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Co-Working Spaces and Their Role In Boosting Creativity For Small Businesses

As shown at the Global Coworking Unconference Conference forecast, by 2022 there will be 30,432 spaces and 5.1 million paid co-working members worldwide. The market shows an average annual growth rate of 24.2 percent since 2007, and is less a way of working now than a way of life. At the same time, the self-employed knowledge worker sector is growing too, bringing with it the need for hubs to provide social interaction, alternative locations than the cramped office desk or coffee shop, and clusters of interaction for connectivity.

It’s really easy to see that for startups and small businesses, the co-working solution ticks all the boxes of flexible, affordable space, and a creative hub to foster new ideas and new business.

According to Deskmag’s annual Global Coworking Survey, 71 percent of participants reported a boost in creativity since joining a co-working space, while 62 percent said their standard of work had improved. The study also found that half of all co-workers access their work space around the clock–with only 30 percent preferring to work during normal business hours. “The future of work should not be dictated by space or place, but by the individual and the tasks that he or she has to deliver,” Regus CEO Mark Dixon told Fast Company.

Moreover, an overwhelming majority (90 percent) of co-workers said they got a self-confidence boost, likely due to the fact that many spaces are filled with supportive communities that enable creative collaboration.

There is no doubt that co-working office spaces are the future of the business world. Having the option to consult with and share ideas with other like minded business owners and freelancers gives you the chance to bring different ideas and opinions into how you do your work and could expand your business more than you ever dreamed. At the same time, networking is made possible like never before. There is no better way to expand your inner circle than to be working closely with hardworking, determined individuals who all desire a common goal. Collaborations with future employees may take your business to a level you never thought possible.

The co-working model also generates a creative economy made up of individuals who not only need an inexpensive way to operate, but need a consistent flow of new people, new ideas, and new opportunities. Without this type of engagement, creatives are forced to seek employment elsewhere, such as with a corporation, and this limits their ability to engage with other local businesses that could benefit from top-tier talent on a small-business scale. But being together in the same place can translate in beautiful-shared ideas and new concepts coming to life. And,why not, new business opportunities.

Local business like restaurants,coffee shops, galleries, can also benefit from co-working spaces through direct programming, partnerships, and access to pools of available, independent contractors in industries like interior design or legal services.

Working amidst people doing different kinds of work can also make one’s own work identity stronger. Our respondents were given the opportunity to frequently describe what they do, which can make what they do seem more interesting and distinctive. (….) the variety of workers in the space means that co-workers have unique skill sets that they can provide to other community members.- hbr.org.

Technologies that help you work from anywhere in the world

Fifty-one percent of EMEA teleworkers work from home just one day or less, with 68 percent in APAC and 58 percent in North America reporting the same.

According to a Global Workplace Analytics survey, Cost and Benefits: Advantages of Telecommuting for Companies, nearly six out of ten employers identify cost savings as a significant benefit to having telecommuting programs. Real estate costs alone can make up the majority of a business’s annual overhead costs. The average real estate savings if a business employed full-time teleworkers? $10,000 per employee per year; add in reduction of utility costs and that number increases to $11,000, or $700 billion per year in the U.S. if employees worked from home just part-time.

But more than that, more and more people decide to work out-of-home while travelling and experiencing other activities, by becoming digital nomads or simply working remotely for a longer period of time. Their new lifestyle is helped and allowed by the new technologies available. Some of them are:

Videoconferencing

Live video feeds help out-of-office workers see and speak to one another in real time, anywhere they are, which is the next best thing to a face-to-face meeting. And that being possible due to the fast internet broadband available in may places around the world, the increased number of places offering free wifi. Moreover, “certain companies have even done away with renting a traditional office and instead run their business out of a shared co-working space to accommodate their largely remote workforce. Shared office spaces, where remote employees can gather to work, have been created and are more widely available in different cities. This in itself represents the growing amount of remote workers in recent years,” wrote BusinessNewsDaily.com.

Collaborative cloud software

Investing in them (you can find some inspiration here) , especially in the ones that work very well on mobile, will help improve the response and the remote work. Building a digital workplace gives your employees the tools they need to collaborate and work from anywhere, anytime and on any device and that’s the key to building productive modern teams that deliver business results.

Adapt to change faster and achieve objectives sooner with project management solutions, by bringing together work management, full reporting, visibility and an intuitive interface that anyone can use. Cloud-based project management software gives your workforce, customers and partners a better way to work together using real-time data, automated workflows and a user experience that lets them do their job the way they want to.

The best devices

From a good, thin and powerful laptop or notebook, to a smartphone, a power bank and an external hard-disk, those devices are probably the most important ones you will need to carry on with you almost all the time. “For long-term remote work, purchasing the latest laptop model is smart, as technical difficulties can be crippling when there’s limited access to an in-house IT specialist or nearby Apple Store,” advices mashable.com.

Moreover, “an international SIM card is more expensive, but potentially worth it if you’ll be traveling to multiple countries in a shorter time period. ChatSim, which supports all of your chat apps so you can stay connected from anywhere, is another alternative if you’re only interested in sending texts or instant messages. Carrying a separate global, unlocked MiFi device ensures a backup plan in the event of a weak Wi-Fi signal or public networks of questionable security. Other useful tools include: portable travel routers, Ethernet cables, and Google Voice, which is especially handy for keeping a U.S. phone number (NomadSMS is another similar service),”points out Stephanie Walden for mashable.

Privacy filters for laptops

Screen privacy filters are an easy way to keep snooping eyes from seeing what’s on your laptop monitor.

Moreover, here are some tools that can help you manage your business from anywhere in the world.

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