Coworking has finally been getting the attention it deserves lately. It seems every time I open up my computer, my Google alert is sending me an article about a new space opening up or a coworking brand expanding. I see the commercial real estate industry coming around and delivering studies on how coworking will be a substantial portion of the market in 10 years. I see the big names in the market jockeying to create deals and to become household names. I see local and federal government programs that recognize the industry and seek to participate in the momentum. This made me think. What caused the transition from coworking being referred to as a fad to it now being referred to as the solution for officing in the future?
I went directly to the obvious. It must be the money. If private equity, venture capital, big corporations and now banks are investing and participating, then that must have been the catalyst right? Possibly, but no. Those organizations are all chasing the need and desires and habits of their clients. They have to. Because that is where the money is at.
Ok, then, so what caused their clients to adopt and pursue coworking? I think I was overthinking it. It really is simply one thing:
I believe that it is humankind’s consistent desire to be connected. If you think that sounds a little too pie-in-the-sky, lovey-dovey, hippity-dippity, then consider this: The average person spends 11 hours a day on social media. Why? Some will say that it is a growing epidemic of narcissism. Funny to hear, but I don’t buy it. I believe it is because people are drawn to be connected to something. A thought, a purpose, a passion, or simply just another person. The next biggest consumption of our time is our work. People spend ⅓ of their time at work.
A growing number of us have the ability to work from home (projected to be more than 40% of the workforce by the end of 2020). The rest of us commute on average one hour a day, spend ⅓ of their day working, 11 hours on social media, and sleep has to fit in there somewhere. Not to mention that 55% of adults are married and should be spending some quality time with their significant others. Oh, and let’s not forget that 53% of adults have at least one child. No one wants to ignore their kids, so factor in some good Mommy or Daddy time. So you would think that time management would be the issue, not connectivity, right? Wrong. It all comes back to connections. The quality of those connections is as important as having them in the first place.
Where we work, how we work, and who we work with, either positively or negatively impacts our everyday. As you can see, it’s not just the ⅓ of our life we spend doing it. So let’s bring this back around to coworking.
Coworking is finally getting the attention it deserves because of what it truly provides for people. One thing. Quality connections. Let me explain how.
For the 40% that have the luxury of working from home, yes you have reduced your commute time, but you have brought your work into your home. From the beginning of time work was performed outside of the home for a reason. Your brain needs a disconnection from the two. Work should have a stopping point. When you place those two in different locations it allows your brain the time to separate them. This in return allows you to relax, switch gears, and be more in the moment with those that you share that domicile with and a better quality connection on a regular basis. Coworking allows you to choose a location close to you (hopefully), reducing the commute, giving you separation from work and home and giving you valuable interactions and connections with new people. Something by nature we strive to have. Not to mention getting dressed every day really does a positive mental impact. (You know who you are, pajama bottoming wearing people on video calls….I know you’re out there!)
For those working for companies considering the idea of coworking, here is where the magic happens. Coworking not only allows you to reduce your commute and work in a professional environment, but it also allows you to make connections that you wouldn’t otherwise make at a campus where everyone works for the same company. It is the perspective of those that don’t live in our ecosystems of work that we constantly find so valuable and seek out.
So you see, coworking is really one thing. Connection. The desire for that connection has driven the growth of coworking. Connection is what continues to make it valuable to the people who cowork, and connection is what will provide its success in the future.
That’s why Proximity continues to work to connect the world’s mobile workforce. (Don’t hate the plug, hate the perfection of the plug…..just sayin’.)
P.S. – This is a mission that we don’t take lightly and one that we believe is essential to the future of work. We are grateful to all of you that have helped pave the way and continue to support the connections in the network.