Cowoking spaces connect you to people who better understand your work-life blend.
Face Your Loneliness
For as long as I can remember, the people I hung out with came from the place I worked. Starting as early as when I was sixteen, my friend circle was primarily comprised of people that I worked with. These people understood my life differently than anyone else I knew, and we had a lot of time together to get to know each other.
Sometimes our schedules were different than most--when I waited tables in my 20’s--and it made sense to spend our free time together because it was simple. Sometimes the nature of our work was hard for other people to relate to--when I worked for Planned Parenthood in my 30’s--and it made sense to decompress with people who understood.
During those years, we shared celebrations for birthdays, weddings, and new babies. We mourned together when a relationship ended, or when someone lost someone close to them. Many of those people I still keep in touch with to this day. And more times than not, I’ve been grateful for a job I had solely because of the friendships I’d walked away with.
Naturally, then, the hardest part of starting my own business in 2012 was losing that sense of built-in connection. I found myself lonely and longing for the days of grabbing someone from the office to get lunch or meet for happy hour. I’ve discovered, though, that this feeling of loneliness – of being separate – can be alleviated by coworking.
Say Goodbye to the Office
Coworking is defined as sharing workspace and amenities, such as Wi-Fi, a printer, a fax machine and the like, when people don’t actually work for the same company, but instead are self-employed or remote workers.
In contrast to shared office spaces, coworking is a space that is set up to house people working for different companies, or their own company, to share amenities and resources.
Unlike the cohesive “office” image, coworking spaces look and feel differently from location to location. There are coworking spaces built specifically for tech people, creatives, artists, or digital nomads. There are coworking spaces designed just for women; or around a theme, such as social justice or startups.
New coworking spaces are opening every day, and, in larger cities, coworking spaces are expanding at an annual rate of 20%! From multi-location coworking spaces, to massive 25,000 sq. ft. + coworking spaces, to intimate spaces the size of your average one-bedroom apartment.
Once thought to be a passing trend, the growth and continued popularity of coworking is actually a direct answer to a need presented by modern life. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, by the year 2020, 40% of the workforce is expected to be remote, work-from-home, freelance or an entrepreneur. In the U.S. alone, approximately 1,000 new women-owned business are opening every day. These are the people who are attracted to coworking.
Leave Your Expectations Elsewhere
Because they are full of entrepreneurs who are juggling a growing business while managing their life, coworking spaces connect you to people who understand life is different than what it once was. There’s no expectation of a set schedule, or preferences to “be at work by 7 a.m. and hit the gym by 3.”
No one in a coworking space thinks twice if we leave early to pick up kids, skip out at lunch for a yoga class, have a glass of wine at 3 p.m. in a client meeting, or are rocking the yoga pants/messy bun look multiple days in a row. If you decide you want to work from home during the summer when your kids are out of school, you can just pause your membership.
Also, a co-working environment holds no space for the general negativity of an office environment: complaining, gossiping, or being interrupted. People who spread negativity are generally asked to leave. If you put your headphones on, you won’t be interrupted!
And unlike a traditional office, you are encouraged to socialize and connect. By design, there’s easy access to potential collaborators, and as much opportunity to be social--if/when you want it.