With an entire decade under its belt, the term “coworking” has officially established itself as a reputable game-changer. Many, however, still have yet to learn what coworking is or why it’s important to all of us. When taking a peek under coworking’s hood, it doesn’t take long to realize that coworking is doing much more for people, company cultures, and even the economy than just providing a hip place for people to get work done.
Coworking 101: But what exactly is coworking?
Let’s define coworking. Coworking is the use of a creative working environment by startups, freelancers, and small companies who share resources and ideas as one community.
Imagine a glorified coffee shop, equipped with bottomless brews, lounge areas, a treadmill desk (yes, these really exist), multiple seating options, conference rooms, a fireplace, and murals done by local artists – all shared by people from different walks of life, career paths, and stages of business – and just like that, you’ve got the basics of a coworking space. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Fortunately for everyone, coworking is very real, and the growing popularity of them is completely shaking up office spaces and real estate markets around the globe.
Coworking was created 10 years ago when people finally started noticing just how much time they spend at their offices. Here’s a (not-so) fun-fact: if you work until you’re 65, you’ll spend approximately 10.5 years in your office (terrifying, right?). If you’re going to spend around 30-45 hours of your 168 hour week working, for about 40 years of your life, then it’s easy to conclude that everyone needs to enjoy their office environment.
So, What’s The Big Deal?
The beautiful thing about today’s world is that people don’t have to be “professionals” to start making a living for themselves.
One of coworking’s many strengths is the diversity of its member communities. Members range from corporate to startup, freelancer to small business, and even remote workers. Common Desk’s members are artists, Indian Bali dance marketers, composers, social media strategists, accounting specialists, serial entrepreneurs, CEOs, software developers, NFL football players, nonprofit operators, designers, chefs, doctors, and even pastors. Coworking truly has a place for anyone and everyone.
Working in such an eclectic and diverse environment means that the opportunities to establish connections, form new friendships, find new brand ambassadors, and learn from others’ trades are truly endless.
Some like to describe coworking as a “playground for adults,” and they definitely aren’t wrong. With constant community events like member lunch outings, Show & Tells, impromptu happy hours, coffee meetups, workshops, and even spontaneous concert trips, there’s no way to not have fun working in a coworking space once you find one that really complements your personality.
Office space doesn’t have to look mundane if you don’t want it to. With more and more people working for themselves these days, the need for community in the workspace is greater than it’s ever been. Community is something to be fervently pursued in every aspect and realm of life, and it makes everything you do, encounter, or risk much easier by ensuring a support system is in place to lift you up. Finding a community that you feel you’re an integral part of is of dire importance whether you’re a 20 year old student or a 73 year old professional.
The need for community in the workspace is greater than it’s ever been.
The pattern that many once followed of finding a stable job and keeping it for decades (whether they enjoyed it or not) is almost extinct at this point. People are starting to prioritize meaningful work and flexibility over finding and staying in a traditional career path. Forbes projects that by 2020, more than 40% of Americans will be working independently in some form or fashion. Pause to take that in for a second. Half of the American population could be self-employed in just 4 years. That’s no small shift in the economy and lifestyle of the people of this country! So what exactly does this shift mean for the modern workforce?
It means that when the economy isn’t doing so hot, people have more incentive and support to create work for themselves. And as real estate prices continue to rise, especially in big cities, more and more people are starting to seek shorter contracts, all-inclusive office solutions, and more affordable square footage.
It also means that more and more companies are beginning to realize the benefits of mobilizing their workforce. Fortune 500 businesses like Google are beginning to let their employees work off-site if they want to, and these business leaders are watching as employee happiness skyrockets.
Knowing this, it’s evident that the future of coworking has never been brighter! How, you ask? Let’s take a walk on the wild side of office solutions together:
The foundation of coworking is shared-everything. From shared desks to shared bikes to shared kitchens and even shared coffee stations – coworking capitalizes on the fact that we can work better when we work together.
Coworking frees the chains of cubicle bondage, connects professionals from all walks of life, removes loneliness and isolation, and gives plenty of wiggle room for growing companies without binding them to long contracts. Coworking also utilizes design concepts that the traditional office space would never dream of executing, and it can get away with adding quirky features like giant murals, bathroom white boards, and cutting-edge nap rooms to its list of “office amenities”.
When you stop and think about the grand scheme of office things, coworking cuts costs for businesses exponentially. Joining a coworking space means companies no longer have to pay for office chairs and supplies, hire receptionists, pay steep prices for fast wifi, design their own office space, or search all over a city for proper conference rooms.
Also worth mentioning is the power that lies in the member population of coworking spaces. Coworking is bringing people together from all walks of life, trades, industries, and demographics to form one harmonious and creative community of professionals. Instead of having to search all over a city to find an attorney, a photographer, a designer, or really anything for that matter, coworking members can simply ask their space’s Community Manager for recommendations, and the CM can have them connected to someone in the blink of an eye.
Coworking is bringing people together from all walks of life, trades, industries, and demographics to form one harmonious and creative community of professionals.
Coworking inserts community into all of its blueprints. Most individuals who join coworking spaces (71% to be exact) experience creativity boosts, and 62% admit that their standard of work drastically improved after they joined a coworking space – all because of the energy that’s created when people from different trades work alongside one another, encourage one another, and support one another. So moving from, say, a coffee shop to a coworking space may be beneficial for your productivity!
If you’re a fan of month-to-month flat-rate payments, all-inclusive facilities, wearing whatever you want to work, community functions, free Red Bull, coffee, and/or beer (yes, it’s true), impressive art pieces and murals, free high-speed wifi (gigs of fiber to be exact), frequent free meals, and officing in creative neighborhoods, then coworking is going to be your dream come true!
So what are you waiting for? Find and take a tour of a coworking space near you to see what coworking could do for you and your business!