What is Coworking and How Does it Work?
Coworking spaces are a relatively new alternative to working from home or from a coffee shop. These shared office spaces have evolved quickly to keep up with the changing ways in which people can work.
In this article, we provide a complete overview of everything you need to know about a coworking space and how it works. We’ll answer:
What is a Coworking Space?
Coworking spaces are environments that are specially designed to accommodate professionals from different companies who come to do work. The facilities are shared among its members, along with all on-site services and tools. Typically, coworking spaces include a mix of private offices and desks along with social spaces and collaborative areas for colleagues to share ideas and work together.
How Does it Work?
While coworking spaces are open to the public, there are usually some membership rules that users must abide by in order to take advantage of all amenities. Coworking memberships are usually available at different tiers tailored to your work schedule. For instance, someone could drop in for day pass access, or they could opt in for a monthly membership to enjoy access to additional benefits like:
- Dedicated desks
- Private offices
- Executive suites
- Business listing
- Conference rentals
- And more
The History of Coworking
The concept of coworking was first conceived in 1995 by hackers in Berlin. These hackers wanted a space to share their ideas, space, and information to those who joined their membership.
From there, coworking spaces started popping up all over the world. Later in 1995, a space opened up in New York by a software company with flexible desk seating. Ten years later in August 2005, San Francisco opened its first coworking space offering free Wi-Fi, shared lunches, bike tours, meditation, and massages.
By 2010, there are at least 600 coworking spaces worldwide, with more than half of them located in North America. Larger companies slowly started exploring their own coworking concepts, opening their own spaces specializing in corporate coworking. Thanks to their efforts, in 2012 there were more than 2,000 established coworking spaces worldwide.
Today, the market is saturated with coworking options ranging from WeWork to Impact hub to Venture X, adapting to the changing needs of modern-day professionals with every iteration.
Is it coworking or co-working?
There’s an ongoing debate about whether coworking is hyphenated or not. While the AP Stylebook told journalists worldwide that the hyphenated term “co-working” is the proper spelling, this is actually improper. Since coworking is a new industry and is unrelated to traditional terms, the correct spelling should be “coworking” without the hyphen.
Who Uses Coworking Spaces?
The demographics for coworking spaces are constantly evolving. As such, there are many different types of members actively using coworking spaces today. These include professionals like:
- Small Startups: The relaxed, flexible yet professional atmosphere at a coworking space is an excellent place for startups to grow and thrive.
- International Companies: Large corporations with employees from all over the world find office management easier when relying on a coworking facility.
- Freelancers: Coworking spaces offer a perfect solution for solopreneurs working for themselves who need a pay-as-you-go alternative to traditional office rentals.
- Remote Workers: From IT technicians to graphic designers to sales representatives, remote workers of all kinds use coworking spaces to focus.
Why are Coworking Spaces Important?
Coworking spaces offer their members several benefits that other work-from-home solutions don’t provide at the same scale, including:
- Flexibility: Facilities are designed to look like an office space, minus all the rigidity and formality.
- Affordability: Coworking spaces eliminate the most expensive business cost (your workplace) and turns it into an affordable service.
- Innovation: The way we work is constantly changing, and coworking spaces are the biggest driver in the next evolution of how, where, and when we work.
- Support: Coworking supports every remote worker, everywhere, no matter what the job description or duties.
With so many people embracing remote work, coworking spaces have the opportunity to completely transform the modern workforce. These facilities are constantly adapting to the changing needs of today’s professionals, making a lasting impact on how we approach work.
What Should I Look for in a Coworking Space?
When scoping out a suitable coworking space, it’s important to look for facilities that can provide the amenities that matter most. For example, at Interworks, our coworking space features many different solutions that professionals need to have the most productive, enjoyable experience at work, including:
- Accommodations: From coworking common areas to executive suites with personal kitchens, a coworking space should be able to accommodate businesses of any size.
- Flexibility: Members should be afforded 24/7 access so they can work when and where they need to. They should also be able to move freely from common areas to focus rooms as needed throughout their workday.
- Dedicated Desks: A great coworking space will offer dedicated desks to its members so they don’t have to worry about finding a spot to work when they come in for the day.
- Private Offices: When privacy and focus are of the utmost importance, it’s good to find a coworking facility that offers private office spaces to its members.
- Other Amenities: Along with workplace accommodations, Interworks offers many unique amenities such as free parking, coffee bar access, printing services, high-speed internet, and much more.
If you’re feeling stagnant in your current workplace or want the opportunity to network with likeminded professionals, coworking spaces are a great option. The best thing you can do if you’re unsure is to give it a try and experience the benefits for yourself.