Why coworking is so much more than just a “rented desk”

Corner office presiding over your sales floor? In the back room of the retail store you manage? From home on your porch in your university t-shirt and a satin robe? At the local coffee spot? On the executive top level of your 150-story powerhouse financial firm?
Coworking so much more than a desk

Here’s a better question: Why?

Why do you choose to work in these spaces? I’m sure the typical answer is because they’re purpose-built for productivity and mental drive (although I’m uncertain how the satin robe fits into that). That’s a fair answer. You’re going to get more done in your office, for example, than say, at a desk in the middle of the zoo’s lion enclosure at feeding time. That’s a valid presumption.

However, I think you’d agree that if we sat here and measured all workspace options against Pride Rock from The Lion King, then anything looks pretty functional. That’s not what you want as a hardworking individual who is driven towards personal and economic growth though, is it? You don’t want what’s better than cats of prey, you want what’s best, period. So let’s break it down.

Take the local coffee spot, for example. It’s well lit, smells of sleeplessness and the staff won’t crush your coffee roll if you want one on the hour every hour. Sounds good. You don’t need to think too hard to see why it isn’t ideal, though. It’s in the name. Coffee shop. It’s a place for coffee. Not work. You might be able to get some work done there. Inevitably, however, whether you want it to or not, the irrelevant chatter from the gossiping teens and the over-the-shoulder view of the guy Facebooking in front of you is going to put you off your goals for peak productivity. You’re with me so far. Now you’re waiting for the solution.

Consider a coworking space. Does it have the word “work” in the title? Check. You’re already ahead of the curve. What is a coworking space though? Fair question. Picture a large expanse with common areas that are openly divided into smaller work stations. Some areas with large tables and no divides to encourage conversation and overlap. Imagine private offices personalized to your needs and secured with your belongings inside. This is a co-working space.

“It sort of just sounds like my entire floor at my office. Why would I pay for that? Am I missing something?”

Yes, you are, completely. The problem is your office floor is full of other people doing the same thing. They’re all working for the same company and building towards that company’s name. It’s admirable, don’t get me wrong. But in a co-working space, you’re a cell in a larger organism. Everyone, there is working on something different. The tech-savvy accountant your company has been trying to hire for months could be two seats over. Your prodigy apprentice could be the young woman knocking on every private office, hustling and meeting people every day she gets to. It’s a melting pot for successful business futurists.

Face it: Your corner office is secluded, so is the backroom of your retail store, you’ll never meet anybody new on your front porch (or in a satin robe, no less), a coffee shop is a place for polite, not productive conversation, and the top floor of your building alienates the guys at the bottom who may have great ideas. It’s not to say none of these options work. It’s that they work better when coupled with the opportunity to simply BE around strangers working on new and exciting projects who can be reached out to and networked with. Your desk at a co-working space is not just an expensive coffee shop table. It’s an opportunity to invest in and capitalize on strangers.

Don’t take my word for it though. A more dynamic workspace could be just around the corner. Pull out your search engine and look for one. There’s probably a space closer than you think.

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