More and more people around the world are finding employment in less traditional settings. With the rise of the internet, freelancing, telecommuting and living the digital nomad lifestyle, I was interested to explore the rise of co-working spaces, its benefits for employees and how the working environments are challenging the conventional 9-5.In recent years, co-working and the surge of start-ups has become increasingly prevalent - particularly among the tech and creative communities. Startup style working environments are no longer something that only happens in Silicon Valley. Co-working spaces are popping up globally left right and centre.The thriving technology industry in Manchester is no exception, with recent figures showing that the city has over 7,500 tech companies, now being the single biggest technology hub outside of London. And after doing a little research I discovered that Manchester is swamped with co-working spaces. Interestingly, I also saw a trend in the companies inhabiting the co-working spaces to be mostly ethical or businesses focusing on doing social good, 'The Politics Project' and 'In Place Of War’ were a couple I came across. Below I have listed just a few which are only a stones throw away from our offices here at Jupiter: Beehive Lofts Co-working, Colony Co-working, The Assembly Co-working, The Federation, and Sevendale Offices.A ‘9-to-5’ environment doesn’t just refer to the working hours, but also to the expectation for everyone to dress a certain way, follow strict conduct and stick to the timetable. Unlike your traditional 9-5 office or working from home, co-working provides better connectivity and opportunity for networking. When goal oriented and accomplished people share the same space at work, there are chances to meet fellow creative thinkers, successful businessmen and entrepreneurs, which lends itself to a more motivated environment.These benefits bring in more ideas and opportunity for new work. Regular social events and other activities also help create a good work/life balance. Being among like minded people also provides emotional reassurance. You have others to bounce ideas off if you come to a brick wall. Working along side other passionate, driven people can also help with motivation.The surge in start-ups has given rise to a changing attitude within the wider working environment. This can be seen not just in small startups but in larger companies. Large companies are also adapting co-working ideologies to create a better work life balance. Google is a great example of this. Google is famous for throwing lots of perks at its employees. Some of these include an onsite gym, free food, beer and wine, the ability to bring pets to work, generous maternity and paternity leave, the opportunity to work from home, a guaranteed up to 3 month unpaid leave, massage therapists, flexible working hours, to name a few... the list goes on.Google creates a space which encourages down time, and somewhere to socialise and destress. It's scientifically proven that the human brain can’t focus on anything any longer than four hours without becoming ineffective. So it makes sense to take time out to recharge during the working day in order to be at your full potential. I think it's important to note that along with these perks comes trust and responsibility, which is important for a healthy employer/employee relationship.Is work culture officially moving away from the conventional 9-5 working environment? Or are startup style working environments a mere trend within the tech industry?Let us know your thoughts.