“The whole idea of co-working is to bring bright, creative people together and let ideas collide”.
Co-Working (noun – kōˈwərkiNG) is 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.
In the months ahead you will likely hear this word on a more frequent basis. The following infographic was crafted by Officevibe. It provides you with a quick overview of some of the facts and advantages of co-working
Anthony Morinos from Grind, an organization which creates co-working spaces in New York, provided his views about co-working during a recent co-working webinar. He noted that, in this era, “everyone is used to sharing resources and not just owning everything. This has crossed over into the work-space world where people want to be part of a community and not just a company”. He believes that the current generation is used to working in more flexible modes and co-working helps facilitate this (you can access the full webinar at the bottom of this blog). Co-working is also an extension of the sharing economy which has become popular through services such as Uber and AirBnB.
Most of us will associate this as a work solution for independent contractors, consultants, start-ups or entrepreneurs. However, I believe that these groups are simply the innovators and early adopters of this movement (see Everett Rogers overview of the Diffusion of Innovation if you are not familiar with this idea). If the concept is sound, there are many advantages of co-working that mid and large companies can also take advantage of.
Here are a few questions for you as you consider co-working for your environment:
- How do you already see co-working occurring where you live?
- What are limitations of co-working?
- Why would you want to co-work? Are these reasons shared by others you work with?
- Why would ‘typical’ companies resist arrangements which would allow their employees to co-work?
- Does the sharing economy of co-working compliment or contradict the need for competitive advantage?
I believe that many of us co-work in small ways without realizing it. Coffee with a colleague, working at Starbucks for a few hours or a working lunch are all activities that have some relation to this idea. Education is also harnessing part of the power of this through learning cohorts, wiki’s and group projects. My gut tells me that we are seeing the early stage of an idea that is here to stay.
Perhaps I need to get out of my home office to see if it is true!
(Remember to scroll to the bottom for the full webinar video)
Jeff Suderman is a futurist, professor and consultant who works in the field of organizational development. He works with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational Future-Readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman