5 things to know about coworking

May 5, 2016

OSWEGO, N.Y. – With working from home and freelancing on the rise, coworking is taking the world by storm. But what is it exactly? A cowork is an office community of people who are either self-employed or work for a variety of employers. This creates an environment where knowledge, ideas, and space are shared for equal benefit. With the idea becoming increasingly widespread, here’s five things to know about coworking.

1. Coworking is not going anywhere. In fact, the coworking market is experiencing steady growth in numbers.

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Infograms courtesy of Deskmag’s “2016 Coworking Forecast”

According to Deskmag’s “2016 Coworking Forecast,” in 2015 there were around 7,800 coworking spaces. There are projected to be 10,100 by the end of 2016. For the same span of time, the number of members went from 510,000 to a projected 735,000. There has been a 50 percent increase in the last two years in the average number of members at coworking spaces. There has also been a 12 percent increase in the number of profitable spaces planning to expand since 2014. Coworking isn’t going anywhere. It’s growing, and more people are becoming members every day.

2. If you work from home and are easily distracted, coworking might just be the solution.

Coworking provides an office where you can be productive and avoid the distractions of home, and have resources available to you that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to access. Just some of the things that are available at coworking spaces are: other types of freelancers to work with, a shared body of knowledge among a group of diversely trained individuals, and a sounding board for ideas.

A 2010 study conducted by Harvard University suggests that working in close proximity to others is valuable to collaboration, even in the digitally dominant world we live in. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but close-quarters may boost your career,” said Harvard University’s Katie DuBoff in an article about the study. According an article in Forbes, “Although the study focused on innovation in science, the data proved that face-to-face communication was more impactful, leading to less agenda-driven and more fluid conversations, brainstorming, problem solving, and serendipitous accidents.” Coworking provides a space where you can work in close proximity with others but also have the ability to work privately.

3. For freelancers who works out of coffee shops/ internet cafés, coworking could be a money-saver.

Most coworking spaces offer different levels of commitment ranging from yearly leases, to month-to-month or even daily rates. An article published by Deskmag’s Karen Martinez at the end of 2014 suggests if you work in a coffee shop every week day for a month, you’ll likely spend $200. As Martinez says, “In addition to spending all that hard earned cash, coffee shops tend to have weak internet connections, and people chatting all around you can be distracting. It’s not the most comfortable space, and for a similar price (or less) you could rent a desk at your local coworking space.” At most coworking spaces you can get unlimited free coffee, free internet access, and an actual office to conduct your business out of. Not to mention the possibility for an increase in profit, which is another advantage of coworking!

4. If people are working from home in your area, there’s a market for coworking.

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Skype Company statistics courtesy of Statistic Brain | Freelance statistic courtesy of Edelman Berland and Freelancers Union & Elance 0-Desk

According to a study conducted in 2014 by independent research firm Edelman Berland and commissioned by Freelancers Union & Elance o-Desk, 53 million Americans are working as freelancers. That equates to 34 percent of the population of the U.S. Where there are people freelancing, there is a market for coworking. In addition, statistics from Skype from 2015 show at least 35 percent of small businesses use the video chatting service as their primary means of communication. This makes working from a coworking space even easier.

5. Thinking about coworking? Location is something you should consider.

When choosing a coworking space, most people vie between two options. The first is choosing a space that is close to home. Many people want to be productive outside their own home but don’t want to travel much or fight traffic to do so. The other possibility is choosing a location in or near the downtown area, so as to be near clientele and/or local business partners. Depending on the type of work you do, one option might be more suitable than the other.

According to “10 Questions To Ask Before Choosing A Coworking Space,” by Fast Company’s Lisa Evans in 2014, “Joshua Dorkin, CEO of the real estate investing social network Bigger Pockets chose his coworking space, Thrive (located in Denver, Colorado) because it was within walkable distance to home. The time saved from the commute makes for a more efficient work day.”


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Infogram courtesy of Towergate Insurance

These are just five things to know about coworking. Coworking is expanding every day, and it’s worth looking into. If you’re unsure about the success of coworking, here’s a few more statistics from the “2015 GCUC (Global Coworking Unconference Conference)/ Emergent Research Coworking Survey” by Jacob Sayles:

  • 89 percent of coworkers reported being happier
  • 84 percent of coworkers reported being more motivated and engaged
  • 82 percent of coworkers reported that it has expanded their professional networks
  • 90 percent of coworkers reported being either highly satisfied or satisfied with their coworking space
  • 94 percent of coworkers reported the price they paid was fair or a bargain

If you’re interested in coworking, stop into a local coworking space today! If you don’t know where to look, there are even coworking space search engines! Not every coworking space will be listed in search engines and databases, because coworking spaces have to register to be listed. If you don’t see a coworking space in your area, try Google, and if not, there might be one in a nearby city. And, there might be a coworking space near you sooner than you think. In 2013, Deskmag discovered that 4.5 new coworking spaces emerge every day!

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