If you have friends who are independent contractors or working for startups, you’ve probably heard the term coworking. Although people’s notion of the concept is nothing more than a hip millennial trend, there are actually practical benefits to this model.

In this article, we’ll discuss what coworking is and what are the main purposes of this office space arrangement. We’ll also review the growth of this industry and what types of businesses can best benefit from a coworker community. If you want to learn just about everything you need to know about coworking spaces, get a drink, find a comfy seat, and read on.

What is Coworking?

Before we dig deeper, it’s important to settle this from the get-go: what is coworking? Though there are multiple approaches how to explaining coworking, let’s tackle the matter in the simplest way possible. In its most basic sense, it’s sharing a workspace with other people who may not belong to the same organization or even industry as you. 

In real estate terms, this arrangement means several companies and individuals share an office that provides them with needed amenities to operate. These facilities include desks and chairs, couches, conference rooms, wifi, electric sockets, scanners, printers, and a pantry with coffee, tea, and water.

Some, however, offer more than the essentials. Some spaces provide chill-out lounges, a Skype room, a podcast room, pet-friendly offices, a library, table tennis, foosball, and even free beer! 

Rent prices vary depending on duration and office place requirements. For example, freelancers and independent contractors may choose to get space in a free-seating area for a daily rate. Dedicated seats and private offices, on the other hand, can come at a higher cost and a monthly price at a minimum.

History of Coworking

When you’re not entirely familiar with the movement, you might ask, since when did coworking become a thing? It may not be as new as some perceive it to be. In fact, it has already been around for one and a half decades.

The roots of this movement date back to 2005. San Francisco-based software developer Brad Neuberg started a coworking space, where he invited programmers, writers, and other independent workers to join. 

A few years later, coworking spaces started sprouting around, first in the US, then in other parts of the world. In 2010, August 9 was declared International Coworking Day.

What is the Purpose of Coworking?

Some might ask, why is there a need to work? After all, freelancers can simply work at home while startups can try to find their own office space, right? Here are some factors that make it a viable option for both workers and companies.

Increased Productivity

There’s a reason why many freelancers find themselves Googling “coworking space near me” wherever part of the world they may be. Without a doubt, doing your tasks in an office-like environment, albeit casual, makes you more productive. Anyone who ever tried working at home knows how hard it is to resist all distractions and keep focused on the task at hand. By working in a professional setting, you concentrate better and use your time more efficiently.

Socialization 

One of the drawbacks of independent work is the lack of socialization. Even if you and your colleagues chat daily via online platforms, it’s not the same as talking face to face. Working in a shared space allows people to interact not only with their colleagues but with other people as well. 

Cost-Efficiency

For startups with limited funds, renting an office can cost an arm and a leg. Getting dedicated seats or private offices in a shared space can cut back rental expenses. Just think about it: you and all the other clients in the building will share the utility and maintenance costs. You don’t have to hire your receptionists, door attendants, custodians, or cleaners either.   

Professional Environment

For some industries, meeting clients at a coffee shop can be acceptable. In some circumstances, however, it can be a big no-no. Inviting clients to meet you at a conference room in your coworking space makes your brand appear more reliable and professional.

Networking

Working with other people in a shared space allows you to mingle and widen your network. This is a vital factor for independent workers and entrepreneurs looking for people to collaborate with. It can also bring huge opportunities for startups that are still trying to build their clientele.

The Growth of Coworking

With the rise of startups, virtual teams, and remote work, we can only expect the coworking industry to grow bigger. In fact, some thought leaders predict that it can be a new way of making a living in the next decades. Some also suggest that we’ll eventually drop the “co” and just refer to it merely as working. In short, it’s expected to be the new norm in commerce.

What Types of Businesses Use Coworking?

What is coworking good for? Here are the sectors that benefit the best from this arrangement.

Startups 

As mentioned earlier, startups can save a lot in leasing and operation expenses if they decide to work. Setting up in a shared working space allows them to enjoy a decent office sans the hassle of upkeep. By saving on office costs, they can have a more massive working capital, which is always good for growing companies.

Remote Workers and Solopreneurs

Working in your bed while wearing pajamas might not be the most ideal if you need to be productive. By working in a shared space, you force yourself to get up, shower, put on nice clothes, and go out. Furthermore, a change of scene can do a lot to stimulate your mind and encourage you to work harder and smarter. 

Traveling Professionals 

Whether you’re a digital nomad or a worker on the road, shared working spaces can do a lot to increase your productivity. If you’re in a new city, simply search “coworking space near me” online. Chances are, you’ll be offered a wide range of options to fit your needs and budget.