Coworking is what happens when you bring the values of collaboration, community, and sustainability into the workplace. People who make their living being independent get the support of a stable family of coworkers, and the local community is enriched by the talent and ambition that they have to offer.
Those that operate or are employed by traditional businesses might think they're exempt from the benefits of coworking, but there are more than a few reasons why the 9-5 crowd should be happy when coworkers set up shop:
Families Stay Stable
It's no secret that the economy has seen better days. Many bread-winners have been forced to get creative when it comes to maintaining a steady source of income. Those with skills that sell on the freelance market often pick up side clients to supplement cut salaries or replace income lost when they became unemployed. In recently completed global coworking survey, 42 percent of 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. Regular money coming in the door means utility bills get paid, mortgages stay (somewhat) up-to-date, and ultimately- familes stay happy.
Local Business Gets A Boost
A coworking space provides structure for an otherwise dynamic (and often invisible) community of independent professionals. And there is strength in numbers. A large enough coworking facility can explore the advantages of group health insurance, sponsor speakers, host conferences, and offer classes: all of which can bring people into town and benefit the small business economy. Coworkers that travel to coffee shops or lunch spots en masse can arrange frequent buyer discounts or barter an exchange program that help keep freelancers from camping out all day. Win-win situations: they're a coworking specialty.
(And Stays Local)
With outsourcing on the rise (online and in the brick-and-mortar world), many small businesses find it hard to compete with the rock-bottom prices of the international freelance scene. When you bring independent professionals together in a coworking community they take advantage of the built-in talent pool to delegate work. Instead of looking online to hire a developer in India that will work for $10 an hour, Mindy the project manager can instead suggest her company hire Matt, the developer that sits two chairs over from her three days a week. The income stays in the local economy and the client gets a far superior website; all because of coworking.
The Workforce Diversifies
An unemployed adult with a severely limited skill-set is one of the most frustrating and heartbreaking things to see in a down ecomony. Focusing on one job all your life might make you really good at a couple of specific tasks, but what will you do if the company closes and that job disappears tomorrow? Independent professionals are adept at wearing many hats. They have to be, or they won't eat. Freelancers are constantly looking for ways to build expertise in new areas, expand their skill set, or create a new product line. Coworking gives them the safety and support they need to try new things, and the community is enriched by residents that are stable and more likely to be successful.
What Other Ways Have You Seen Coworking Enrich The Larger Community? Share your ideas in a comment!