While coworking spaces have become a recent phenomenon, the concept has actually been in practice for decades. In the late 90s, coders, engineers, developers, and programmers in Germany developed “hackerspaces,” a community-oriented place that motivated them to exchange ideas and learn from each other’s skills. The goal wasn’t to learn from one field of study exclusively, but rather to stimulate a collaboration on different areas of design, prototyping, creative problem-solving.
By 2005, software engineer Brad Neuberg established the first collective workspace in San Francisco and officially coined the term “coworking space” as we know it today.
One thing remains constant in the evolution of this idea: A coworking space invites communities and different businesses to come together, collaborate, and exchange ideas. This feature has made coworking spaces even more popular in the current landscape, where everything is shareable and everyone wants to be connected.
With almost 19,000 coworking spaces and three million coworkers around the world in 2019, the numbers for both are only expected to increase in the next three to five years.
This is understandable considering that a coworking space offers more benefits than just working in a cubicle within a traditional office. According to the same report, nearly 90% of people feel happier and more motivated after joining a coworking space because they have more exciting opportunities for social interactions (like attending our Breakfast Club, Collab Coffee, Upskill Hour, and Unwined Fridays).
There are so many reasons businesses are choosing coworking spaces. They’re more cost-efficient because they reduce exorbitant traditional lease fees. They boost morale and productivity for the entire team, encouraging them to stay with your business longer. And a coworking space inspires people to be creative and collaborative while allowing them to work however they feel most comfortable.
Collaboration and networking amongst different businesses
More people want to be in collaborative spaces because they provide the daily office interactions they need as well as the feeling of belonging in a community.
Being in a shared space allows you to meet others, work with them on ideas (especially when you’re feeling stuck on a project or task) and encourages you to network with other like-minded individuals.
A coworking space develops its own culture which is nurtured by the people who keep the community together. Participating in coworking space-wide activities and expanding your circles can create a positive impact in the way you think, act, and even work.
It also improves your work-life balance and productivity. Rather than hunching over segregated desks, you can literally work alongside other people from different industries with different skill sets. This encourages you and others to create a melting pot of different ideas that can develop into new projects.
Being around other people encourages you to start supporting each other in achieving your respective goals, brainstorming new ideas, and sharing business objectives.
Having regular and consistent interactions with different people will give you opportunities to learn from their experiences (and vice versa) and share the challenges you’re currently going through. The camaraderie and community you’ll find in a coworking space allows you to ask for advice from industry experts and innovate alongside them.
Coworking creates a sense of belonging
While a traditional office can be just as expansive and full of people as a coworking space, it can often be isolating and monotonous when people feel like they’re just another cog in the corporate machine. On the other hand, a coworking space provides a community that gives you a sense of belongingness and helps you feel more purposeful and motivated with your work. The open and welcoming environment of a coworking space ensures that you never feel alone or uninspired.
Feeling a sense of belonging is vital for our wellbeing. There’s substantial evidence that loneliness has a negative impact on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. Loneliness can affect your health as it increases the risk of high blood pressure and the development of heart diseases. It can also make a person more prone to depression and cognitive decline.
Building genuine social connections can significantly improve your physical and mental health. And in a coworking space, people don’t feel forced to interact because they have the freedom to choose when they want to socialise with others. You can work alone in a quiet space when you need to or you can join more communal spaces to collaborate with others.
A coworking space then creates a unique work environment. People now have autonomy over how they work and interact with others; yet at the same time, being part of a community also encourages people to establish structures and routines to continue being productive.
It’s also an environment where it’s considered the norm to help each other out (unlike the traditional cut throat corporate work culture). With so many people from different industries, it’s highly likely that someone has the skill sets you need to help you solve your problems.
Humans are social beings so working with strangers can help jumpstart creativity, productivity, and entrepreneurship. It may seem strange to build a connection with a random person rather than someone you already have a relationship with in the same business. But meeting new people can help you discover unexpected ideas, share your line of work with new connections, and soak up the creativity and productive energy of everyone else in the coworking space.
Coworking encourages diversity
By fostering a sense of community and collaboration, a coworking space also encourages diversity and acceptance. People from different backgrounds and industries can get to know one another and come together.
An inclusive environment gives people the opportunity to encounter others with different worldviews and opinions while learning about their different skills and industries. This benefits not only your professional development but also your personal growth as it exposes you to more perspectives.
In a traditional working space, we often unconsciously create our own bubble of comfort and safety, which can be stagnating and monotonous. While working alone or with other like-minded people can be beneficial, the diversity you’ll find in a coworking space will encourage you to learn from other people’s unique experiences, thoughts, and ideas. Working alongside others can inspire you to be more open-minded and to learn more about certain topics or industries.
The trending movement of coworking spaces also means that there’s an increasing number of opportunities for minorities and female entrepreneurs. A coworking space provides easier access to strong industry networks and opens a wide range of opportunities for growth. The diversity in coworking spaces empowers people from all walks of life to support each other in their journey to success.
Although it’s a decades-old concept, more people are discovering the advantages of coworking spaces compared to traditional office cubicles. It creates a unique environment that encourages community, collaboration, and a celebration of diversity.
Not sure if coworking is for you? Book a tour at Waterman to find out.