Coworking is a new way of working whereby and independent, entrepreneurial types and professionals from many disciplines, companies or other organisations form a community and work alongside one another in one space.
The space is normally owned and run by another organisation not connected to the coworkers, though founders often use the space themselves.
We use this term deliberately, in favour of the more straightforward “entrepreneurs” or “creatives”. For now, it’s enough to boldly suggest that we feel strongly that pockets of entrepreneurial activity can be found outside of the private sector!
Coworking communities and spaces tend to have a core group that commits to meeting regularly to work together, and once they secure a space, paying for a monthly rental of a desk or small office space. This space is their own and they usually have the option of storing private stuff in a cabinet.
Others, usually referred to as hotdeskers, opt to join the community only a few days a week or month, bring a laptop and grab a free desk, perhaps because they are on the road a lot, they work at clients’ locations mostly, or they want company only now and then. They tend to keep in touch with the community online in between times.
Hotdesking also attracts travellers, salespeople, tourists (yes, some people work on vacation!), international speakers and consultants and others who just need a friendly community and comfortable joint to crash and work for a few hours now and then.
Because there are different types of coworkers, coworking spaces tend to offer flexible, affordable packages, catering for those who want access 24/7, those who just want to drop in at random and everyone in between. And, the stranglehold 10-year lease is nowhere to be seen!
Are Traditional Offices on the Way Out?
Will coworking replace the traditional office setup? I don’t think so. I think it’s an alternative – to home-working, to working in a client’s office, or to holding meetings in a cafe. It may be a fad, some say. But, it’s a fad that suits an increasing number of people. And, it may stay that way, in the small business community, the freelance community and among hobo workers who just need place to call their own.