Creative, cozy and industrial vibe
Are you also considering coworking? We’ve put together this quick guide where you can find everything about how it works. Coworking has exploded as a phenomenon and is a smart way for companies to share spaces, and services such as coffee, Wi-Fi and reception are included. Often, there are also events for members to attend to build networks and a community. In this article, we will go through what coworking is, how it works, and what might be good to think about when you’re choosing a coworking space to be in. Let’s go!
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So, what is the actual definition of coworking? A quick search on Google shows that everyone from Regus to Swedish universities uses the term, but what they have in common is that:
Nowadays, most coworking spaces offer their own office rooms, and larger coworking providers, such as Helio, WeWork, Convendum, and First Office even have office rooms as their main product. So, what is the difference between coworking and traditional executive suites? The truth is that there is no exact definition of their differences, but the traditional business center was created as a temporary solution and every square inch of the premises is usually divided office space. Today’s coworking often has more services included in the membership, larger lounges, and is built as a permanent solution for where to have one’s office.
The short answer is that the cost varies greatly. The cheapest membership, which means that you do not have a fixed place or room of your own, varies in price between 2,000–7,000 SEK per month within the CBD for a coworking space in Stockholm. What’s included varies between the different providers, from newly built premises at the best addresses with a lot of included services, gyms, and tons of community activities, to cheaper, more home-made options. According to Workaround, the average price for an open membership in the Stockholm inner city is 4,283 SEK per month.
An open membership or desk costs between 2,000–10,000 SEK per person and month. A place in a private room costs between 5,000–12,000 SEK per person and month.
To rent a private office, you’ll have to count on paying approximately 5,000–12,000 SEK per month and person. This usually includes furniture, and often includes access to other parts of the coworking space, such as lounges, telephone rooms, and meeting rooms. The prices are often not very easy to compare online, but you can get the best understanding of the prices at a tour. You can read more about the different memberships at Helio here: open membership, your own desk, and your own private room.
The basic idea of coworking is that you shouldn’t have to lock yourself into long contracts. Especially when you are a smaller company or a fast-growing company that doesn’t know what will happen in the next 12–24 months. In Sweden, most coworking spaces have a notice period of 3 months for the various subscriptions, but sometimes it’s as short as 1 month for open memberships/hot desks. When it comes to larger rooms for more than 10 people, there are different conditions with longer commitment periods of 6 or 12 months.
Unlike a traditional office, you generally do not have security of tenure, and most coworking spaces write off security of tenure with an additional agreement. This means that you can be dismissed from your office, and have no right to remain on the premises, usually on the same terms that allow you to terminate the contract. It can be good to think about, and to ask an extra control question when you become a member if there are any plans for changes within the next year that affect the room or place you are looking at.
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Many become members of a coworking space precisely because it is a social way of working, and therefore, many coworking companies also work with activities to make contacts. Many have joint breakfasts one day a week, sometimes with a theme or an invited speaker on a current topic. Health and fitness is another common activity, ranging from yoga or meditation to running or PT groups.
There are also several providers who work with invited speakers who continuously come and lecture on everything from rhetoric to SEO or recruitment, with the aim of making you better or more inspired at work. At Helio, we run a lecture series called learn@lunch, where we invite a speaker and simultaneously treat you to lunch.
Most of the time, you have a lot to gain by attending the activities in the beginning. This way, you can really get the most out of your membership in a coworking space. Either because a business opportunity that you didn’t expect appears, or simply because going to the office becomes more fun in the future. If you’re curious about what is happening and has happened at Helio, you can see some of our activities here.
Coworking as a phenomenon emerged as a trend in California during the late 90s and early 2000s when people chose to share offices because it was cheap and practical, but also because it became more fun to suddenly have colleagues to drink coffee with or to collaborate with if you were a freelancer.
In the beginning, coworking (it wasn’t called that until the later 2000s) happened in informal contexts when someone had vacant spaces in an office that was rented out, or someone found a temporary contract for a property about to be demolished or remodeled. Several people would get together and share the space. During the earlier years, it was mainly freelancers or smaller companies who chose to sit together in coworking spaces, and they were often from the tech/startup world or people who worked with media and advertising.
“A social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with people who value working in the same place alongside each other.” Wikipedias definition of coworking
There are many truths about what was considered the world’s first coworking space, but among others, one must mention C-space in Berlin around 1995, which was called “Hackerspace”. Among the early ones, one also has to count Oberholz in Berlin and 42 West 24 in New York. On the other hand, one of those who turned coworking from an obscure phenomenon to a mainstream thing was Brad Neuberg with his ‘San Francisco Coworking Space’, which later became The Hat Factory. The history of coworking has only just begun, and it is still a vanishingly small percentage of the total office market.
Why become a member in a coworking space? If your believe Harvard Business Review, those who work in a coworking space find that their work is more meaningful. They have more control over their work situation, and they feel that they are part of a community. A coworking space also gives you more flexibility in your working life and can be a good way to bring other parts of life together by being able to drop into the office right when you need to. Today, coworking has gone from a niche product to becoming a real option for both freelancers and medium-sized companies, and it can also serve as satellite offices for global giants.
