Why you should care about the co-working movement:

CoLab Orlando

Coworking, which popped up a few years ago, is a growing movement of small businesses and entrepreneurs all working under one roof. What makes it different than a normal office? None of the workers are employed by the same company. Yes, they all work independently – but in the same building. While still a new concept, more than 400 coworking spaces span the globe.

How did it get started? In 2005, Brad Neuberg organized what is considered to be the first co-working sapce, a location in San Francisco named the “Hat Factory.” The “Hat Factory” was home to three technology writers, but people could come in daily and work. He was also a co-founder of “Citizen Space,” which was the first “work only” coworking space.

Most coworking spaces have desks, cubes and/or offices that can be rented out part-time or full-time. Residents or tenants, often called members, usually share normal office amenities including a conference room, printer, kitchen, lounge area and wi-fi.

Coworking has grown rapidly in popularity because it offers some real benefits over traditional executive suites or virtual offices. For a large number of workers in today’s economy, co-working is less expensive and far more flexible than other options. That’s why coworking spaces have sprouted up in most cities and continue to grow.

Who is coworking geared to? Entrepreneurs, small business owners and people who work at home. Yes, working at home has its benefits (like working in your pajamas and working whenever you want), distractions can make it difficult to work at your most productive. Without other productive people around you, working at home can be lonely. Working in coffee shops might be fun for a while, but everyone walking around and talking will get distracting, eventually.

When you surround yourself with other creative, hardworking entrepreneurs, you are much more likely to work hard as well.

What are some other benefits of coworking? The big two are networking and making friends. Many companies are so niche specific that they must outsource some work. Do you own a successful website but don’t know how to create a smart phone app for your website? Maybe a programmer in your co-working space can help. Do you need someone to help you with SEO? Maybe an SEO consultant works the next desk or office by the coffee maker. You can find top quality assistance or even collaboration without stepping a foot outside.

Here are some recent articles that explain the growth of the Coworking movement:
INC Magazine article on Coworking:
http://www.inc.com/articles/2010/01/co-working-spaces.html
USA Today article on Coworking:

 http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2010-03-18-coworking18_ST_N.htm
Coworking Wiki:
http://wiki.coworking.info/w/page/16583831/FrontPage
What is Coworking:
http://coach4sm.com/what-is-coworking-examples-articles-video

Live in Orlando? Take a tour of CoLab, the city’s first and premier coworking space.