Only one in eight wants to return to the corporate office

Co-working for SMEs: why businesses are becoming more receptive to new working models – and how they benefit.


  • Future

The pandemic has changed working habits and accelerated digitisation: whereas the daily commute to the office was once the norm with, if you were lucky, one day of working from home per week, the reverse is true today. “A survey by Deloitte in 2021 suggests that only one in eight employees wants to return full-time to the corporate office,” says Claudius Krucker, co-chair of the Coworking Switzerland association. More than half would like to work primarily from home or some other location. In reality, workers are increasingly seeking flexibility and autonomy, which, for businesses, means having to respond appropriately – for instance with new working models – if they want to remain attractive as employers. Time was when it was mainly the self-employed who needed a desk-on-demand in a coworking space. This has changed.

Why SMEs are finding coworking worth their while

“It’s a fact that SMEs benefit from coworking scenarios,” says Krucker. These offer flexible solutions that can be booked depending on the kind of work coming up – which saves on expensive permanent office space. Need a large room for a team meeting? Coworking spaces have them available to rent on demand. Staff don’t want to commute to the office every day? Desk space that can be rented flexibly close to home is often a better alternative to working from home. "Coworking spaces usually offer better facilities and more efficient working; they also help maintain personal contact with others,” says Krucker. And the availability of corporate car sharing vehicles at coworking spaces is also useful (see map). Especially when there’s a shortage of skilled workers, companies need to accommodate their employees’ desire for greater autonomy – for example by covering the cost of desk space in coworking spaces.

What SMEs should bring to the table

The right corporate culture needs to be present for coworking to fit into an organisation, says Krucker: “Rather than be completely reliant on compulsory in-person working, organisations need to be receptive to the idea of staff autonomy.”

Tips: how SMEs can get into coworking

  • Rent a permanent team office: ensure that similar sectors are represented in the coworking space (for better networking and exchange activity).

  • Rent individual desk space: staff can choose according to their personal needs, e.g. proximity to home.

  • Ensure fuss-free accessibility: is the coworking convenient for public transport? Proximity to Mobility vehicles: both coworking and corporate car sharing are rooted in the notion of sharing and sustainability.

Further information

Coworking in Switzerland:

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