The coworking movement is taking the professional world by storm — by 2022, the number of coworking spaces worldwide is expected to reach about 26,000, a 42 percent increase from 2019. People from a wide variety of backgrounds choose coworking spaces over more traditional work environments. They are not limited to tech specialists (although developers and programmers constitute a majority). Writers, designers, artists, consultants, and entrepreneurs all find benefits in using coworking spaces over working from home or leasing space in a business center. It is an important point — this diversity brings additional advantages to everybody who follows this trend. But what exactly is coworking, and why are tech professionals worldwide so enthusiastic about it? Let us take a closer look.
What is coworking?
Coworking means working with other people in a shared working space. Different from your typical office, people in a coworking space do not necessarily belong to the same organization, team or even do the same type of work. Originally, they are random people who happen to work in the same place, but over time, they create a sort of community by spending a lot of time in the same space and interacting with each other along the way.
Why developers move to coworking spaces
There are an array of reasons programmers and developers are setting up shop in coworking spaces. Here are seven of them.
1. Coworking spaces combine the best aspects of working from the office and from home
Coworking spaces combine the best aspects of working from the office and home. Probably the most attractive thing about coworking spaces is that they serve as a happy middle ground between traditional offices and home offices, with fewer of the disadvantages of the latter. Just like at home, you maintain a significant degree of autonomy: You are free to take breaks whenever you like, no bosses are looking over your shoulder, there are no strict working hours (usually you pay by the hour for as many hours as you need at the time). At the same time, you have all the amenities of a well-organized office: a comfortable working place, all the necessary office devices, and so on.
In other words, it is an ideal choice for the people who feel the office environment to be too stifling and restrictive but do not want to isolate themselves from other people by working from home.
2. They help you stay focused
Many programmers and developers like the flexibility and freedom (in theory) achieved by working from home. However, when they actually try it out in practice, they often realize that home and work do not mix very well for them. They have trouble concentrating, get off track easily, and just have trouble associating work with their home environment. The very advantages often cited for home offices — the ability to take breaks whenever you like, choose what to wear and when to get up — can dramatically decrease your productivity. If you are not a naturally organized and disciplined person, you may need some kind of external motivation, and an office-like atmosphere of a coworking space can provide the golden middle ground.
3. There are no obligations
This is particularly important for new startups and solo entrepreneurs with limited capital, cash flow, and credit. Let us say you want to open a tech startup in Houston. You need working space for yourself and your team, but renting an office is too expensive as you have to pay for at least a few months in advance. Meanwhile, you do not know where your business will be next week, let alone next month, and committing yourself in this way does not seem like a good idea. Alternatively, you can look for coworking in Houston and rent yourself a couple of desks or a team area for exactly the amount of time you are going to use them, no strings attached.
4. You are a part of a community
One of the most important aspects of a coworking space is that it makes you a part of a community.
First, it protects you from the feeling of isolation many get when working from a home office. You get the benefits of social interaction to intersperse among your working hours but you can keep these interactions professional.
Second, it creates a different kind of community than you can find in a typical office. People in coworking spaces may not work on the same tasks and in the same industries, but they tend to have similar interests and directions in life, which means that they often have something to tell each other. Besides, being independents or coming from a variety of organizations, they can interact with each other without having to think about office politics.
5. Networking opportunities
The ability to interact with other people goes beyond merely sharing a coffee break and having a chat. You also get an opportunity to build up relationships that can help you push your career further. For example, you can meet a fellow programmer who can give you a tip on how to solve a problem you have been having trouble with. You can meet somebody working on a project that can benefit from your expertise, and that person may end up hiring you or partnering with you.
6. It offers a professional environment to meet clients
If you are a freelance developer or programming specialist, meeting clients in person may cause problems. Some people feel doubt about specialists who do not have their own professional environment. Others may believe that discussing professional matters in a café or a similar place is a little bit too casual. A coworking space offers an excellent opportunity: It means that you have a working place where you can discuss the specifics of a project with a client but do not have to maintain a real office full time.
7. Exposure to new perspectives
Working in a coworking space means being constantly exposed to people from other industries, new businesses, organizations, trends, technologies, and niches. In addition to the networking opportunities it offers, this means that you constantly get to see things from different perspectives, which helps prevent your outlook from getting stale.
Coworking spaces: Fad or future?
Of course, coworking may turn out to be just a fad that will fade away after a few years. But so far, it does not seem so — and it is likely that this is exactly where the future of tech industries lies.
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