In recent years, there has been a spike in ‘non-traditional’ work cultures, with more flexibility in working hours and the rise of remote teams amongst some of the significant changes. It is not only the style of working that is evolving but the environment as well. Co-working spaces, offices with communal areas shared by various companies, are on the rise with multiple locations opening in London, New York, and other major cities. WeWork, one of the biggest co-working space providers, launched another branch in London earlier this month and is now valued at $15bn.
Why the rapid growth in and high-demand for co-working spaces? To help us get a better understanding, we caught up with Andrew Lynch, Co-Founder and COO of Huckletree, a co-working space based in Clerkenwell and Shoreditch. From our discussion, it quickly became clear that co-working spaces are not your typical offices.
In this post, we’ll share the top benefits that startups can derive from a co-working space as well as important factors to consider when choosing out of the many options available to you.
1. Networking opportunities
The importance of connections in the startup world cannot be overstated: not only can business contacts lend expertise and assistance, but if they are nurtured and developed over time they can also evolve into personal relationships that can be relied upon for meaningful insights and advice.
Co-working spaces can offer support in this area by enabling you to meet like-minded individuals. As Andrew tells us, Huckletree “regularly introduces members to each other and to people in our extended networks, and run community-only meet-ups”. It’s not just organised meet-ups too – you never know who you might meet while getting your morning coffee!
2. Environment of innovation and inspiration
According to Andrew, fast WiFi and bucketloads of coffee are Huckletree’s most basic provisions. What is even more significant is the environment of innovation and inspiration. One of the many ways co-working spaces encourage this is by holding meet-ups where members share the challenges their companies face and crowdsource feedback from others.
And it’s not just startups helping startups. The management team also lends their expertise: “Our team helps out one-on-one where we can, jumping into brainstorming sessions and inspiring conversations, strategising and making useful introductions. We’re part of the community ourselves”.
“A good coworking space brings a sense of community and culture, it should help you and your business to grow” – Andrew Lynch
3. Personal growth and wellbeing
It’s not all work and no play – there’s room for rest and relaxation too. Huckletree is bringing in wellbeing and learning sessions, going beyond just business to nurture individual growth too. They’re not alone in doing this, with other co-working spaces also introducing yoga classes and meditation amongst their wellbeing initiatives.
4. A strong, supportive community
For Andrew and the Huckletree team, a strong sense of community is one of the most important things a co-working space can offer. Whether it means “being a sympathetic ear on the tough days, spreading the news of your latest product launch, or introducing you to people you didn’t even realise you needed to meet”, they will go above and beyond to support members.
How can startups choose the right co-working space?
With so many options available, how do you choose the best one for your startup? Here are some of the factors you might consider beyond just the price:
London has different business hubs spread across its geography. If networking with the tech community is important, somewhere around Silicon Roundabout might be beneficial.
2. Fees and flexibility
Consider the length of the leases available, if it’s month-to-month or short-term, and whether you can change space without incurring additional costs. The startup journey is unpredictable: you might receive funding and suddenly need a much bigger office!
3. Availability of meeting rooms
Do bookings work on a credit basis? If you’re constantly booking meetings with clients, this could add a significant cost so just be aware!
Have a look at their events calendar to see what kinds of opportunities they offer and whether these are relevant to you.
5. Other perks
Some co-working spaces may offer health insurance or discounts with affiliated companies. Make sure to ask what else is on offer!
Bonus! Jobbio meets… Andrew Lynch
Find out Andrew’s top advice for early-stage startups, which apps and startups have caught his eye, plus one thing you might not know about him.
What is your top advice for early-stage startups?
Whether you’re chasing a job at a startup, or you’re looking to come up with a disruptive business idea of your own, don’t just settle on something you think will make you the most money; get involved with something you love to do; surround yourself with nice people who share that passion and then, when you’re looking to grow and take on talent, only hire people smarter than yourself.
“Don’t just settle on something you think will make you the most money.”
Whose startup journey are you currently following?
Felix Capital is one of the most exciting new venture firms in the market. I’ve known the guys at Felix for several years now and have seen, first-hand, the value and experience they can bring to founding teams. We’ve recently partnered with Felix so we can bring this passion to our members; whether it’s through pitching events, interesting talks with founders, or just having the guys in for office hours with our members.
One thing people don’t know about you?
When I was 10 years old, I was awarded a scholarship to attend the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin (I used to be pretty good at the violin!)
Favourite area in London?
The riverside trail between Putney Bridge and Hammersmith Bridge. Great place to clear your head over a long walk or run.
Easy. Product Hunt. Download it right now. We’re happy to call them Huckletree members. The Jobbio app has also been really useful for us as we are currently hiring.