WeWork is coming to Australia. Their spokesperson may not confirm the information of yet, but the company has been actively scanning the Sydney property market. WeWork is a US startup that develops offices to rent out to small businesses. In simpler terms, it builds coworking spaces, much like those already offered.

WeWork’s success is reflective of the increase in the number of coworking spaces to counteract the negatives of traditional office spaces. Traditional office spaces, featuring separate cubicles, rigid architecture and limited interaction, have created unfavourable workplaces. As a consequence, productivity, innovation and employee wellbeing has dwindled. Unhappy workers are leaving for more conducive work environments.

Coworking has become a bit of a hip trend specifically amongst the startup community, offering cheap rent and access to a network of like-minded business folk. Sydney, in particular, offers some of the best like Tank Stream Labs, where the LawPath office is located. But that’s not to say it’s the right option for all businesses.

Whether your business is best suited to a coworking space or not, replicating some of its features may help improve your overall working environment.

1. Split the bill

It may be early days for your business. At this stage, you are low on money, working with only few employees and unsure about the future. The commitment of a long term commercial lease and the additional cost of an office should be avoided.

Yet working virtually from a cafe or home comes with distractions and you are considering options for an affordable office space.

Coworking spaces are cheaper than traditional offices because the overheads costs are split. Likewise, you may consider joining with another company to split the rent of a small office.

2. Be open

The open plan model of coworking spaces ensures a healthy work ethic. If your boss is sitting next to you, it is unlikely you will slack off. In the same way, your boss will be held to a higher standard of honesty under your watch.

However, your team may not always benefit from an open plan. Your members may be distracted by the noise and affected by the absence of privacy?

An open door policy or glass pane offices may be the reconciling solution at your workplace.

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Open conference and meeting rooms. Photograph by Adam B. Auel.

 

3. Share the love

Coworking spaces are more than just open offices; they are ecosystems. They offer a network of easily accessible skills and knowledge. For example, LawPath provides legal services to some of the neighbouring startups at Tank Stream Labs. In particular, if you are a small team, at its early stages, interacting with people beyond your company’s five members is innately beneficial. You can share ideas, seek advice and meet new people.

Likewise, you may like to pick an office space close to or even in the same building as other small businesses or companies providing relevant services. To foster a community within your business and enable innovation, consider introducing a weekly free lunch, a snazzy common room and networking events with like minded businesses.

4. Buy a ping pong table

Coworking spaces are (above all?) appealing for the fun and comfortable premises they offer. They offer everything your dream office would be. For example, some of the coolest offices include Adobe’s in house climbing wall, Autodesk’s relaxation room with hammocks and Tank Stream Labs’ ping pong table.

Investing in facilities shows that you care about your employees. You are effectively increasing their business loyalty and their productivity. After all, you know what they say, ‘give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; give a man a ping pong table and you feed him for a lifetime.’

 

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An in house climbing wall. Courtesy of Adobe Systems Inc.

Are you part of a coworking space? What are your workplace’s perk? Let us know what you think about new workplace developments by tagging us #lawpath or @lawpath.

Dominic Woolrych

Dominic is the CEO of LawPath, dedicating his days to making legal easier, faster and more accessible to businesses. Dominic is a recognised thought-leader in Australian legal disruption, and was recognised as a winner of the 2015 Australian Legal Innovation Index.