Business & Industry

Sep 19, 2018

COWORK

"During the last 20 years, the work paradigm has suffered enormous and radical changes, as result of multiple structural, economic, technological and social phenomena. And so, today, our relation with our work is nothing like it was in the time of our fathers."

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Currently, it is no surprise that people whose work belong to themselves report very high levels of thriving. Much higher than people who do their jobs in a regular office.

So, what makes coworking spaces – defined as membership-based workspaces where diverse groups of freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals work together in a shared, communal setting – so effective? And are there lessons for more traditional offices?

To start with, such efficiency comes from the fact that people who use coworking spaces see their work as more meaningful. By bringing their whole selves to work, they care much more about the projects they embrace.

Then, unlike a traditional office, coworking spaces consist of members who work for a range of different companies, ventures and projects. Because there is little direct competition or internal politics, they don't feel they have to put on a work person to fit in. Working amidst people doing different kinds of work can also make one's own work identity stronger.

Third, meaning may also come from working in a culture where it is the norm to help each other out, and there are many opportunities to do so; the variety of workers in the space means that coworkers have unique skill sets that they can provide to other community members.

Finally, it means the work may also be derived from a concrete source: a social mission inherent in the Coworking Manifesto, an online document signed by members of more than 1,700 working spaces. It clearly articulates the values ruling the coworking movement, including community, collaboration, learning and sustainability.

Back and forth again

When the trend arose, 20 years ago, besides the availability of the space, chairs, desks and basic communications, the main concern from who prepared and supplied the space was the inclusion of complementary services – reception, account services, cleaning, etc.

But recently, also this paradigm has suffered changes.

The new generation of entrepreneurs doesn't want to fell limited to a rigid and located physical space, neither to the services available by the community, preferring, instead, to go out in search of the work partner, wherever he may be.

Thus, the new trend includes other kind of services and it even shares part of its business with other economic activities. We're talking about restaurants, coffee shops and bars.

Being these, aconomic activities with reduced functioning schedules, they can increase their income with this new trend through renting the spaces that are unoccupied during the most part of the day and, thus, enjoy also with the interest of the entrepreneurs who prefer less formal and more laid-back spaces.

And the proposals and availability are growing everywhere around the world, but mainly in Europe where it is possible to make a reservation in spaces in London (www.andco.life), or Stockholm (ahousestockholm.com), through sites and apps (some developed by the very regular resident community), with minimum costs for maximum profitability.

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