It’s not a secret that coworking is a big thing. In large cities, this is pretty obvious to see, but it’s a shift that’s happening around the world, too.
Part of the reason that coworking continues to grow is that the demographic of workers continues to change. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that currently about one out of three workers is a ‘freelancer–’ this means 53 million Americans are now earning income from work that’s not a traditional 9-to-5.
Sara Horowitz, the Executive Director of Freelancers Union, explains that this surge in freelancers is the ‘Industrial Revolution of our time” and policies need to adapt quickly to meet the needs of the growing numbers of citizens who define themselves as freelancers.
A Key to Freelancer Success
One of the ways that freelancers can improve their success is with coworking spaces. Shared workspaces of various sizes and capacities offer what a traditional office cannot for freelance workers: a physical place to work, but also the connection to a community that is often missing from the freelance life or ‘gig economy.’
I am part of this freelancer movement, and have been for years with a few stints at start-ups, as a writer, and now as the Accounts Manager for Important Media. We have no office for our media company– our writers, Editors and Directors are scattered around the globe, and we work together, but independently. Not having coworkers in the same zip code can get a bit lonely, so coworking has been a great way to be connected to a community– and a great way to embed myself into a new community.
I spent a year working at the gorgeously appointed EcoSystem Coworking in San Francisco. Like other coworking spaces, EcoSystem offers fast wi-fi, free range standing and sitting desk options, free coffee and organic tea, along with snacks from KIND bars. But as the only sustainability-focused coworking space in the Bay Area, they have a unique edge up on coworking in San Francisco by connecting a network of sustainabilty-minded entrepreneurs for networking, events, and community building.
Why Coworking is So Good for Workers
The Harvard Business Review writes in a 2015 article that coworking offers workers so many ways to thrive. One of the reasons is that people feel they are part of a social movement: they are often more engaged in their work, and without office politics to deal with, are able to use that passion for their actual work output. Secondly, coworking offers flexibility that regular offices don’t often have, whether that means more freedom for a mid-day yoga class or making up hours on your own schedule, a coworking space can help create loose boundaries that keep workers more productive.
Forbes reports on a study by Deskmag showing these results in numbers: the report showed that when coworking, 71% of people surveyed were more creative, 62% reported improved work, and 90% said they felt more confident when coworking. It’s hard to argue with data like that.
I feel that having a space to work that is not my kitchen engenders a much more productive, focused self. Not only do I feel compelled to dress appropriately and communicate with other humans throughout the day (which doesn’t often happen if I work from home), I feel infinitely more productive when I’m there, and feel much better at the end of the day. Whether I need quiet focus time, or casual interactions with my shared desk mates, or a morning of phone calls, I’m able to do it all from EcoSystem, and feel like I’m part shaping this innovative freelancing, coworking community in San Francisco, and the world.
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