In celebration of International Coworking Day, I’d like to give my honest perspective on coworking, where it came from, and why I’m so passionate about its necessity in work culture today.
Coworking as we know it today was first conceived in 1995 by hackers in Berlin. Within that circle of individuals, its common for them to form collectives with a common goal in mind. As time went on this idea of a collective of individuals coexisting in the same workspace grew into what would be the current coworking work culture. The first use of the term “coworking” was used to describe a coworking space that opened in New York that same year.
Challenging the status quo
The start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 was a harsh blow to the corporate work structure that the world was use to. Coworking up until recently, hadn’t seen widespread acceptance outside of the IT and software world. Because of the near complete shut down of the economy, businesses had to adapt for safer work conditions as well as get employees back to work. One solution, was to include options for working from home (WFH). As the world began to open up again, businesses began to see the value in remote work which saw the value of coworking spaces proliferate almost overnight. More data also began to appear showing most American’s preference for remote work options and better designed spaces.
Why not the office?
I think most workers will have their own specific reasons for this but I think it all ultimately comes down to a better work life balance combined with low wages. The culture of the office has been fairly toxic for a while, but there wasn’t really an option to challenge the status quo. The “Great Resignation”, which was really the Great Migration was spurs on by a one in a (hopefully) lifetime event that allowed the workforce to really contemplate their lives. The pandemic gave workers time to think about what they are actually doing with their careers and if its worth it for them to continue down the path they were on. It should be no surprise that a lot of workers quit due to low pay, unfulfilling work, and terrible work culture.
The few positives I can see coming out the pandemic, is the greater acceptance of WFH as well as increased interest in coworking spaces and even the pursuance of people’s passions as a career option. I’ve worked in a few different coworking spaces over my career, and every office always brought something unique to the industry. The one constant I always saw though, was the focus on member comfort and creating a space that people want to work in, not have to. I believe that is what gives the edge to coworking spaces over returning to a central office.
The future is looking up
Coworking bridges the gap of WFH and returning to an office. It gives workers a place to call their own while also providing an environment thats conducive to productive work. I 100% disagree with the sentiment that employees need to be at their company’s office in order to be productive. Village Workspaces provides roughly 2,000 sq. ft. of coworking space as well as conference rooms that can be utilized for team meetings and huddles. Our member’s comfort always comes first and we are constantly striving to improve their experience without our space. Coworking is truly the future of work and I’m grateful to be apart of a company that is taking on the onus of being an industry leader.