COMMON Workspace Coworking 101 title yellow couch with an animated image of man at a desk

Coworking 101

By now, you’ve been impacted by COVID-19 in your day-to-day work life. Nearly everyone you know has been, and everyone has struggled to answer some pretty basic questions about what work looks like, feels like, and sounds like from this point forward.

Together, we’ve seen that some employees are deemed critical and are continuing to work from their place of business, while other employees have been temporarily or permanently uprooted from their offices and sent packing to work remotely. Some of those newly remote employees are working from home, some are working from the local coffee shop, and some have chosen to join a coworking space.

What is coworking?

Wikipedia says: “Coworking is an arrangement in which workers of different companies share an office space, allowing cost savings and convenience through the use of common infrastructure, such as equipment, utilities, and receptionist and custodial services, and in some cases refreshments and parcel acceptance services.” To clarify, coworkers are people that share the collective resources at a location in order to meet their individual goals.

How does coworking actually work?

Coworking normally has desks, workspaces and private offices for rent – by the hour, by the day, by the month. Everything can be tailored and every option starts at a different price point, based on that coworking model for that space. Commonly, you’ll find that coffee, desks, chairs, and high speed WiFi are included. It’s pretty typical to also find additional amenities like private bathrooms, phone booths, conference room access, printing on demand, and unlimited refreshments and/or snacks. Each coworker will use the space a little differently, but everyone is respectful and aware of others in the space as they navigate the coworking community.

Who uses coworking?

It’s where freelancers come to focus on a project they’ve been working on for months on end, and just need a homebase where they can push to get over that finish line. Entrepreneurs (solo-preneurs) use coworking spaces to launch new ideas, to network, and get peer-to-peer business engagement while making their vision a reality. Corporate (remote) workers lean into coworking to have a dedicated office space to do the daily grind, but the unique culture, sense of community and focused workspace makes it a great fit for them. Daily drop-in’s might need a conference room for a few hours so they can work in post-production on their latest podcast. The audience is wide, and continues to expand based on global, national, and local demand.

Where can I find coworking?

Coworking is a global phenomenon several decades in the making. In 2013, it’s estimated there were approximately 3,000 spaces, globally. By the end of December 2020, that number jumps to 20,000, and by 2024, it’s projected to double to 40,000 coworking spaces. Just Google the terms “coworking” and your city name and see what comes up – you might be surprised at the results! In Tucson alone, there are 6 or more coworking spaces scattered around the city, each offering a unique blend of community and culture, while providing the basics like WiFi and unlimited coffee.

What does the future look like?

COVID has had employers and employees looking at alternative officing to get the job done, and coworking offers to check a lot of those boxes. Companies who have temporarily or permanently shut physical locations down, but need their employees to be connected AND productive are recommending coworking spaces to their displaced staff. The coworking space absorbs the burden of the overhead (including wifi, utilities, etc.), and the remote employee invests their employer-sponsored stipend or subsidy to work from a space that makes sense for them. This winning combination makes sense for most situations.

Around the globe, you’ll find more and more coworking spaces are popping up to serve what some are now calling “distanced officing”. Business must go on, but employee success is no longer tethered to the brick & mortar of the company’s physical location.

Just imagine your future in coworking: a dedicated workspace, in an environment responsive to your needs, that YOU get to choose, that functions flawlessly and provides you with as much engagement or as little engagement as you demand….What could be better?

Check out next month’s blog when we dive into the Top 10 Considerations when looking for coworking space!