Coworking: Not just for startups and freelancers

August 24, 2017 | | View Comments

How larger companies can utilize shared work environments

By Kristyn Hill, Interior Designer, Bergmeyer

Editor’s note: Kristyn Hill is a Think Tank member for the Boston Workplace Innovation Summit on October 27th.

Coworking spaces have become immensely popular thanks to a surge in entrepreneurship. Positive benefits to these flexible & shared workspaces include serendipitous networking opportunities, improved productivity, work-life balance, and low overhead due to month-to-month memberships. At Bergmeyer, we’ve taken notice and we’re piloting a program with Stapes Workbar that encourages Bergmeyer employees to utilize coworking space, as an alternative to our dedicated office, to take advantage of all coworking has to offer.

The pilot program was a natural next step for Bergmeyer after we recently completed the design and launch of Staples Workbar; integrating the Workbar coworking concept within a Staples retail store. Bergmeyer already offers a variety of work flexibility in its own office for employees, i.e. collaborative booths, breakout spaces, sit-to-stand desks, and laptops for every employee. By utilizing the pilot program at Staples Workbar, they are able to push their employee satisfaction and flexibility even further.

Coworking offers employees a professional alternative to the traditional work-from-home setting. Bergmeyer Principal, Lewis Muhlfelder says, “the most appealing part of the arrangement for our employees is the convenience to their place of residence, cutting down on time and expense of the commute.” The coworking benefit is meant to be used on occasion to work outside the office, but we very much still value in-person collaboration with team members in our dedicated space — it’s all about choice and flexibility.

Since launch the pilot program in early 2017, all indications point to it being a great work perk for both suburban and city dwelling employees.

Here is some initial feedback from employees about their experience:

  • “I like the ability to walk around and freely use different spaces and seating arrangements during the course of the day. My favorite seating area was at the bar in the café.  I also enjoyed the phone rooms.”
  • “I like the privacy and ability to focus more intently”
  • “I am able to work effectively. I tend to use Workbar more on days that I have a number of conference calls throughout the day so I am regularly in touch with my colleagues and clients.”
  • “The commute is incredible — eight minutes! And I love the ability to focus and ‘get in the zone’”

So why should other established companies be interested in a coworking program? Coworking programs are great for companies that might be looking to expand their current employee flex-work offerings but do not have the means to do so in their current office. Whether it’s due to budget, limited space, or not knowing what solution will be the most impactful, this might be the perfect solution to test with no commitment!

To learn more about the future of coworking spaces be sure to join us for the 2017 Workplace Innovation Summits in Boston on October 27th and in San Francisco on November 17th!