The evolution and development of technology has led to changes in the way people work. In more recent years, companies and workers have discovered -- and have benefited from -- the convenience of more accommodating work arrangements, such as telecommuting. Working from one’s own living room, kitchen, or bedroom (or from a fjord, a mountaintop or on the beach, for that matter) is now not just doable, but sometimes encouraged. Big corporations and small family shops alike that have embraced the concept have found pay-offs in terms of both greater productivity and profitability. This has given more people the courage to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and establish startups. Some, if not most of these small- and medium- enterprises have set up office in their own homes to benefit from the savings of lower overhead costs while enjoying more freedom of time to pursue equally important aspirations on the personal front. The isolation, however, can be a bit of a drawback to telecommuters. Thus, a newer form of telecommuting is being embraced by workers and small business owners: coworking. In this three-part series, we shed more light on this trend for you to understand more about what it is, and see if it might be a suitable set-up for your own business.
What is Coworking?
The idea behind coworking and its meaning is pretty basic: it is a working style that involves the sharing of a working environment which is often set in a space that offers the facilities and amenities often found in a traditional office. However, unlike in the latter, the collaborators in a coworking space are usually not employed by the same company or organization.
Coworking has become an attractive option for work-at-home professionals and independent contractors, or those who travel frequently for their jobs. It offers a solution to the issue of isolation that some of these individuals experience when working solely from their own homes. Working in an office-like environment also helps one escape the distractions of home.
Furthermore, coworking can also be considered as a social gathering of people who, while working independently, still share similar interests and values and lend new ideas and knowledge to each other.
A Brief Look at Coworking’s History
Coworking is not a new concept, by any means. The first official and recorded coworking setup was organized by Brad Neuberg in 2005. He used the term coworking to describe the site which he originally called the 9 to 5 group. The coworking space was called the Hat Factory, a live-work loft where three technology workers lived, but was open to others during the day. Neuberg is also among the founders of Citizen Space, the first work-only coworking space. Over the years, more coworking spaces, projects, and groups have sprung up, all with the objective of not only providing a collaborative working area but also to encourage professional networking and interaction.
At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what coworking is. In the next post, we will discuss the top advantages of this working setup, so stay tuned!