If you are young and work in a creative industry, you have probably heard of coworking or “hotdesking”. If you don’t, let me fill you in. Coworking usually refers to a shared space that multiple organizations all work in. They are often open plan offices and tenants pay a fee to rent a desk in the space. To a large corporation this might seem like a strange idea, but for the myriad of freelancers, start ups and those employed in the gig economy, it’s becoming an ever more attractive proposition. With the rise of the gig economy, more people are turning to coworking. In fact, according to DeskMag over 1 million people across the world were working in coworking spaces in 2017. Here we discuss why coworking is perfect for urban areas, and why it might be a hotbed of innovation in the 21st century.
The Power Of Coworking
A particularly poignant personal experience turned me onto the subject of coworking and it illustrates a number of the reasons coworking works so well. A number of years ago, I took a summer job out of college working with a property website in the United Kingdom. The outfit was tiny – ⅔ employees and they rented coworking space in London. We begun working on an offshoot website but were quoted almost $20,000 dollars by a team of web developers. We were complaining to the other companies in the cowork space about the price tag when a freelance web developer piped up and said “I’ll do it for a third of that”. The guy worked on the site around the clock and the results were incredible. This illustrates a number of incredible advantages of coworking. Namely:
- It fosters innovation and collaboration
- Networking with outsiders provides opportunities that usually wouldn’t arise
Spreading Ideas and Building Communities
While personal anecdotes are all well and good – hard evidence is needed to back these claims. In fact, a recent article in Harvard Business Review found that 89% of coworkers are happier since joining the space, 82% said their professional networks were better, 80% said they turn to coworkers for help and guidance, and over 64% said they turned to coworkers for business referrals.
Urban Areas Produce the best communities
The fact coworking works so well for small enterprises isn’t surprising. Coworking spaces in NYC or London are the largest for a reason. Numerous books and academic research suggest that when people live and work close together it sparks creative juices and powers innovation. Large urban areas have been hotbeds of innovation for as long as they have existed. Coworking spaces are just a supercharged version of the cafes revolutionaries in Paris would meet in during the French Revolution. They facilitate discussion and idea sharing and that can only have a positive outcome.
Thank you Michael Kordvani for sharing the benefits of having coworking spaces in urban areas!