It is also a way to save money, as you share your office in a smarter way, and don’t have to hire someone yourself to take care of administration around the office. You can read more about how you save money by sitting in a coworking space instead of having a traditional office here.
The development of the coworking market is moving at lightning speed, and today there are different types of coworking spaces for different types of companies and industries, from the cheapest and simplest to more professional facilities. To understand how big the phenomenon is, 21% of all new leases in 2018 in central London were signed to different types of operators within flexible office solutions. Today, WeWork, which is the world’s largest operator in coworking, is valued at several billion dollars and has hundreds of units all over the world.
There are many things that contribute to the rapid expansion, where megatrends such as globalization, digitalization and urbanization contribute. Coworking has historically been an option for smaller companies, but the change towards larger companies is happening faster and faster. The line between office and coworking is becoming increasingly blurred, and many innovative real estate companies have started to play around with the duration of contract, service and the like. You can read about the 7 most important reasons why coworking is growing here.
In Sweden, Helio was among the first coworking companies in the late 90s, but United Spaces were also early with their coworking concept. Today, there are several similar businesses in Sweden, such as Knackeriet, Epicenter, SUP46, A House and many others. Many bet heavily on their niche, targeting specific industries, or they might have a different philosophy for their networking. The various companies also differ in prices depending on what they offer and which buildings they are located in. You can read more about 5 reasons to quit your conventional office and become a member of coworking here.
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The development of Sweden’s coworking spaces has been lightning fast in recent years and the number of square meters converted into flexible offices has grown significantly. In 2018, there were 181,000 square meters of coworking in Greater Stockholm, an increase of 500% in just 7 years (Fastighetsvärlden 04/2018). Since then, WeWork has opened on Hamngatan with 13,000 square meters, 7A has opened a conference and office hotel on Vasagatan with 17,000 square meters, and Convendum in Hagastaden and Slussen with another 10,000 square meters.
The company Fastighetsägarna have seen in a report that approximately 3 percent of the office stock has become coworking. Something that will only continue to grow according to Christoffer Börjesson at Fastighetsägarna.
“I think that coworking will constitute around 10–15 percent of the office market in big cities in the long term. One will stop around there. Companies that have large areas in their own offices will continue like that”, he says.
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Most coworking spaces have three different types of memberships. You can pay for an open membership that gives you access to all the common areas and meeting rooms, or have your very own desk, or a private, lockable room.
The open membership means that you can set your computer where it is most suitable for the day. Most spaces have both social areas and focus areas for when you need to concentrate. A common question we get is whether there is always a place to go if you come in late for work – and the answer is yes. We can never guarantee you that exact favorite spot of yours in the corner, but there is always a place. This membership has different names depending on the coworking space – various names are “hot desk”, “lounge membership”, and here at Helio, it is called “Open”. You can usually rent a locker for a small fee if you don’t want to carry all your stuff back and forth to the office. If you are curious about Open at Helio, we have collected more information here.
Your own desk in a shared room is another way to sit in coworking spaces. It’s best suited for those of you who sit and work a lot in front of the screen and need one or two large screens to be able to do your job. Most often, this is a desk that can be raised and lowered, and storage and acoustical panels are also included. If you sit at your own desk, you can, of course, move around the lounges and sit in different environments – but you always have your safe haven at your desk. This option is usually slightly more expensive than having an open membership. At Helio, this type of membership is called ‘Fix’ and you can find more information about how it works here.
One or several private rooms is also a common option, and in coworking spaces there are usually rooms for 1–2 people up to 20 people at most. This type of membership is called Private or Private Office, and at Helio, it is called Studio. Many companies – especially after the pandemic – work with a combination of the open membership and their own office. For example, one company with 10 employees has a room for 4, while the others work outside in the lounges. A smart solution, when not everyone is in the office at the same time, but you have your own room where you can lock up the things the company needs – bookkeeping, product samples or whatever it may be. Most members of Helio who have their own rooms spend at least as much time outside in our lounge areas. If you want to read more about how it works on Helio, you can find more information about the studio membership here.
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Coworking is an effect of digitalization and the pace at which the business world moves has increased. You can build a million-dollar company in less than 1 year, but it could just as well go the other way, with the company going to the grave just as quickly. This means that we value turnkey solutions more – time has simply become even more important than before. Moving into a traditional office takes a lot of time, time that could instead be used to build the company or sell more.
Coworking and serviced offices has many advantages for smaller companies, such as being able to sit at a better address at a lower cost, get social networking at work, and not having to spend valuable time taking care of an office with printers, cleaning, dishwashing routines, and much more. You can find Helio in 9 different locations in Stockholm and Malmö – Östermalm, Gamla Stan, Hornstull, Sundbyberg, Hötorget, Kista and Slussen. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you are curious about discussing coworking with us, you will receive an answer in 30 minutes!
Creative, cozy and industrial vibe
Coworking in a turn-of-the-century show factory next to the Hornstull Subway Station.
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