Redefining the workspace
The economic volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has definitely taken a toll on the world, and while employees took their work home, one thing became certain: workspaces had to be redefined and companies had to adapt accordingly.
A coworking space is known for being a modernized workplace that offers all sorts of amenities for freelancers, new start-ups, or small ventures, and even much bigger corporations are starting to integrate their businesses into coworking environments. Such tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon have already relocated a number of their employees into co-working structures, while Google built an entire campus “GooglePlex” that shares the same philosophy as those who operate coworking spaces. Companies like Bank of America, IBM, Ernst & Young, Facebook, Zappos, Max Mara, HSBC, and many others have also been following the lead.
The global tendency of using shared workspaces has also had an impact on the Ukrainian market. Right now Ukraine counts 77 coworking places, 44 of which are located in the capital. One of the founders of such a space, Coworking Platforma, which is the biggest coworking space in Ukraine, believes that this number will only increase in the future. Even now as the lockdown gradually eases its restrictions, services of coworking are very much in demand:
This entails that bigger companies operating from coworking spaces have the option to scale their size according to their requirements without dealing with the difficulties of moving to a new office and readjusting it. Coworking Platforma offers customizable branded offices for all kinds of businesses. This service is especially in demand among companies with more than 100 employees and in terms of the Ukrainian market, big companies such as Nvidia, DTEK, Business Constructor have already merged into coworking spaces.
Photo.1 Office of NVIDIA for about 100 people in Coworking Platforma Leonardo (Kyiv)
So how exactly does it work?
A team of specialists consisting of a civil engineer, interior designer, and project manager is available on the ground to create an individual office for a given company. Even a separate kitchen may be included in the technical assignment. Once approved, it takes just one week for the company to receive a set of keys to their brand-new tailor-made office.
Pic.1. Floor plan for 93 employees office at Coworking Platforma Fortuna with personal reception, 2 offices, open space and coffee point.
One of the misconceptions linked to coworking spaces is that they are solely designed for those working in the tech sector. This notion emerged because IT companies were among the first ones to come across the problem that required them to either quickly increase or decrease their size and working staff that would correlate with the needs of the project at hand. So even though it may be true to some extent, it does not mean that coworking does not fit companies or entrepreneurs from other fields of work. Coworking spaces prove to be efficient outside the creative industry and can be a home to classic businesses, consulting, or logistics spheres.
Coworking Platforma does not just provide a comfortably furnished workspace, but it also provides a range of services that are available for clients on the premises: a staff of a community manager, receptionist, administrative manager, logistic and supply manager, an IT manager, as well as security and cleaning personnel. The staff is on location 24/7 to make sure that all demands are met. Office management is a factor that requires a lot of time, effort, and costs for a company to sustain on its own and Platforma offers to unburden managers from these wearisome tasks – companies don’t have to think about providing office equipment or whether there is enough paper in the printer machine.
Things like aircon maintenance, heating, beverages, and snacks are all included in the price of 1 workspace. Alleviating companies from these chores allow them to instead allocate the preserved energy and capital into matters that would strengthen and enhance the business. In contrast to traditional business centers, places like Platforma provide their clients with a customer service that covers their needs from all sides – they resolve problems internally, rather than seeking external services from third parties. Yet the most appealing factor that constitutes a coworking space lies not in affordable spaces and an abundance of services, but in the sense of becoming a part of a greater community. A coworking space embodies an array of individuals who all have distinct work and life experiences, varying skill sets, and knowledge in their fields of expertise – all of which create a dynamic and diverse territory to explore. A way that Coworking Platforma enhances these social interactions is by creating external and internal weekly events.
If you have a membership at Platforma you get access to activities that focus on personal self-improvement (fitness classes, language lessons, workshops), functions that help you enhance your business (networking, promoting your work in the marketplace, HR assistance, creating collaborations among the residents), as well as great recreational events.
As an example, just by being a member of Coworking Platforma, you obtain access to three fitness classes a week, which in some cases may waive the need of purchasing a gym membership. The environment of coworking places gives birth to new business ideas while also providing a well-balanced lifestyle that is in and of itself innovative and creative. Overall, it has been a growing consensus that a positive social atmosphere is one of the key factors in forming the psychological well-being of individuals that results in enhanced mental performance and boosted productivity.
While it is unclear how things will unfold for coworking spaces for the rest of 2020, future growth is most likely inevitable. According to Coworking Resources and Coworker, the number of coworking spaces is projected to reach close to 20,000 next year and surpass 40,000 by 2024. As we have witnessed time and time again, various factors can cause certain sectors to shrink, whilst others flourish, and it’s vital to be able to readjust to markets quickly.
Coworking spaces will certainly influence the office real estate market and business centers are going to become more customer-oriented and flexible. Today’s hectic world calls for big businesses to be flexible and to be able to adapt to new realities fast, without risking financial losses. Big businesses have already discovered the benefits and valuable opportunities that coworking spaces provide and the Ukrainian market is not one to fall behind.
While coworking spaces might not work for everyone, they are certainly redefining what it means to be a part of office life and what it could potentially become in the days to come. Whether you are a creative nomad or you represent a big company, coworking spaces may offer something more than what a classic office entails, and it’s an option certainly worth exploring, especially in such a risky and dynamic marketplace.