By definition, working is a concept of workspace environment where members who are a diverse group of entrepreneurs, independent professionals, remote workers, and freelancers share a workspace in a setting that is akin to a communal setting. Some of the spaces are run as for-profit enterprises charging member a flat-fee. Others charge their members based on their rate of access. On the other hand, there are coworking facilities that operate as non-profit organizations, and, therefore, charge their members just enough to keep the facility running.
Aside from the shared working space, members enjoy 24/7 access to their workplace, high-speed Wi-Fi, shared fax, printers, and copiers, shared kitchen, lounges, and bathrooms, rentable or reservable conference halls and boardrooms. In this regard, members have access to amenities which they could not afford while operating independently or on using traditional office space.
This concept has picked-up quite well and, in fact, it is thriving with strong showing signs of tremendous growth going into the future. For instance, CNBC recently reported that WeWork went from 1,000 members in two locations in 2010 to more than 130,000 members in 163 locations. Additionally, the company is now valued at over $20 billion, which is a testament to the profitability of this office space concept.
Importantly, coworking has broken the barrier of being office space for freelancers and independent professionals only. Recently HSBC staffed over 300 of its workers with WeWork. Other global corporations that have embraced this concept include Microsoft, SalesForce, Dell, Deutsche Bank, and GE.
One of the reasons the coworking concept has been well received is the rethinking of what workspace should be. Coworking introduces a level of freedom which traditional office spaces cannot. In this regard, much of the tradition office politics, negative office culture, and fierce competition are done away with. As such, workers enjoy a better quality of life, as they experience reduced stress and better control of their lives. However, even though there is more freedom, coworking still has a sense of structure, unlike working at home, thus ensuring that the members are productive.
Another reason that coworking is thriving is its underlying nature of a shared economy. Just like AIRBNB, Uber, and other companies that offer products based on a shared economy, coworking reduces the overhead costs that individuals and businesses incur. For instance, setting up an office, an individual or enterprise will have to search for office space, negotiate and pay the lease, and buy furniture. Additionally, issue such as insurance, supplies, cleaning, and utilities drive the cost of the office space up. However, with coworking, all you have to pay is the membership fee and you are good to go.
Finally, the sense of community that these facilities have has made them quite popular. Coworking facilities have an inherent sense of community that enables the members to corporate and thrive off each other. While working in a coworking space, many people get to interact with other people in their field and in different fields instigating personal growth for each member. Moreover, even though the meaningfulness that comes with being in a community cannot be quantified, the benefits are real with regard to a person’s well-being.
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