that makes you feel happy?