Coworking is a growing trend in New York, Los Angeles, India, and anywhere lots of workers are competing for space. But it isn’t as well known here in the Metro Detroit. In today’s “Back to Basics” we’ll take a look at what coworking means and whether it is right for your business.
I think I had attended half a dozen chamber events and networking meetings on behalf of PatchWork Collective before I realized people had no idea what I was talking about. I was energetically explaining that we were a coworking space with the heart of Ferndale, and we would love to have their business in our space. I would carefully describe our unique business proposition, setting us apart from other coworking spaces in the area. But, to my surprise, the most common question they were asking was:
What is Coworking?
Google defines coworking as:
“The use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge.”
The core idea behind coworking is nothing new. Small business owners have been finding ways to share space and equipment for years. A large law firm may rent offices to solo attorneys. Massage parlors or hair salons may bring in freelance professionals to fill their chairs. Executive suites and shared office complexes are well established parts of the small-business world.
But coworking takes it one step further. In a shared office arrangement you work next to your office-mates. While you may engage in banter at the water cooler or over lunch, you generally let each other’s work life alone. Members of a coworking space are encouraged to work together, collaborate, bounce ideas off each other, and pass business and referrals to one another. They may take turns presenting their knowledge to the group, or even directly work together on projects.
Coworkers don’t just share a working environment. They also share a desire to make everyone in that space thrive.
Coworking Isn’t a Passing Trend
Remote workers, startups owners, and entrepreneurs across the country and the world have been using coworking and shared offices spaces for years. It first became popular around 2010, but every year, new spaces are opening up and more companies are turning to coworking to solve their business needs. In 2018, there were nearly 19,000 coworking spaces operating across the globe. Over 1,000 new coworking spaces opened in the United States alone. Across the country, nearly 640,000 workers are members of a coworking space.
Within the Proximity Network, which includes the PatchWork Collective, coworking is most popular on coasts, and around Denver, Colorado. But you can find a coworking space in nearly every major city across the country. For those whose work takes them on the road, systems like Proximity Nomad allow a member of a coworking community to visit other spaces in the network, expanding their membership across the country, where ever business takes them.
“I Didn’t Realize You Did That Too!”
It isn’t just that people don’t know what coworking is. They often don’t realize what all a coworking space can do for them. When I talk to business owners and other professionals, I often hear about things they want to do, but can’t find a place to do them. When that happens, I often offer suggestions about how PatchWork Collective could meet those needs. When I do, I often hear “I didn’t realize you did that too!”
PatchWork Collective got its name because people in different industries have different needs for different kinds of space. Together, our members creates a kind of patchwork quilt of professional services. To that end, we are happy to offer:
- Drop-in coworking by the day
- 24/7 Monthly memberships with a professional address
- Offices by the hour with flexible furniture
- Permanent office suites at competitive rates
- Conference rooms equipped for video feeds
- Workshop space for seminars, board meetings, talks, and, well, workshops
- Event space for after-hours gatherings and special interests
No matter what kind of space you need to get your small business started, we probably have a space to suit that need. I would personally love to show you the space and talk to you about what coworking is and how it can help your business. Schedule your tour today.