I first became aware of coworking when I was living in Bristol in 2010, when I first started freelancing. I quickly realised that working from home was a very solitary pursuit and I soon began to miss the camaraderie and the interaction that came from working with colleagues in a shared office. After a little bit of research I learnt about a new trend in working practices that was rapidly gaining in popularity. Coworking involves a shared office space where people from different organisations can come together to work in a communal space that offers a sense of community, collaboration and often greater productivity than if the worker were to work from home. It is a great option for freelancers, the self-employed or remote workers.
Coworking spaces have come on a long way since the first modern day space opened in 2005. In recent months, I have come across a number of really nice spaces that have me wanting to sign up right away. However, the majority of these amazing spaces are obviously found in big cities. The options here in Devon are rather limited and those we do have don’t even come close to those that I’ve seen.
Today, I want to share a coworking space in Bournemouth with you. My best friend told me about this place and I knew you guys would love it too. THIS Workspace is situated in The Echo Building, which is an Art Deco masterpiece, full of original details from the days when it was used as the printing works for the Daily Echo Newspaper.
The Echo Building was built in 1932 by Seal and Hardy Architects. It is a Grade II Listed building and is packed with character, from the triple height ceiling of The Foundry to the central tower.
I love the look of this place, everything about it is just perfect and I wish that I could work here every day. The main room is called The Foundry and this is without doubt my favourite part of this space. The space incorporates so many current interior trends from velvet, marble and brass to natural materials and plants. The last two really help to soften the industrial vibe of the space and give it a very inviting feel. The triple height ceilings also ensure that this space is flooded with light and those windows are to die for. Who wouldn’t want to work here?
Apart from The Foundry, THIS Workspace benefits from a selection of different work spaces. You can hire a work bench (hot desk) for up to 10 days per month, a dedicated desk, or a studio, which is a semi to fully enclosed, lockable workspace built for teams of 1-25 people. There are also meeting rooms and event spaces for hire.
Spaces like this are popping up all over the place. THIS Workspace already has plans to open two more locations in Bath and Portsmouth. And it’s no wonder we are seeing a proliferation of such spaces. Coworking has increased in popularity in recent years as self-employment has grown to represent a larger share of employment. In 2001, self-employment represented 12% of the UK workforce and in 2016 this had grown to 15.1% (source).
Coworking spaces provide cost-effective and community-based workplace environments for entrepreneurs across the country. According to estimates, 1.7 million people will be working in around 19,000 coworking spaces around the world by the end of 2018 (source) and it is forecast that this will reach 3.8 million people in 2020 (source) and 5.2 million by 2022 (source).
The benefits of using a coworking space are very clear. But recent research shows that coworking is less about the actual workspace and more about feeling less lonely. A coworking space member survey from 2015 found that coworking spaces are much more than just somewhere to work. They are also places that allow people to network, learn and socialise (source). A summary of the survey results are below:
Work related benefits:
- 84% said they were more engaged and motivated when coworking
- 67% said coworking improved their professional success
- 69% said they feel more successful since joining a coworking space
Networking related benefits:
- 82% said coworking has expanded their professional networks
- 80% said they turn to other coworking members for help or guidance
- 64% of the respondents said their coworking networking was a very important (26%) or important source of work (38%)
Learning related benefits:
- 69% reported they learned new skills
- 68% reported they improved their existing skill set
- 67% reported they attend events at their coworking space occasionally (45%) or often (21%); only 4% said they never attend events
Social related benefits:
- 87% report they meet other members for social reasons, with 54% saying they socialize with other members after work and/or on weekends
- 79% said coworking has expanded their social networks
So all in all, the case for coworking looks to be pretty strong. As spaces like THIS Workspace appear on the scene offering beautifully designed, inspirational interiors that are as far from the traditional office as you can get, as well as all the networking and social benefits, it is no wonder that more and more people are signing up to use these spaces. I’d certainly rather work somewhere like this coworking space in Bournemouth than in my uninspiring magnolia cell of an office, wouldn’t you?
What do you think of this coworking space in Bournemouth? Would you like to work somewhere like this? Do you already use a coworking space, maybe? If so how do you find it? I’d love to hear from any of you who have experience using these beautiful spaces so do leave me a comment below with your thoughts. And don’t forget to pin this post for later!