Coworking is a term you’ve likely heard more over the past 10 years than you had your entire life up to this point. Since 2006, it’s estimated that the number of people coworking has doubled in each subsequent year.
So who does coworking benefit, and why is it taking off so fast? Well, one of the reasons is how much Millennials love it. Despite often being called entitled and lazy, Millennials are dominating the workforce and changing its landscape forever. And since their generation is projected to be 75% of the workforce in the next 10 – 15 years, the number of coworkers can only go up.
There are a number of reasons the Millennial generation and even Generation Y have shunned traditional work environments for cowork spaces. To start, the rise of the internet and internet-based jobs opened the door for millions of people to begin working from home. Now, if you’ve ever spent any time working from home you know that it doesn’t take long for the allure of wearing your pajamas all day to wear off. Having no barrier between your work life and your personal life can be difficult, and constantly trying to separate the two can put a strain on your personal life.
Coworking gives you the same freedom that working from home does, while also providing a small amount of structure. There’s a dedicated space for work that is separate from your home. It gives you a place away from the distractions of household chores, television, and cats (I’m speaking from experience on that), and increases motivation and creativity from the energy of those around you.
Freelancing and contracted employees make up another group that benefit from coworking. See, Millennials tend not to have only one job. They have a full-time job, maybe a part-time job, a freelance career, and they’re probably also writing a book. In fact, 53 million Americans do freelance work in some capacity, and that number is up 10 million in the past 10 years. Freelancers in all fields, whether it’s writing, photography, web design, etc. benefit from having a dedicated work space. Much like with working from home, it’s not always very rewarding to have that work space be the same space where you watch TV.
This doesn’t begin to address the fact that coworking is the easiest networking opportunity there is. You’re sharing a space with like-minded people, and collaborating with them can mean sharing skills, contacts, and ideas. Coworking tends to lead to even more prospects, which means more work, and of course, more profit. And let us never underestimate the power of free coffee.
It isn’t just employees that are forgoing cubicles for an open workspace; start up companies are also taking advantage of coworking. The costs of starting a business are exorbitant. Having a dedicated space in a cowork environment cuts down on rent, eliminates utilities, and again, that whole “free coffee” thing is a huge draw. Not to mention the built-in network of contacts and potential contractors you’ll need. Recruiting the perfect contract employee may be as easy as walking across the room. And you won’t even have to go to an awkward networking event to do it!
So does the rise of coworking mean the end of traditional offices? Forbes seems to think so. Realistically though, coworking isn’t for everyone, and not all careers are complemented by the environment. But for more and more Millennials opting out of conventional offices in favor of a workplace that is collaborative, flexible, and energized, cowork spaces offer a perfect solution.