How Coworking Is Changing the Modern Workspace

Hey guys! Megan Kaye back again, here to continue our conversation about one of my favorite things in the whole entire world: Coworking! Last month, I explained what this coworking thing is, why it matters to all of us, and how it’s giving community to millions of professionals around the world (myself included!). In case you missed the first article, you can check it out here.

Most people currently have or at some point had this preconceived notion that office space has to be an infinite maze of cubicles, low ceilings, dull fluorescents, and always-reliably-burnt coffee. Fortunately for all of us, these office notions of the past are gradually dwindling away as we all rejoice in unison and celebrate the fact that better solutions DO actually exist.

So the coworking phenomenon officially started back in 2006, and now, with 10 years under its belt, coworking has officially established itself as a reputable game-changer for the modern workspace. It may seem like a hipster office trend that’s thriving for now, but when you take a peek under the hood, it won’t take long for you to realize that coworking is doing much more for people, company cultures, and even the economy than just providing a hip place for people to get work done.

The pattern that our parents all seemed to follow of finding a stable job and keeping it for decades (whether they enjoyed it or not) is almost extinct at this point. People are starting to prioritize meaningful work and flexibility over finding and staying in a traditional career path. Forbes projects that by 2020, more than 40% of Americans will be working independently in some form or fashion. Wait, pump the breaks for a second. So you mean that almost half of the American population could be self-employed in just 4 years? That’s no small shift in the economy and lifestyle of the people of this country! So what exactly does this shift mean for the modern workforce?

It means that when the economy isn’t doing so hot, people have more incentive and support to create work for themselves. And as real estate prices continue to rise, especially in big cities, more and more people are starting to seek shorter contracts, all-inclusive office solutions, and more affordable square footage.

It also means that more and more companies are beginning to realize the benefits of mobilizing their workforce. Fortune 500 businesses like Google are beginning to let their employees work off-site if they want to, and these business leaders are watching as employee happiness skyrockets.

Knowing this, it’s evident that the future of coworking has never been brighter! How, you ask? Let’s take a walk on the wild side of office solutions together:

The foundation of Coworking is shared-everything. From shared desks, to shared bikes, to shared kitchens and even shared coffee stations– coworking capitalizes on the fact that we can work better when we work together.

Coworking frees the chains of cubicle bondage, connects professionals from all walks of life, removes loneliness and isolation, and gives plenty of wiggle room for growing companies without binding them to long contracts. Coworking also utilizes design concepts that the traditional office space would never dream of executing, and it can get away with adding quirky features like giant murals, bathroom white boards, and cutting-edge nap rooms to its list of “office amenities.”

When you stop and think about the grand scheme of office things, coworking cuts costs for businesses exponentially. Joining a coworking space means companies no longer have to pay for office chairs and supplies, hire receptionists, pay steep prices for fast wifi, design their own office space, or search all over a city for proper conference rooms.

Also worth mentioning is the power that lies in the member population of coworking spaces. Coworking is bringing people together from all walks of life, trades, industries, and demographics to form one harmonious and creative community of professionals. Instead of having to search all over a city to find an attorney, a photographer, a designer, or really anything for that matter, coworking members can simply ask their space’s Community Manager for recommendations, and the CM can have them connected to someone in the blink of an eye.

In the past year that I’ve been working for a coworking space, I’ve had the opportunity to witness numerous individuals join Common Desk with a lot of faith and a lack of income, and by the end of their first few months as members, they’ve grown their clientele tenfold simply through connections made with other members. I’ve seen members make lifelong best friends (and I’ve made a few of my own). I’ve seen members start businesses together. I’ve seen struggling businesses be revived completely. And I’ve watched the earliest stage ideas become successful realities in an unbelievably short amount of time.

Coworking is making big waves in the modern workspace by inserting community into all of its blueprints. Most individuals who join coworking spaces (71% to be exact) experience creativity boosts, and 62% admit that their standard of work drastically improved after they joined a coworking space– all because of the energy that’s created when people from all different trades work alongside one another, encourage one another, and support one another. It’s undoubtedly one of the coolest phenomenons I’ve ever gotten to witness!

If you’re a fan of month-to-month flat-rate payments, all-inclusive facilities, community functions, free Red Bull & coffee (yes, it’s true), impressive art pieces and murals, free high-speed wifi (praises), frequent free meals (more praises), and officing in creative neighborhoods, then coworking is going to be your dream come true!

Coworking spaces are thriving in cities small and large all over the States and the world. Thinking of moving to a new city after graduation? I’ve got a few recommendations for you! If you’re looking towards New York City, try out Brooklyn Creative League or GrindSpaces. If you’re interested in Austin, then give Link Coworking a visit. Or if you’re feeling really crazy, go visit Hub Coworking in Australia, Headpace Group in London (I’m talking to you, future London study abroad students), or AreaTres in Argentina!

For those sticking close to Mississippi College or Jackson, Mantle Coworking in Fondren is offering a free month of coworking to anyone who registers to vote, and they also have an amazing student rate that many coworking spaces don’t have; be sure to drop by for a visit the next time you go to Brent’s or Babalu (or just Fondren in general). And if you’re ever in Dallas, be sure to come check out my office home, Common Desk! I’d be happy to treat any fellow Choctaw to coffee and a free day of working!

Stay tuned for the third and final article of this coworking series. Next month I’ll explain all the ways you can tap into the coworking community, whether as a member, an employee, or a potential collaborator!

-Megan Kaye