Working in a coworking space these days is fast becoming the norm. Where you pay-as-you-work in typically boutique-feel environments where the coffee is free-flowing and the WiFi is super fast (most of the time….)
As a user of one of these office places myself, I have experienced firsthand the pros and cons of being a recruiter in one of these settings so I thought it would be useful and insightful for anyone who is either considering working in one of these similar places or has recently moved into one.
With real estate and rental options a very expensive and often hindering factor to businesses, research shows that the square footage of flexible office space has grown at a rate of 22% over the last seven years” versus a 1% growth rate of traditional office space during the same period with the forecast that 30% of commercial space rented will be classed as flexible space by 2030.
I made the choice to move into Workplace in Manchester when my business partner joined Qui Recruitment in 2015 and we felt we would benefit more from working together 3-4 days a week than remotely from home (which I had always done since I started Qui Recruitment in 2005). My considerations were that I didn’t want to go from paying practically zero rent to an exorbitant rate yet I wanted to work somewhere that suited my own brand and was practical for my needs.
Having now worked in my co-working space for almost 2.5 years, I have observed all the pros and cons of a recruiter.
In a number of flexible workspaces, you can choose how many days a month you want to work although some operate a full time only scheme- therefore this works well for those who want some level of “working from home” or perhaps have to commute to a central head office and therefore the cost is typically a lot less than renting a full time “desk” or office somewhere. For example, when I was looking at 4 person offices in Manchester for full-time rent, some were £1500+vat or more a month whereas to work 12 days a month for the same number of people would only cost max £800 a month.
In a recruitment context, thresholds are usually dictated by “desk” cost which includes rent and therefore this saving can be passed on to a better commission plan- resulting in a more motivated recruiter who bills more which is better for everyone in a blue sky world.
There is no question about it, being surrounded by new people and familiar faces is a sure-fire way to expand your network and actually make new friends too. I have seen how the collaboration can benefit those who work alongside each other through referrals and introductions that would and could never have happened were it not for the fact that two businesspeople were sitting side by side.
The benefits to recruiters are you can expand your network around you; perhaps if you recruit freelance graphic designers and you happen to be sat next to said designer, you could have a chat over your cappuccino about how you can place them into their next assignment. I have seen this happen right before my eyes!
The “wow” factor
Most of the shared spaces I have visited and inhabit are beautifully designed and have an incredible ambiance. With the finest furniture and the tastiest coffee (and breakfast far too often), there is a resemblance to being hosted in a boutique 5* hotel. When you invite a client in to meet you or a candidate as a recruiter, there is always the small talk about the office and this will always impress your guest. This also has the additional benefit that your environment creates a positive frame of mind and this will enhance your well-being and results from this should mean greater productivity than if you were just sat in a grubby coffee shop or bar as an alternative.
Privacy and commercial sensitivity
One day you may be sat to your mate whom you have got to know and trust, and you politely get on with your job side by side knowing there is no risk of anything being overheard or discussed. However the next day you may find yourself sat next to a stranger who doesn’t engage and they could be a spy or worse than that- a competitor.
Tip: Always politely introduce yourself at the start of a new neighbor relationship by explaining who you are and what you do and that way you know immediately whether to move desk/sofa or whether it is safe for both parties to stay put.
You have no control over who sits where and how many people may end up coming to work near you- there sensibly does tend to be a polite rule about Facetime/Skype calls away from others but there is sometimes an element of “shut the heck up” when you sit next to someone who resembles the Dom Joly of Trigger Happy TV…..
Tip: A majority of co-shared spaces have “quiet” zones so if you do have an option to use this area for work that requires concentration opt here. Equally, if you know you are going to be on the phone a lot, respect others around you! If your interviewee needs confidentiality, opt for the middle of the area so you are neither in the quiet area nor the frantic so you can blend into the background. And turn your phone ringer lower or on silent if you are in meetings.
Given the prediction for the trend in the growth of this sort of office space, will this dominate the world of recruitment? No, although it is becoming more common, for those of a certain size who cant offer flexible or work-from-home options, buying or renting a larger space to make their own will always be more cost-effective from an ROI perspective. But as more employers become more flexible to their employees, I think the usage amongst recruiters will mirror the prediction above