Across industries, hundreds of jobs have emerged in recent years to satisfy the needs of a changing and more digital society, largely due to new technology. But that’s not all — new ideas like co-working have also arrived on the scene. Here’s what it’s all about.  

“Co-working” is where freelancers, business owners and employees working remotely full- or part-time, SMEs and startups share a physical or virtual space. This successful concept has evolved radically, and people whose job only requires a computer and Internet prefer it to regular office work. According to a study by Statista, more than 23,000 co-working spaces dot the globe, where workers can benefit from: 

  • Flexibility: co-working spaces offer hourly, daily or more long-term rates, meeting rooms and other services to cover their members’ diverse needs. 
  • Cost savings: co-working tends to be cheaper than renting or buying office space. 
  • Synergy: while workers aren’t necessarily colleagues, they could be in the future. When people in similar or distinct roles and industries interact, networking thrives, along with new ideas and common projects. 

However, co-working can have some downsides, like little or no privacy to handle sensitive or confidential matters because workers belong to different companies; generally stricter business hours that limit the workday; and the many distractions found in open spaces. 

Santander Work Café, our own co-working model

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Work Café combines all the services of a bank branch with the amenities of a co-working space. It originated with Santander Chile and expanded quickly to the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Portugal and the UK.

Types of co-working spaces

Co-working spaces have the same purpose but can differ in many ways. Even though no predefined categories exist, we can still set them apart. General co-working is where workers and businesses in several industries have a set area or station to work. On the other hand, flexible co-working is where members don't have a set workstation and can come and go as they please; it’s usually preferred by workers who need to travel often for meetings and other things.  

But those two models involve a specific space, which is not always the case in co-working. “Nomad” co-working spaces are ideal for people who are constantly on the move and work remotely. 

And lastly, other types of co-working spaces are intended for specific businesses and activities, like social causes to help communities and the planet; or visual arts, with studio space. 

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