How Industries Are Trying To Co-Opt The Coworking Model
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. What that really means is that people copy success. As a result of the success of coworking, there are more industries trying to adopt or co-opt the model and make it their own.
In this piece, we take a look at some of the ways other industries are trying to leverage alternative coworking spaces.
A lot of major brick and mortars are feeling the pains of a growing digital world. Even major brands like Sears, KMart, and Macy’s are suffering, and have had major store closures over the past few years. Owning physical, commercial space is expensive, and it’s tough for companies to compete with digital businesses that can pour more resources into advertising and support.
Furniture companies are among the hardest hit businesses. They require large spaces for displays and struggle to compete with the prices of digital giants like Wayfair.
So, to better compete, furniture retailers are co-opting the coworking model with the “showrooming” trend.
Showrooming is where the retailer places their furniture into a space where people can use it. It’s like a functional display. They’re often used in coffee shops, coworking spaces, or even public buildings like museums and galleries. The furniture is sometimes donated, and other retailers pay a small fee to install them.
The showrooming approach is kind of similar to art at a coffee shop. They add to the atmosphere of the location, while also allowing clients to test and purchase the item.
The restaurant industry is tough. Margins are low, and in the digital age, the critics are plentiful. To help make the most out of their space, some restaurants are transitioning into the coworking space.
During off-peak hours, the restaurant closes down the kitchen and transforms into a space for business. They rent coworking space out to people and then revert back to a restaurant as peak business hours return.
It’s a good use of the space they already have, with their carefully curated atmosphere, comfortable chairs, and tables. And of course, most restaurants have the staple of any good office space – coffee.
During this time, the restaurant can operate much more efficiently. They keep their operational costs low, closing down their kitchens and minimizing the staff. However, this approach may be more beneficial to the restaurant than to the coworkers.
The people who rent coworking space in a restaurant have limited access. During peak restaurant hours, they need somewhere else to work. They may find themselves having to cut meetings short, so someone can bus their “desk” before the dinner rush.
It’s an approach better suited to freelance gigs and people working on their side-hustle, rather than businesses.
Even some gyms are jumping into the alternative coworking space trend. Those with a large lounge area can meet a few coworking basics, like internet access and a place to sit. Plus, it makes it easier to squeeze in a workout after work.
In gyms with 24/7 access, you can get around the temporary workspace issue of restaurants. But they also come with their downsides, such as having to deal with a lot of distracting foot traffic and sharing the space with some exceptionally sweaty people.
Some existing and emerging coworking spaces are trying their hand at going industry-specific.
There are some benefits to this, as companies in the same industry can share similar needs and learn from each other. However, it can also create issues. For one, going industry-specific means sharing office space with your direct competition.
As well, you miss out on one of the main benefits of coworking, diverse collaboration. The pool of talent, knowledge, and networking available becomes more limited when renting an industry-specific coworking space.
In addition to industry-specific spaces, there are a few other differentiation strategies that new coworking spaces are trying. Two that have been receiving the most media attention are all-female and LGBTQ+ coworking spaces.
These alternative coworking spaces do address some issues. Such as the underrepresentation of women in coworking. However, they are also coming under a lot of scrutiny.
A common criticism is that by only allowing specific groups or demographics, these spaces are actually worsening the issues. An inclusive space has more societal benefits than an exclusive one.
Another criticism is that some of these spaces aren’t really meant to resolve issues or champion human rights. Instead, they’re just leveraging them for profit.
Why A Dedicated Coworking Space Is Best
The best option for any business is a dedicated coworking space. A true coworking office offers greater benefits, better amenities, and an optimal work environment. Some of the key benefits of choosing a dedicated coworking space over an alternative include:
- Dedication – Coworking is their main focus
- Business is a priority
- Better for image – Professional space and design
- Full access
- Business support and amenities are available
- Better hours
Book A Tour Of Toronto Coworking Space For Rent
The Professional Centre is dedicated to providing the best possible work environment. Our Toronto shared offices are found in the heart of the Financial District. We have premium amenities, ergonomics, and lighting. Currently, we have coworking space for rent available in Toronto.
Book a private tour today.