Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Six Reason You May Want to Consider “Coworking”


“Working Alone Sucks.”  (Sign outside NextSpace office in San Jose, California.)

In a recent Fast Company article entitled, Working Beyond the Cube they talk about a growing trend for companies to locate their employees in “coworking” environments. Essentially this means you have employees from several different companies all working together in the same place. Traditionally these were havens for freelancers and the unemployed. But the model has matured and is now actively considered as part of the office space strategy for more and more companies.

Apparently there are around 90,000 people who work in coworking spaces today.

So why might you or your company consider coworking in the future? Here are six reasons to consider:
  1. Collaboration: studies find (and coworker experience supports) that people who work together from varying different companies, backgrounds and cultures can be more productive and more innovative.
  2. Remote Worker Accommodation: do you struggle with remote workers being disengaged, out of the loop, feeling less motivated? Stick them in a coworking facility.
  3. Space Flexibility: Need to staff up for a project, have to grow fast (or shrink fast)? Coworking is the answer. Use these facilities as “flex space.”
  4. Renew and re-energize: People who are exposed to new people, new ideas, new surroundings are often re-energized. Coworking facilities mix and mingle all sorts of people.
  5. Project Orientation: when you have new projects you can move people in and out of these coworking facilities.
  6. Cost: And of course, lastly, there is the question of cost. Compared to building and maintaining your own space, these facilities can be much less expensive.


One telling quote from the Fast Company article says that “Chris Mach, a global workplace strategist from AT&T …is placing dozens of researchers, product developers, and technologists in coworking hubs across the country and has invited startups and partners to work alongside them. The goal: spot talent, inspire creativity, and get products to market faster.”

In my own home town, Fort Collins, Colorado, we have a local business incubator called the Rocky Mountain Innosphere. They built a building with this very concept in mind. Create a space were multiple innovative companies can be collocated to foster the innovation dialog. It’s working.

I am thinking I might be in need of setting myself up in a coworking location because; while I am getting a lot of value working at home with my dog, I think we've played out the advantages I can get from chasing a stuffed squirrel around the house. (Although she always thinks all my ideas are brilliant!)