When you close your eyes and picture what coworking means to you, you might imagine an early-stage incubator for new, emerging entrepreneurial ventures, or a millennial hotbed of freelance creativity with a state-of-the-art espresso maker and hip design. In reality, while coworking can (and does) take these and several other forms, what is clear is that it is an increasing trend in the modern workplace as a key driver of small and fast-growing companies. Coworking facilities play a huge role in nurturing talent and providing necessary services and resources to support business growth, along with a commitment to the larger community that cuts down on relocation
So, what is coworking anyway? I’d define it is as a trend in the configuration and organization of independent professionals and small startups. According to www.coworking.com, this approach is “a global community of people dedicated to the values of collaboration, openness, community, accessibility, and sustainability in their workplaces.”
Coworking delivers a myriad of benefits ranging from meet-ups, networking, 24/7 access, and administrative functions, as well as virtual office space. It also offers an increased community focus and character, and a knowledge-sharing spirit of collaboration compared to traditional workplaces. Some additional benefits include:
Keeping talent local. Coworking facilities play a huge role in nurturing talent and providing necessary services and resources to support business growth, along with a commitment to the larger community that cuts down on relocation.
Work-life balance and collaboration. Independent working spaces offer an option for entrepreneurs to work where they live, which helps to spur creativity, collaboration, and engagement in their passions to create even greater and more sustainable growth.
A ‘marketplace’ of resources and services for mutual benefit. Similar to an old-fashioned market tableau, coworking spaces drive some of their greatest value in their ability to pool local resources and their “wares” in a common space, which promotes several advantages for “collaborative consumption” opportunities for everyone involved, such as bartering of services; sharing of ideas/brainstorming; and developing transverse “learning networks,” where individuals of different organizations participate and facilitate learning processes, and thus increase the overall innovation capability and pace of a region/jurisdiction.
Engine of innovation, idea creation, and thought leadership. The centralized, yet independent working style coworking initiates is the backbone of our evolving and ever-changing economic landscape.
A True “Coworking in Action” Story
One example of a recent coworking success story can be seen in the journey of Enam Noor, CEO and Founder of Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Insightin. Insightin is a tech firm that specializes in healthcare membership engagement, predictive analytics, and big data.
Enam joined Launch Workplaces’ (Launch) Gaithersburg coworking space in May 2016, less than a year after founding his company. After landing several large clients early on, by November 2016, Insightin had moved from an interior executive office space at Launch to a window and glass-lined suite over 500 percent larger, custom-made and designed from underutilized space at the Launch facility. Among the top elements of his successful experience thus far, Enam credits the synergies and partnerships that are formed via coworking, along with the creative ways the facility readily addressed his space needs as the organization expanded.
Fostering connections with other Launch members that specifically helped attract venture capitalists; sharing video production time; and partnering with a furniture company who agreed to use Insightin’s new space as a remote showroom are all other ways Enam has seen the measurable value of coworking for his business. Enam stated, “Being here at Launch has allowed us to move a lot faster. And we can continue to do so in the future as we are also poised to expand additional staff into the coworking area as needed.”