I think coworking is awesome. I also think that it’s the most natural working environment that exists. If you think about it, we as Americans begin coworking as soon as we are put into a classroom environment – usually preschool or kindergarten. We report to a classroom, sit at a desk, participate in experiments, projects, and games with our peers. We compete, we collaborate, and we discover new things via our interactions with others. It seems so obvious that we would do this as adults.
But the only population in the business world that seems to embrace this concept of work is the startup world. Why is this? Perhaps it’s because entrepreneurs feed off each other, perhaps it’s because they dislike the traditional notion of the office, perhaps its because they rely heavily on the advice of others, or perhaps it’s hype. Whatever it is, I think they have it right.
That’s why I think more businesses should invest in coworking as a growth strategy. In the commercial real estate world, it is easy to fall into the pattern of reporting to the office, checking in with a few teammates and heading to your cubicle to knock a few things off the to-do list or make cold calls. My belief is that true growth in business is the result of new ideas, going against the grain, or stepping into the unknown. How are you going to do this if you are a consultant and hang out with other consultants all day? Or if you are a copier salesman and you follow the same trail through your territory every day. Don’t you want ask yourself what else you can be doing, or ask others what they do differently than you? This happens all the time in coworking space. That’s why it fosters innovation.
If I ran a professional service business like a real estate firm, or a financial advisory firm, or a law practice, I would clear out my extra office space, fill it with desks, and invite other businesses to use it as coworking space. There would be no strings attached, no expectations, but there would be a huge payoff. Relationships would grow, ideas would be exchanged, and business would happen. It doesn’t have to be just for startups.
Do you know of any big companies using their space for coworking? Do you cowork at another company’s office?