That’s true for those who want to decouple their office from the coffee shop, but they’ve evolved into an essential way of doing business that’s yielding positive benefits for the people who participate.
On a scale of 1-7, people who cowork say their levels of “thriving” are at a six, which is a full point ahead of their traditional office counterparts. Now, this study was done back in 2012, and since then interest and participation in coworking has skyrocketed. At the time of the study, “coworking” indexed on Google trends at a 14; it maxed at 100 in October 2017.
Talk to people who cowork consistently or exclusively and they’re quick to tell you how much more productive they are now than they ever were in a traditional office or cubicle space. Part of that may be attributed to thriving or feeling more productive, as well as finding their work more meaningful. When they don’t have to combat office politics, put on work personas, nor compete for recognition, there’s a lot of time freed up to just do the work and do it really well. Not to mention doing work that feels like it matters, that’s interesting or valuable.
Coworkers tend to work for themselves or forward-thinking companies and the spaces and memberships help them maintain professional structure that they find necessary. It’s a big contributor to thriving, being able to “go into the office” and all that it represents internally and externally can have some powerful optics. Not only does it help to mentally establish lines between personal and professional within your own life, but it can legitimize the smallest of startups. For as ubiquitous as working from home has become, it still carries an air of slacking off or not having a “real” job. For companies just getting off the ground, a real address with a real conference room and a real front desk can really elevate perception.
For people who’ve been working from home or the coffee shop circuit, coworking spaces can really break up a comfort zone or routine. A new environment or view from the laptop screen can work wonders on focus, productivity, and even creative thinking and problem solving. While dedicated offices and private spaces within the spaces have become the standard, open access desks and coworking day passes make it possible for people to drop in when they need to change things up.
Part of that change may be combatting the loneliness of working for yourself or at home, and it may be one of coworking’s biggest benefits. People feel like they belong somewhere or that they’re part of a bigger social movement. If you’ve transitioned from a traditional office to a home office, coworking replenishes the socializing that’s been lost. The collaboration, helpfulness, and support that comes from the network and community within a coworking office surpasses anything you may have experienced at a “real” office.
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