11 Ways Coworking Meets the Needs of the New Workforce
There’s a lot to like about coworking. A member study found that coworking increases well-being, with 89% of respondents reporting being happier since they started coworking and 83% of people reported being less lonely.
Coworking also offers tangible benefits, including professional space and a variety of amenities to meet the needs of the new workforce of freelancers, digital nomads, startups, solopreneurs, small business owners and remote workers. Here are 11 of our favorites.
Community is at the heart of coworking. Thriving coworking spaces are built around communities of active and engaged members who want to work independently, together. The best coworking spaces could change location or buildings and continue to thrive because the space is driven by the community of members, not the space itself.
2. Mutual Support Networks
In this new economy, people collaborate on projects, businesses and jobs. Coworking helps facilitate these collaborations by bringing professionals of all types together to work and socialize. Mutual support networks emerge naturally out of interactions that take place all day, every day, in coworking spaces. For instance, a programmer may help a fellow member who’s a graphic designer with a piece of code, and that designer may then create a logo for the programmer. These types of reciprocal relationships are commonplace in coworking spaces.
Within these mutual support networks are organic referral networks. Coworking spaces are full of programmers, designers, writers, bookkeepers, artists, project managers, solopreneurs. When one member has client work that falls outside of their expertise, they generally turn to their fellow members. These referrals accelerate the businesses of the members and strengthen the coworking community.
4. Separation Between Work and Home
For some, working from home means that you’re always working because there’s always something to be done. Joining a coworking space lets people get out of the house and create a distinction between work time and non-work time.
5. Meeting Rooms
Meeting a client at a coffee shop may work for some occasions. But eventually, freelancers, solopreneurs and remote workers may need a professional meeting space—whether for a client meeting, a presentation, a workshop or something else. Many coworking spaces provide professional spaces, ranging from small meeting rooms to large event spaces. Members generally have free or discounted access to these spaces.
Coworking spaces are known to boost productivity, with 74% of coworking space members surveyed reporting being more productive since joining a space. In this fast-moving economy and world, increasing productivity can help independent professionals take their business to the next level.
7. Motivation and Inspiration
When you work from home, you may have an inspirational saying on your desk or wall that motivates you. In a coworking space, you’re surrounded by other professionals doing incredible, inspiring work, including graphic design, social good projects, startups, community organizations, digital marketing, software engineering, art, and much more. You can’t help but get caught up in what I call the collective hustle.
8. Resource Sharing and Tips
In addition to mutual support networks that lead to jobs and professional opportunities, coworking spaces are full of people willing to share tips, best practices and resources. For instance, one member needs recommendations for a tool to embed a calendar in her website, so she asks the person sitting next to her; I came across a file extension I couldn’t open, so I walked two seats away to ask a fellow member what they use; and people regularly ask me for advice on a headline or piece of copy they’re working on. These casual interactions serve to strengthen relationships and the community at-large.
Some coworking spaces have members who are willing and able to mentor other members. This can be a major perk. Whether these mentors help other members create a business plan, connect with industry leaders, do market research or just clarify their goals, they can be valuable supports in getting projects and businesses off the ground.
10. Health and Happiness
We already know that coworking makes people happy, but why is that? From my own experience as a longtime member of a coworking space, I feel connected, valued and supported. When I walk in my home space, I’m greeted by friendly faces that want me to succeed. We work independently, together; we chat over coffee; we celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and milestones together; we mourn losses together; we support each other’s crowdfunding efforts; we know members’ children and dogs; we take walks together; we step out for lunch; we go to social events together; we are part of a strong, authentic community and that naturally leads to happiness and increased health.
11. Professional Development Events
Most coworking spaces offer community and professional development events to support members in growing and strengthening their businesses, skillset, and operations. Popular events at coworking spaces include presentations, workshops, Lunch and Learns, accountability programs and networking events.
If you’d like to grow your business or skillset, connect with other professionals and industry leaders, get out of your house, strengthen your social circle, better separate your work and life, or tap into a thriving community of generous, smart people, find a coworking space near you.
Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on coworking, community and the future of work. Publications include Shareable, Yes! Magazine, Mother Jones, Triple Pundit and GOOD. She’s the author of Coworking Out Loud, a guide to content marketing for coworking spaces and collaborative teams. Follow her on Twitter: @CatJohnson