The first coworking spaces began appearing in the early 2000’s. They attracted mostly self-employed freelancers and web designers searching for an alternative to working from noisy coffee shops, business centers, and home offices.
Since then, coworking has become a global phenomenon, and coworking spaces themselves have evolved to keep up with changing ways we work. There were an estimated 19,000 coworking spaces around the world in 2019. Today they’re used by everyone from individuals working remotely to entire corporate teams.
What is a coworking space?
A coworking space is an environment that’s designed to accommodate people from different companies and disciplines coming together to share a working space.
Coworking space is characterised by shared facilities, services, and tools. Sharing infrastructure in this way helps to spread the cost of running an office between coworkers, but coworking spaces are more than just a way of reducing overheads.
Coworking spaces are not only about providing a physical space but are designed to establish a community and to provide opportunities for collaboration and innovation which are not possible when working in isolation.
It’s not just for freelancers or start-ups
Typically, people regard coworking spaces as a place for startups or freelance workers, but corporations have seen the benefits coworking spaces, especially if it is industry-specific.
WeWork is an American company that provide shared office spaces for entrepreneurs and companies. Founded in 2010, its headquarters are in New York and they have coworking offices all over the world. More recently they have seen some big names sign up to their spaces including Starbucks, Microsoft and Bank of America.
WeWork goes to great lengths to make people and corporations feel welcome, offering an option to brand their space and grant autonomy on how their space is designed and organised. This way, bigger companies get the office experience they’re used to, without the management or admin, and with the added benefits of collaboration and community. It also makes financial sense for them because they pay a flat fee and don’t have to worry about maintenance costs, office furniture and equipment.
What should a Coworking Space have?
Every coworking space will always have basics such as WiFi, printers, conference rooms and a breakout or kitchen area for teas, coffees and snacks. Alongside these basic requirements comes the all-important furniture items.
Now we have a better understanding of what a Coworking space is, let’s look at the 8 best office furniture items for a Coworking space.
1. Bench Desking
Bench Desking is ideal for saving space and great for collaboration. People can use their own laptops or set up computers that are already in place. Power blocks will be required along the central beam of the desks. Surface-mounted power and data units such as the Affinity Cable Management system could be provided for laptop and phone charging. Our Solar Four Person Bench Desk with sliding tops make access to the electrics a breeze and so would fit the bill for most coworkings spaces. Or for a more Industrial look, check out our Trapezo Industrial Style Bench Systems available in Nebraska Oak or Timber top finishes.
2. Ergonomic Chairs
A coworking space often shuns uniformity and monotony, so featured ergonomic chairs in this type of space are likely to vary. However, each chair must be comfortable to work from and suitable for people with certain ergonomic requirements.
The Reactive Ergo chair would be suited to coworking space because they feature a colourful mesh back with a large comfortable waterfall fronted seat pad. With a choice of 7 vibrant back colours to choose from it would be easy to divide up the space into different work zones.
Another great choice is the ergonomic chairs from the Orthopaedica range as they have sculpted seats and backs so are suited to different body sizes and support those with back problems or ailments.
3. Height Adjustable desks or sit-stand desks
Not everyone in a coworking space will want to sit down all day, people are now aware of the benefits of movement throughout the working day, so sitstand desking would be welcome in a coworking space. The smaller sized Rapid Mini Desk would work well in smaller areas whereas the Avalon height-adjustable corner desk would suit larger coworking spaces.
4. Acoustic Booths
Coworking spaces are usually quite busy and noisy. In this instance, people may need a space to go so they can find some privacy, peace and quiet. Acoustic Booths are the ideal solution. Our Cypher booth and Stream acoustic booths have been very popular during the last couple of years.
5. Acoustic Phone Booths
On top of the general noise created from a coworking space comes the additional interruption of people’s mobiles. People like to stay connected and so it is unlikely they will switch their phones off out of courtesy to their newfound coworkers. Stepping outside to take a call from a friend or family member is also not very appealing in the winter months in the inclement UK. Acoustic Phone Booths hold the answer because they can quickly be installed and offer high levels of acoustic privacy for the person on the phone, they look great too. Check out the Penelope Phone Booth! The BuzziHood would also work if you were looking for something more lightweight in a busy area or corridor.
6. Flexible Furniture – Folding, moveable desks & tables
Flexible furniture can be the key to any successful coworking space. Desks that can quickly be used to make up meeting tables in any formation would be far more useful than fixed desks and fixed tables. Although the investment may be higher it will pay off in the long run because you will be able to utilise each piece of furniture to its full potential. The Talent Folding Desks are the ideal solution to meet all the needs of a busy workspace and when not in use they can be stored neatly away creating space for events or live music.
7. Break out furniture
Every coworking space will feature some sort of fun break out zone where you will have the opportunity to just chill or perhaps chill and work away from the noise. It will no doubt be a colourful area or it could be a more muted, subtle tone if appealing to a corporate demographic.
8. Acoustic Pods
A room within a room is always a welcome addition to any open plan coworking space. Acoustic pods are great for creating a dedicated meeting space that is acoustically protected from outside noise and distractions. Additionally, acoustic pods can be kitted out with several optional extras including air circulation, power, and TV mounts which are perfect for Zoom calls to remote team workers. Our Mod Edge Greet Pod is a perfect addition to collaborative spaces check out our recent case study for Fiit who are experiencing the benefits of the Mod Edge Pods.
Creating a coworking space is an exciting prospect because you will be designing and considering many people's requirements, this could lead to a collaborative process, discussing what works and what doesn’t work. The fundamental core of coworking is creating a community rather than a space for individuals to plug in a laptop. By getting everyone involved at the early design stages will help create a sense of community and create a space that everyone is happy with.
So, there we have it, 8 pieces of office furniture which will elevate any co working space from the ground up. Give us a call if you’re in the process of setting up a coworking space, we would love to collaborate!