Coworking refers to people assembling in a shared space to work independently on varying or group projects.
Those working in a coworking space may work for the same company or different companies, or they could be freelancers or contractors, and entrepreneurs working for themselves. Coworking differs from a typical office workspace because those in a coworking space rarely have the same employer.
As the world continues to move toward a remote and hybrid way of work, coworking spaces have gone from few and far between to commonplace. After all, you can only visit so many coffee shops and cafes before you need a professional environment.
If you’ve grown tired of your home office, a coworking space can be a great change of pace in your work environment. An internet search will provide you with a comprehensive list of coworking spaces near you.
What is a coworking space?
Coworking spaces have similar amenities to a traditional office, such as conference rooms, meeting rooms, break areas, private offices, snacks, kitchens, vending machines, and coffee stations. However, coworking spaces differ when it comes to flexibility. You don't have to sign a long-term lease for a coworking space.
Every coworking space will have what you need to work efficiently from a laptop or tablet. Office space basics like printers and wireless connections are coworking space essentials. Some coworking spaces have startup resources, including coaches, advisors and digital assets like 3D printers and additional technology that you might not have access to otherwise.
There are coworking spaces that operate with efficiency in mind, and in that case, you might not find more than a desk and WiFi access. Like anything in life, choosing a coworking space means taking a close look at what you want and need out of that space and picking the best option.
Types of coworking spaces
Coworking spaces typically come in four options: open workspaces, private workspaces, industry-specific workspaces, and venture/incubator workspaces targeted toward startups. Here's a quick rundown:
Open workspaces and coworking go hand-in-hand. You'll have a hot desk (temporary desk space) in open workspaces, but you'll share your space and common areas with coworking members from different companies. These shared workspaces are a fantastic option for remote work.
Private workspaces come with dedicated desk space you can reserve for a period of time. They’re usually located in a shared office or custom suite. They're usually built specifically for large teams, and members from one employer will share the room or a combination of workspace areas that the company rents or leases. These workspaces are common for small businesses and large corporations alike.
Industry-specific coworking spaces offer networking opportunities and the chance to share experiences and advice. Industry-specific workspaces often cater to creative professions, including artists and graphic designers. These targeted workspaces can be a combination of private and open workspaces, and they encourage collaboration, brainstorming, and the constant sharing of ideas and experiences.
Incubator providers, often referred to as venture capital workspaces, are highly selective coworking spaces. The purpose of venture capital spaces is to attract companies while providing them with the support they need in their growth phases. Venture firms may reduce rent or capital in exchange for equity in a company while providing a flexible workspace.
Who uses coworking?
Coworking is about finding an established, functioning, flexible office space on a budget. From San Francisco and New York City to Berlin, you'll typically find the following people or businesses utilizing coworking spaces instead of traditional office real estate.
- Remote workers
- Digital nomads
- Small businesses
While coworking spaces are a fantastic place to network and meet like-minded entrepreneurs, it also works for global companies with thousands of employees that don't want to deal with the hassle of office management, especially after the life-altering effects of a global pandemic. Coworking spaces never offer the same type of overhead that comes with a traditional office lease, and they often offer discounts or other benefits to non-profit organizations.
Overall, coworking spaces are a fantastic fit for most.
Advantages of coworking
Coworking spaces offer a professional and flexible environment that companies and individuals can tailor to their schedules and preferences. Coworking spaces have many benefits, including:
- Increased productivity
- Flexible working schedules
- Collaboration and networking opportunities
- Shared and private offices
- Professional settings and a coworking community
- Cost-friendly office options
- A sense of community
- Structure in the work-life balance
- Possible funding for startups
The advantages don't stop there. While working from home has its perks, it can be an isolating experience. Sharing a workspace in small teams can be beneficial from a creative and social perspective. As coworking spaces continue to grow, more and more people will reap the benefits of shared office space.