19 Mar 3 Major Coworking Trends to Inform Your Flexible Workspace Design in 2019
Coworking spaces are evolving to match the changing needs of today’s workforce. Here’s how to take inspiration from global office operators and furnish your workspace around what workers want.
Today’s workplace is miles away from the cubicles of 20 years ago. Thanks to incredible technology advancements, stunning office design developments and a new generation of workers, we’ve moved away from autonomous and hierarchical offices to open, collaborative and communal workspaces with a focus on community and the mutual benefits to be had through shared working.
More recently though, the coworking market has gone through its own unexpected changes. Once an industry devoted to freelancers and startups needing temporary office space, it now attracts businesses in every industry and of every size with the facilities and flexibility to engage their employees, stay ahead of competition and innovate faster.
So how have coworking providers adapted the design of their offices to match the evolving needs of today’s workforce? How have they made use of office furniture, colours, materials and space to increasingly attract members? We’ve explored the latest trends in the approach, design and furniture of global office operators to see how they’re creating workspaces for the people in 2019.
1. Hybrid workspaces with private offices and coworking desks
More than 70 per cent of businesses seeking flexible workspaces want private office space over open plan coworking desks. When coworking first kicked off in the 2000s, it was the domain of people who chose coworking to free themselves of the solitary confines of home working. Now, however, businesses of all sizes and industries are opting for coworking and the result is that open plan desks have become less desirable than private offices. While it might sound contradictory, shape your coworking space around private lockable offices and wait to see your bottom line benefit.
If you can’t afford to fully redesign or refit your workspace, there are plenty of more affordable ways to change the layout of your office. Office dividers are a great way to do this as they provide privacy when needed but can be removed at a moment’s notice. Portable and adjustable office partitions come in a wide range of materials and colours so you can find an office divider that blends in with your workspace’s signature style. Smaller desk dividers are also a great way to ensure privacy of work between people using coworking desks.
2. Formal (yet beautiful) meeting rooms
One of the most in-demand amenities for businesses is a good range of meeting rooms within the workspace. Many people use coworking spaces because they grant a professional image when they meet with clients, while others require conferencing technology to call partners and other branches. In fact, as many professional services firms moved to coworking space last year as IT, digital and software companies. Corporate companies in Australia also increased their coworking footprint by 20 per cent on the previous year. Besides your members, meeting facilities also create a significant outside revenue stream for office operators when professionals working nearby need to hire a venue.
So meeting rooms are a must-have in a coworking space, but how many do you need and how do you differentiate each space? Most coworking centres offer a formal boardroom and a more relaxed meeting room and then, if they have space, incorporate smaller meeting areas in breakout spaces throughout the office. When designing a boardroom, you want to make it the most formal space in the whole office. It’s where people will be making pitches and closing deals, so reflect that vibe with premium office furniture – think leather meeting room chairs, quality hardwood tables and beautiful accessories. Your meeting room will likely be smaller than the boardroom and you can choose more casual furnishings depending on your chosen look. Ergonomic chairs are always a good idea, smart TVs with easy HDMI connection and videoconferencing technology is important and you could throw in a whiteboard to encourage collaboration.
3. Designated collaboration zones
Between corridors, kitchens and bathrooms, the majority of an office floor plan tends to go to waste, meaning you’re paying for floor space without any benefits. Tap into the extra potential of these spaces by turning them into meeting zones – with the simple addition of office furniture, you can create collaborative spaces that your team will love.
Add a two-person meeting booth to the corridor and you might find that it becomes the best place in the office to brainstorm ideas. Add single-person or two-person lounges to the kitchen to make it a little more cosy – perfect for checking emails while you wait for the kettle to boil. If you have lounge areas, consider purchasing a meeting station – with a five-seater desk and desktop monitor attachment, it’s easy for people to collaborate in front of a screen. You can also use phone booths so people can collaborate remotely. With soundproofing and seating for two people, phone booths have become one of the most sought-after items of office furniture among coworking operators.