What Exactly is a Coworking Space?
In this detailed article, we’ll go over the basics of a coworking space, how to find a good one (what to look for, what to avoid), who might benefit from this type of place, and any other typical queries you might have.
Are you confused whether a coworking space is good for you?
It could be, or it could not be… Let’s have a look.
What Is a Coworking Space?
Coworking, in general, is defined as when people gather in a neutral location to work on different projects alone or in groups on the same project. Because the people in a coworking environment aren’t all employed by the same company, it differs from a traditional office setting.
These spaces provide many of the same benefits as a regular workplace, as well as a lot more. Because you don’t have to sign a long-term lease in a coworking space, flexibility is a key differentiator.
Every coworking space will provide the necessities, such as WiFi, printers, and usually some form of the conference room, and some will even have tea, coffee, and snacks.
Some will have startup resources available to you, such as digital assets, coaches, and advisors. Some may have 3D printers and other technology that you don’t have access to all of the time. Some of the more budget-conscious coworking places are more barebones, with only a desk and WiFi.
Wikipedia: Coworking is an arrangement in which employees from different firms share office space, allowing for cost savings and convenience by sharing infrastructures such as equipment, utilities, receptionist and janitorial services, and, in some situations, refreshments and parcel acceptance services.
Wait… What Is the Difference Between “Coworking” and “Co-working”?
The question of whether coworking should be hyphenated or not has been debated for some time. So, how did this happen? The AP Stylebook, which is disseminated to journalists all around the world, was the fundamental reason behind the hyphenated term “co-working.”
The Stylebook specifies how they want to spell and punctuate common names and terms. The AP Stylebook, in general, favours any prefix (such as co-owner), and this has been handed down in publications to the phrase “coworking.”
So, what’s the final conclusion? Because coworking is a brand-new business with no established terminology, it should be spelt “coworking.”
What Are the Different Types of Coworking Spaces?
Coworking spaces come in a variety of sizes and shapes. When considering destinations, there are numerous factors to consider. Community, amenities, and the workspace environment are all variables that differ from one location to the next. In this part, we’ll go over the many types of coworking spaces that are available.
Open Workspaces: Open workspaces are usually associated with the word coworking, as this is where coworking originated. Members of different companies use shared areas in these types of workspaces, which have hot desks or dedicated desks.
Private Workspaces: Private workspace is the total opposite of an open workspace. These private areas can be in the shape of an office or even unique suites designed expressly for large groups of people. Members of the same firm either share a dedicated space or a combination of areas that the company has leased or rented.
Specific to the Industry: Isn’t it fantastic to connect with others who have similar interests and experiences? That’s why vertically unique spaces were created. These gathering places are for people who work in the same industry.
There are coworking spaces designed exclusively for creative professionals, for example. Graphic designers, artists, and videographers can all work together under one roof. Keep in mind that these industry-specific workspaces may include a mix of private and open areas.
Venture/Incubators: Some of the most discerning coworking spaces are incubators or venture capital spaces. The goal of these workspaces is to recruit and fund businesses by providing them with the resources they require to expand. In exchange for equity in the companies they accept into their programmes, venture firms traditionally give reduced rent or financing.
Aesthetic elements must be considered in addition to the types of workstations provided. Coworking spaces range from formal and corporate to funky and laid-back. It’s critical to pick a location that reflects your company’s culture. In addition to your plan, coworking places provide on-demand venues where you can reserve a conference room or virtual package.
The History Of Coworking
- 1995: In Berlin, the first “coworking” facility was formed by hackers in 1995. The concept was to allow those who joined the membership to share their thoughts, space, and information in order to perform assignments.
They’ve recently added seminars, lectures, and a range of social activities, contributing to the growing trend of community spaces. Hackerspaces can be found in San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Brooklyn, and the number of them is expanding.
- 1995: Bernard DeKoven coined the term “coworking” in 1995, describing it as “working together as equals.” Individuals who are self-employed or work for various employers but are connected by a computer network can share ideas and plan meetings. In the same year, a software company in New York created a facility with a flexible desk setup.
