Stepping Out of the Cubicle
A co-working space for their employees involves sharing common areas by different departments, multi-functional spaces, less individual space, and more collective workspace. While it may not sound glamourous, 70 percent of companies with co-working employees reported an increase in productivity, connectivity, confidence, and ability to focus. Add to that, half reported more income with co-working.
The Co-working Industry
Among the thriving scene of the global co-working initiative, 40 percent exists in North America, an increase from one in 2005 to nearly 800 today. Co-working space is thriving, with a 117 percent membership increase. Over 36 percent announced plans to expand to another location in the upcoming year, up a remarkable 83 percent from the previous year.
Productivity, Communication, Creativity and Community
In 1999, New York was the site of the first flexible desk space in the world, laying the foundations for today’s co-working movement. Now there are over 80 co-working spaces in Manhattan and Brooklyn alone. Along with the success of co-working models and the expanding entrepreneurial landscapes, the collaborative workspace industry is experiencing enormous growth with such companies as WeWork, which recently reached a $5 billion valuation. Not only reserved for young, small start-ups, big name companies are also stepping out into co-working spaces. Instagram, the photo-sharing app that was bought by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012, began in a $500-a-month co-working space in San Francisco.
Co-working is no longer only available to a small amount of professionally exclusive firms. The movement has established extensive, broad roots in the U.S. marketplace, making its presence widespread among the larger population of today’s workforce. The following is true of employees who are currently in a co-working environment:
- 21 percent of co-working space is solely marketed to remote workers
- One-third are employed full-time by another company
- Over 65 percent of their time working from a co-working space
- Only 44 percent are freelancers or solo-preneurs
- Approximately 55 percent own or work for a business
- Nearly eight percent are employees of companies with more than 100 employees
All sizes of companies are experimenting with co-working. This indicates increasing corporate awareness of co-working as a work and lifestyle alternative.
Collaboration, Networking and Community
Co-working fosters community building and personal growth, but it went through an enormous growth spurt from being a part-time, tech-only, stylish alternative to a worldwide movement to get there. Now it is a lifestyle with an extensive audience that shows increasing longevity because it encourages members to be themselves at work and to explore shared interests with others. Combined with the technological and social advancements in a sharing marketplace, this evolution shows no signs of slowing down.