The invention of smart phones came with an exponential amount of change to the way people work; email became portable and acquiring information became instantaneous. This advance in technology almost instantly created a mobile labor pool with the ability to work outside of the confines of the office. No longer tethered to their desks, employees began to spend more and more time during “work hours” working from their home, coffee shops, or directly with clients at their office locations. No one is taking advantage of this freedom more than the Generation Y and Millennial demographic. This demographic (birth years from 1980 to early to 2000’s) is currently 74 million strong in the US. In less than five years, this age group will make up roughly 50% of the entire workforce. While they may not want to conform to the antiquated punch in and punch out model of working in an office, it seems that the Millennials strongly value community and collaborative cooperation.
Thus, the idea of coworking was born. Coworking started as shared office space by freelance, independent workers. Stephen King of Emergent Research states that, “we will see over 40% of the population working independently by 2020.” Multiple workers, often in varying fields, pay to rent space at a particular location so they can still engage in a certain amount of creativity and community. These sites encourage openness, synergy, and person-to-person interaction, but most importantly, a sense of community. This community “feel” is the glue that drives independent freelance workers to stay together at a particular location, not to mention pay a premium in rent versus working from home for free.
Interestingly enough, Corporate America is taking notice of this paradigm shift and redesigning office layouts by adding more collaborative areas to promote employee interactions. In addition, Fortune 500 companies are even leasing spaces at coworking sites to benefit from these powerful interactions, knowledge share, and networks of the best and brightest of the independent workforce. “Co-working isn’t just a trend, it’s the future of how independent workers will choose to work moving forward” (Global Co-working Unconference Conference). Therefore, the need to create co-working spaces will only increase. The Small Business Labs Global Coworking Forecast predicts there will be 12,000 global coworking locations worldwide by 2018.
Coworking will dramatically change the way we work. Actually, it already has…