- 2002: In Schraubenfabrik, Vienna, the first coworking space debuted in an old restored factory that began as a community centre for businesses. It grew to encompass freelancers and other professionals who use cell phones and laptop computers. The locations grew and functioned under the moniker Konnex Communities in 2004, marking the start of the local coworking space network.
- 2005: In August of 2005, Brad Neuberg opens the first coworking space in San Francisco, believing that home offices and business centres were unsocial and unproductive. Desks, free wifi, communal lunches, bike rides, meditation, and massages were all available until 5:45 p.m. It shuttered after a year and was replaced by the Hat Factory in 2006.
A franchising network in London created 40 coworking spaces on five continents. St. Oberholz established its first cafes in Berlin, offering free internet access. Above its cafe, St. Oberholz now has a proper coworking area.
- 2006: In San Francisco, the Wiki coworking space debuts in 2006. One of the co-founders is Chris Messina, who invented the Twitter hashtag. At the Hat Factory, the first full-time coworking space debuts.
Brad Neuber, Chris Messina, and Tara Hunt are the co-founders. It was one of roughly 30 coworking spaces around the world at the time. Jellies is a place where groups may meet and exchange ideas in a casual setting without committing to anything – the community can then grow into a coworking space if they choose.
- 2007:The term “coworking” appears for the first time in Google’s database. The number of searches has skyrocketed. The term “coworking” has become a household name in the media. The term “coworking” has made it into Wikipedia’s English version.
- 2008/2009: Unofficial coworking meet-ups occur, and the first Coworking conference is planned for 2010 in Brussels. The Coworking Visa was introduced in August, allowing members of various coworking spaces to access other coworking locations for free.
Cubes & Crayons was the first coworking space to launch alongside childcare for infants through preschoolers. There were around 160 coworking spaces throughout the world at the end of 2008.
- 2009: Germany opens Betahaus, the first official coworking space, which is featured in Spiegel, the world’s largest news magazine. According to Google trends, Germany was the first country in Europe to use the phrase “coworking” in 2010.
- 2010: The initiative commemorated the first #CoworkingDay in 2010. In Brussels, the first European coworking conference was held. There were at least 600 coworking spaces in the world at the time, with more than half of them in North America.
- 2011: Austin, Texas hosted the first “Coworking Unconference.” The first round of angel fundraising for a network of places has begun. Large corporations began to investigate the coworking concept and created their own chain of corporate coworking locations.
- 2012: More than 2,000 coworking spaces have opened throughout the world. Twitter, for example, has seen a massive spike (over 50%) in tweets with the hashtag “coworking” compared to the previous year.
- 2013: At the start of the year, a coworking space had as many as 100,000 members. The 3,000th coworking space opens in the middle of the year. The majority of coworking spaces are network-free. They offered the first health insurance coverage in an Ontario coworking environment.
- 2015: The New York Times reports on a new concept in which coworking and home offices are combined in a resort or hotel. “Co-Working on Vacation: A Desk in Paradise” is the title of the narrative.
The tale is around mixing coworking and coliving on Gran Canaria, a surfing mecca in the Canary Islands. The Surf Office was born, having been opened as an experiment two years prior, and has since become a popular hangout for freelancers, surfers, and travellers.
- 2016:The concept of coworking and coliving has expanded. WeWork launched WeLive, a residential co-living community in New York City. The units are generally studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms, with at least one private bathroom and a private kitchen.
They are usually equipped, decorated, and cable-ready, as well as internet-ready. They also have a community manager that organises events and other activities. Campus coliving’s 34 locations in New York and California are closing.
- 2017: WeWork acquires funds and becomes the most valuable private digital business in the United States; its competitors include Uber and Airbnb. The company is valued at $20 billion. A total of 1.2 million people would have worked in a coworking space around the world.
- 2018: As of 2018, there are a number of major rivals in the market that are giving WeWork a fight for their money. Impact Hub, Venture X, and Serendipity are among the coworking franchises that are expanding across the city.
- 2019: WeWork’s valuation dropped from 49 billion to 8 billion after an unsuccessful IPO attempt with SoftBank, allowing SoftBank to acquire control of the company and remove its management team.
