Co-Working Spaces: Do They Foster Innovation or Distraction?


February 14th 2024

We’re going to come right out the gate and say that we think co-working spaces are fantastic. The flexibility they offer to solo workers or small businesses trying to get off the ground is second to none. This being said, they’re not without their drawbacks, as some people can find themselves distracted from their work in such a bustling and active environment.

Today, we’re going to explore the pros and cons, and how you can become a master of the co-working space. Whether you’re working alone or in a small team, it’s important to understand what you can gain from them, as well as why other solutions may be more suitable for you in the long run.


The Key Benefits of Co-Working Spaces

Let’s start with the good. As we mentioned before, we really think that the benefits of co-working spaces far outweigh the negatives, so let’s take a closer look at what exactly they can offer you.


Thriving in a Collaborative Environment

Picture this, you’re in a space in which everyone has the same goal – success. You’re surrounded by like-minded people, from various backgrounds, boiling over with different ideas and motivations. It’d be difficult not to get swept up in the swell of creativity that arises from co-working spaces, as there are so many benefits of collaborative working for businesses.

The best part is – you can often find people who are working on similar things to you, which opens the door to an exchange of ideas. This is something you’d never get if you were working from home or in a typical office space.



Workspace Variety Keeps Things Fresh

In co-working spaces, no one is forcing to use the same desk every day. It’s up to you where you want to work, and for how long. This variety allows you to spread your wings one day to get involved in the hustle and bustle, rubbing shoulders with other budding success-makers, and the next day seclude yourself away from the world in a separate quieter area to get your head down and focus.

They say variety of the spice of life, and working in a co-working space is no different!


Networking, Networking, Networking

Did we mention networking? It’s pretty important for those looking to broaden their horizons in business. Much like we’ve discussed already, you’re in an environment with so many other people, so why not strike up a conversation?

Networking can lead to some fantastic opportunities for you and your business, and one of the biggest strengths of co-working spaces is facilitating the exchange of ideas which can lead to greater outcomes.

Businesses these days may need assistance from many different industries, so in a co-working space you’d be able to put the feelers out and see who’s willing to join you on your success crusade.



A Structured Routine Keeps Work Separate from Home

When you enter into a co-working environment, you’re effectively separating your work life from your home life. Some people thrive when working from home, and that’s perfectly fine, but over time the merging of home life and work life becomes all but inevitable.

Co-working spaces allow you to firmly put a wedge between these two aspects of your life, allowing them both to flourish, and in turn, allowing you to feel more fulfilled in both.


Mental Health and the Need for Social Interaction

Human beings are social creatures (some more than others, we get it), but another fantastic advantage of co-working spaces is the fulfilment of social needs.

When working from home or remotely, over time some people can start to feel isolated. Shut out from the day-to-day interactions they’d become so used to. Entering into a co-working space is like walking into a crowd of people which all share the same ambitions as you. Like friends that are yet to be made. This does wonders for your mental health, staving off those loneliness demons for just a bit longer.



The Challenges of Co-Working Spaces

We’ve explored the good, now let’s take a look at the possible downsides of co-working spaces.

We’ll reiterate that we think co-working spaces are great, but we simply must go over the cons too if we’re going to give a more balanced view of their reality.


Open Spaces Leave Room for Distraction

Some people are easily distracted, others not so much. Co-working spaces are very large, can be loud (depending on how many people are currently occupying it), and tend to be very open.

If you don’t suffer distractions too often, you can disregard this point, but it’s a fact that some people really do. The very openness that leads to innovation and collaboration can in fact be a double-edged sword for those who struggle to get their head down in such a bustling environment.



Limited Privacy When Talking Business

When surrounded by so many people, it’s almost inevitable that someone is going to hear your conversations, a meeting or possibly even sensitive business decisions.

This can easily be avoided by booking a private room within the co-working space for a short time, but it must be said that the people density of spaces like these don’t really allow for too much privacy. It’s not like this would hinder the closing of a business deal, but it’s important to note.


The Cost vs Flexibility Balancing Act

Co-working spaces are very flexible. Perhaps too flexible at times. Gaining access to all areas, meeting rooms, board rooms and the like can sometimes incur extra charges. Many co-working spaces grant access to these rooms by default, which is fantastic, but for those that don’t, the discussion of cost vs need can often arise.

You’d need to evaluate your needs as an individual or small business and find a suitable co-working space that offers what you require. Long-term use can become more of a burden than a blessing too.



Limited Space Can Hinder, Not Help

Space can sometimes be a concern in co-working spaces, which can lead to you not securing your desired spot, leading to the headache of having to find somewhere else to work. This can be entirely avoided by booking far in advance or having a contract that allows you access to the areas (s) that you need during working hours.

However, if you’re attempting to book on the day, you can sometimes find yourself out of luck – especially in very popular areas of your city. With the rise of freelancing in recent years, co-working spaces have become hotspots for solo flyers to base themselves – something to bear in mind.


No Control Over Environmental Factors

With so many people in one place, it can be difficult to navigate the environmental factors of such a space.

Is the heating making you feel like you’re working on the Sun? Is the air conditioning making the place feel like the arctic? Are the lights so bright you feel like you’re at a Broadway show?

These are all things to consider when entering into a co-working space, and more importantly, factors that you most likely have no control over. Your personal preferences may have to be set aside for the satisfaction of the whole group.



Co-working spaces are not going anywhere. They’ve become such a staple in working life for many people that their usefulness will continue for many years. As for whether they foster innovation or distraction? Well, possibly both. We hope we’ve given you enough information for you to make your own mind up on that one, from what we’ve discussed today.


If co-working spaces might not be your thing, or you’re a business who’s looking for a more permanent solution to your office needs, head over and check out our serviced offices and managed office spaces today to see our huge range across the UK and Ireland!