03 January 2011 ~ 5 Comments

How Coworking and Community Translate into Dollars

Money - Jeff Belmonte

“Coworking” isn’t just a buzzword, although I may be preaching to the choir if you’re reading this blog. While the idea of sharing office space isn’t new, the idea of purposefully building a community of independent workers in a workspace–in other words, coworking–is growing like gangbusters. Many people recognize various benefits of coworking (such as the chance to get out of the house/cafe or to meet other creative professionals).

But a key aspect of coworking that is sometimes overlooked is the way coworking can boost income (for independents) and stimulate the economy (in a local area).

Coworking helps freelancers and independents make more money.

The first global coworking survey was recently completed, and more than 600 people from 24 countries participated. The results confirmed what many of us already experience in coworking: it’s a collaborative and community-oriented space that helps independents genuinely grow their business. As many coworking blogs have highlighted from the survey, 42% of survey respondents reported earning more money after joining a coworking space. And more than half said they work in teams more often since joining a coworking space.

Coworking helps the local economy.

The various ways that independents, freelancers and small business owners help boost and sustain a local economy can hardly be covered in a bullet point (I’ll save that discussion for another post, perhaps). But it’s true: a coworking space can help its local community’s economyA soon-to-be coworking space in Portlandoriginated from a developer’s need to creatively solve certain economic challenges in his industry. When Peter Bass, the developer, learned about coworking, he also saw the importance of community. “‘We’re trying to build a community,’ Bass said, ‘not just a place to go to work.’”

When it comes down to it, coworking isn’t about plopping together a bunch of laptop-toting freelancers under one roof. Coworking is about community. And “community” isn’t just a fuzzy, feel-good term: it’s critical to a thriving coworking space. For proof, see how often “community” is mentioned by coworkers, freelancers and entrepreneurs at coworking space New Work City in this video.

I’m curious… whether you’re a coworker or coworking space owner, have you witnessed other ways in which the coworking community has boosted income or the economy? Leave me a comment below!

Image Credit: Flickr – Jeff Belmonte

  • http://www.spaceontap.com Jayne at Space on Tap

    We’d agree that co-working is good for business at all levels, and therefore is great for the local business economy. Through our co-working days (Colleagues on Tap) which are held regularly across the North East of England, we help people who work from home to connect with other home-based businesses and even during the course of one day a community starts to exist. We’ve witnessed new associations being formed between quite diverse businesses, business deals being struck and informal mentoring starting to emerge. Through the exchange of ideas and some real camaraderie (and, in our case we also add delicious cupcakes into the mix!) business people develop their businesses through co-working in one of our pop-up offices. Working alone is great, most of the time. We all need people around us sometimes though to stimulate fresh thinking and help us to remember how capable we are!
    Jayne, md http://www.spaceontap.com

  • http://www.coherecommunity.com Angel K

    Jayne-thanks for stopping by. In our space, we tend to feel more capable when we’ve just returned from the local cupcake shop! It is stunning how quickly a group can begin to form community!

  • http://thinkspace.com thinkspace

    Definitely agree! Nice post!

  • http://greylikesweddings.com GreyLikesWeddings

    I’m interested in starting a coworking space in Orange County, Ca. But the intention would be to create a profitable business. I love the philanthropic motivation to boost local economy and foster community, I still think it is necessary to meet the bottom line.

    So I want to know from business owners…is it possible to make money? I’ve read several articles and have heard both arguments.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Dan Safkow

    I just opened a new coworking space here in Orange County (Irvine). Please have a look at http://www.COspaceOC.com.