- 2020: New coworking platforms, such as DropDesk, are emerging to cover the gap between coworking software, physical facilities, and remote workers.
Key Coworking Growth Statistics
- In 2020, the global number of coworking spaces is expected to reach about 20,000. (Allwork.Space)
- By 2024, the number of coworking spaces in the world is predicted to more than double, surpassing 40,000. (Allwork.Space)
- By 2022, 13% of companies outside the United States will be employing shared workplaces (Allwork.Space).
- In 2019, there were more than 3 million coworkers worldwide. By 2022, this figure is predicted to nearly double (smallbusinessgenius)
- Co-working spaces were the fastest-growing type of office space in commercial real estate prior to the pandemic. While they presently account for less than 5% of the market, they are predicted to account for 30% by 2030. (CNBC).
- Since 2010, flexible space has grown at a rate of 23% per year on average (JLL)
- The top ten coworking and flexible office space providers now account for 36% of the market (Forbes).
- When it comes to new spaces opening up, New York and London are the world’s leading cities (smalbusinessgenius)
The Advantages of Coworking
Here are some of the benifits of coworking spaces that will be discussed throughout this post, but here’s a quick review of the main reasons why people enjoy utilising them.
- Motivation: When you’re in a room full of motivated people, there’s just energy of productivity in the air. It’s almost impossible to take a break. You’ll accomplish a lot.
- Community: There is a sense of belonging here. It’s astonishing how far the community will go to assist one another thrive in settings where regulars and familiar faces are present.
- Flexibility: Rather than signing a long-term lease, coworking spaces offer much more flexibility. It’s ideal for companies on a shoestring budget, and it even has choices for independent freelancers.
- Getting Out of the House: Working from home is convenient, but it’s also easy to get stuck in a routine. Being in the company of other people is excellent for your spirits, keeps you sharp, and stimulates your creativity.
- Networking: When you have so many individuals in common, it’s only a matter of time until you start networking and new opportunities start to come naturally.
What Types of People Use Coworking Spaces?
In the startup and freelancing worlds, coworking spaces are very popular. When coworking spaces first became popular, it was common to imagine an (over-the-top) office building where everyone rode unicycles and sat on enormous bean bag chairs. Coworking is used by a wide range of businesses, not simply those on a tight budget. So, who works in a coworking space?
Remote Workers or Freelancers
Coworking has become popular among small firms that don’t want the overhead of a regular lease. It’s no surprise that small businesses currently make up the bulk of coworking space customers because there are very few expenditures to get started and the coworking membership covers most (if not all) of the facilities a business requires on a daily basis.
Yes, even large multinational corporations such as Nike have joined coworking organisations to meet their office requirements. Managing office needs can be difficult when you have thousands of people working all over the world. These businesses either hire a coworking provider to design a specific space for them or act as the space’s major anchor tenant.
Many coworking spaces provide non-profit discounts or arrangements. These organisations have drawn to these flexible coworking connections because of the all-in cost reductions of coworking (and because they are cost-conscious).
Coworking Vs Other Remote Work Alternatives
Working in a socially-based, professional atmosphere is one of the most prominent advantages of a coworking space. This not only alleviates the loneliness that many people experience in their home offices, but it can also provide creative benefits such as the chance to create, cooperate, and network with coworkers. Here are a few resources that can assist you in learning more about coworking spaces.
Working From Home
The traditional “office culture” has both advantages and disadvantages. Many online entrepreneurs start their own businesses to avoid some parts of the traditional corporate lifestyle and culture. When it comes to establishing a business or even working for someone else, working remotely has opened up a world of options.
Despite the advantages, there are some things you will miss out on. There are numerous advantages to working from home or in hotel rooms. It’s wonderful to be able to get up whenever you want, take breaks whenever you want, and dress in slacks whenever you want.
It’s also easy to lose focus and get off track towards the end of the day. Being in an office environment has a way of keeping you motivated, on track, and making the most out of your time.
It’s fantastic not having a boss peering over your shoulder and tracking your time when you’re a freelancer or anyone else who sets their own schedule, but you’re still accountable to yourself.
