The business case for a coworking environment appears strong, if those evaluating its business potential have properly understood and experienced it. I say ‘if’ because few people have heard of coworking, less understand what it really means, and fewer still have had the opportunity to try it out.
All these are barriers to building the business case for coworking among the business community, at least in Northern Ireland. That’s why – in our networking and marketing – we began by explaining what coworking is, and how it differs from offering office space. Then we provide sample coworking days across Northern Ireland (mainly Belfast) so that as many as possible could experience it first-hand.
Those who have experienced coworking reap benefits in terms of networking opportunities, collaborative problem-solving and business referrals. Further, hundreds of blogs and articles herald regular coworking as the future of managed workspace environments. And finally, it seems obvious that a working environment containing carefully chosen businesses from different sectors and sizes will enrich the whole.
Where is the Hard Proof?
But beyond these three fuzzy suggestions – personal anecdotes, business trends, and common sense – are there are more substantial types of evidence on offer for those who want to weigh up the business case for coworking? Where is the hard proof that coworking adds value, market value, monetary value, to any business endeavour?
I offer three kinds of hard evidence that businesses can profit from coworking:
- There is evidence from big surveys that take us well beyond individual anecdotes and stories. If interested, you can contribute to the design of our WabiSabi community and space by completing our Giant Coworking Survey.
- There is evidence from the big boys and businesses who use it, not just the cool crowd cliché.
- There is evidence from big research, providing a scientific, objective grounding for all those positive instincts.
In Part 2 I’ll develop each of these points. View The Business Case for Coworking Spaces – Part 2.