Transform Your Millennial Workforce With Co-Working 

Why co-working is here to stay

Cafe Central in Vienna opened in 1876, and throughout the late 19th century it was a gathering place of thought leaders and philosophers. It was in those days that meeting places like this were common and people from different schools of thought, backgrounds and professions would meet, discuss and share ideas. 

Somewhere along the way, between the invention of the internet and social media becoming commonplace in our everyday lives, we lost the need or the desire to gather together physically in one place because it became so easy to connect online with people all over the world without leaving our desks.

Co-working spaces have become the 21st century’s reply to Cafe Central, and the growing pull Millennials are feeling towards human connection again. 

Co-working spaces are an innovative large office which houses many businesses or companies, providing anywhere from one desk if you're a solo entrepreneur, up to multiple floor levels in a building for larger corporations. You can find small businesses here with one or two employees or businesses with 20 employees and growing – all working side by side and sharing the facilities that co-working spaces offer. This usually includes a gym, silent rooms for meditation and café and lounge areas with coffee, snacks and often alcohol provided to keep the Millennials entertained and working.

SoftBank Group billionaire Masayoshi Son has just invested $4.4 billion in co-working pioneer WeWork, and believes it will “unleash a new wave of productivity around the world.”

Millennials are drawn to co-working providers as they create real community around work, by organising regular networking events and workshops for everyone that uses the space to attend, mixing people from different backgrounds and professions and giving them opportunities to meet, support each other, and talk about their latest project or idea. Millennials crave diversity in the workplace, and being able to combine more social interaction with different organisations helps them enjoy work and stay longer.

While co-working was initially typically popular with entrepreneurs and start-ups run by 20-somethings, more and more large corporations are downsizing on real estate and opting to lease co-working space for their employees.

Jeremy Neuner, CEO NextSpace coworking spaces in San Francisco, believes “co-working has bottom-line benefits through reduced real-estate and associated costs…it’s not just leasing the real estate, its buying furniture, heating and cooling, paying for the utilities.” In addition this , co-working often cuts down commuting times for workers, which is a win for everyone, and it builds trust between worker and boss. Millennials crave autonomy at work, coworking is seen as a way tostrengthen their confidence and sense of identity for Millennials.

Giants like KPMG are even seeing co-working as a networking opportunity to mix workers with potential new clients. Patrick Imbach, head of KPMG Tech Growth explained, “Startups and high growth businesses are very different to large and established corporates, and we believe if it’s a market that you actively want to be in, you have to physically be there.” He added, “Being on the ground every day allows us to get a better understanding of how entrepreneurs work, get a feeling for what their issues are, and become part of their community. You can’t do that from corporate headquarters.”

It’s a fresh solution to conventional offices, where the air and ideas can stagnate, and allows workers some ventilation – a dynamic new environment with changing faces and moving energy that fosters creativity. And we all know happy employees are productive ones. 

Mark Corbett, co-founder of Pace Ventures, puts it perfectly: “Co-working is quite clearly here to stay. If the term ever disappears, it will only be because it becomes synonymous with our notion of working.”

Converse to the popular belief that social media has made Millennials less social – what we are seeing now is a desire for human connection, collaboration and a growing sharing economy. Following in the footsteps of the 19th century greats and sharing advice, sharing space, learning from each other and feeling like we are part of something bigger.