Coworking: Elbow-to-elbow with experts
October 12, 2016

Let’s be honest. In the entrepreneurial world, there are dabblers and then there are those serious, committed, and passionate about bringing their ideas to market.

Driven by a dream and hyper-focused on bringing their ideas to life, entrepreneurs pulsate with an unmistakable energy. And while they come to the arena of business from varying industries and with widely differentiated goals – each calculates the risks while attempting to defy the odds.

With quick minds that conceptualize beyond the traditional 8-to-5 regime, entrepreneurs are a breed unto their own. Yet, amongst each other, they’re kindred, inherently understanding each’s ultimate plight.

To bring these dynamic folks together in unified spaces for like-minded synergy, coupled with specified resources critical to entrepreneurial growth, would be a high-level concept, indeed. And it was, in 2005, when entrepreneur Brad Neuberg opened the first of its kind: The San Francisco Coworking Space at Spiral Muse.

Today, the concept-turned-reality is called coworking, as stated at www.bisnow.com: “This is not a trend. It’s a fundamental shift and growing at warp speed.”

Coworking Defined:

In short, coworking is sharing space with other entrepreneurs and working professionals. Entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, freelancers, remote workers, and work teams pay nominal membership fees to join coworking spaces. In exchange, they gain access to the perks of a traditional office: Wi-Fi, whiteboards and SMART boards, fax machines, copiers, high-speed printers, open and private work stations, and access to conference rooms and executive board rooms.

But coworking spaces are designed to address more than physical entrepreneurial needs.

As Damian Fisher, an attorney at Gray SKY & Associates PLLC who frequents coworking space, says, “It’s a marketplace of ideas and innovation exchange, a genuine way to network and share.”

Within coworking spaces, established companies work alongside newcomer startups, and experts are available to consult at every turn. Entrepreneurs collaborate and build relationships, furthered by in-house coworking perks.

On any given day, software developers may hash out a new concept in the conference room while a nonprofit conducts a meeting with prospective donors in another area. Advertising teams may strategize in a private work station as individuals at open desks hammer out software code. At an all-are-welcome lunchtime event, entrepreneurs of a startup work on perfecting an investor pitch as they receive real-time feedback from seasoned advisors. Mingling at an evening event, coworkers may engage in informal conversation with experts in their direct field while gaining invaluable advice.

By the Numbers:

It all began with one coworking location in the United States in 2005.

As of 2013, www.deskmag.com reported nearly 2,500 global locations – with coworking members increasing by 245 people, on average, each work day – and according to its annual Global Coworking Survey, as reported in January 2016, over 10,000 coworking spaces are forecasted to open by the end of 2016.

The growth of coworking spaces is undeniable, as are the benefits. According to Deskmag’s annual Global Coworking Survey, 71 percent of participants reported a boost in creativity since joining a coworking space, 62 percent said their standard of work had improved, 64 percent said they are better able to complete tasks on time, and almost 90 percent reported an increase in self-confidence.

Numbers speak volumes, but perhaps the best way to examine coworking, and why it is so popular, is to look at the benefits – and what they stand to gain. Check back this time next week as we define the different types of coworkers.