When you’re working with other people, even if they have nothing to do with your project, aren’t your coworkers, and you don’t even speak to them, there’s a certain amount of accountability that exists.
The Coffee Shop
You begin by ordering a latte and looking for a seat in the café. It all adds up over time. Those lattes add up to a monthly bill, and that’s before the cost of your lunchtime coffee cake is factored in. Not to mention coffee shop decorum. You can’t spend your entire workday babysitting one drink. Every 90 minutes, you should get a new paid drink or food item.
When you get there, you’re always gambling because it’s sometimes packed and you have to go to another one, which cuts into your work time. You can settle in with free endless coffee at a coworking space. You’ll have a range of sitting options and common areas to choose from in order to set yourself up for success for the day.
If you’re on a business call in a café, you might have to yell to be heard over the others. Simply reserve a conference room at a coworking space to accept calls in a peaceful, private setting. It’s possible that you won’t be able to find an outlet at all.
Charge-hungry freelancers gobble up any and all opportunities like they’re going out of style. Do you have to use the restroom? Coffee shops are the only places on the planet where you can ask a stranger to watch your costly laptop and headphones while you use the restroom.
To keep customers socially isolated, many coffee shops have removed tables or taped-off chairs, and some don’t even allow you to stay inside. You will not be turned away because coworking spaces are considered a necessary business.
Your favourite restaurant can seem like the ideal setting to set up for an afternoon, with table service and as much food and drink as you need. Many restaurants will let you work for a few minutes after your meal as long as you aren’t taking up space during the lunch rush, but if you take too long, you will be asked to vacate the table for other customers.
Not to mention your poor server, who will have to wait till you leave to go home, as well as giving up the possibility for more turnover, which will result in larger tips. It’s also not a good idea to bring your laptop into a restaurant, especially if it’s busy. To accept calls in a peaceful, private space, simply hire a conference room at a coworking space.
A shared workspace, designed with one goal in mind, is an excellent option to working from home or a coffee shop for freelancers and remote employees. Coworking facilities offer distraction-free areas, chairs, and desks where you can work comfortably for long amounts of time, as well as all the power and space you require for your essentials.
Coworking spaces provide you with productive workspaces as well as meeting rooms that are fully equipped with all of your meeting necessities. You can reserve a conference room by the hour for hosting customers in a professional atmosphere, or get a day pass for a seat in a trendy workstation near you.
If you’re worried about missing out on your caffeine fix, don’t be. As we previously stated, coworking spaces provide endless coffee as well as fast and dependable WiFi.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Coworking Space
With 2022 approaching and an estimated 23,000 coworking spaces worldwide, how can you pick the ideal coworking space for your needs? Before making a decision, consider the following tips for choosing a coworking space:
You want to be encouraged to come to work every day, network, and make new friends, in addition to the “business” motivations for joining a community.
Future of Coworking
As more young people understand that they don’t have to follow in their parents’ footsteps and pursue a more traditional job path, the number of freelancers and entrepreneurs who take the plunge is expected to rise. Technology, awareness, and opportunity will drive this.
For those entering the workforce today, coworking will be the new standard. It’s unlikely that coworking spaces will supplant office buildings in general, or that everyone will become a freelancer at some point in the future. Large organisations will thrive, and new ones will be built from the ground up, but they will focus less on having centralised locations and more on offering perks like remote working when it is possible.
In 2017, there were around 57.3 million freelancers in the United States alone, and by 2027, they expect that the majority of the US workforce will do some form of freelance work, including people who freelance part-time.
Should You Try Coworking?
If you’re interested in giving coworking a try, the best thing you can do is just do it. If you just want to come in, do your work, and then leave, don’t be bothered about any social duties. It’s similar to going to the gym.
Nobody will interrupt you if you are in the zone because everyone is there to complete a certain task. You’ll meet some fantastic local entrepreneurs and establish a coworking community if you’re open to chatting and being approached.
If you’re stuck in your business, startup, app, blog, or whatever other project you’re working on… Opting a coworking space for a few hours could be just what you need to get things moving again.