“Industrial Revolution of Today,” according to The Atlantic

In today’s job market, getting a long-term job is, well, so yesterday.

Look around at any coffee shop, library or free WiFi spot and see people working on laptops and talking on smartphones. Count the number of friends, relatives and acquaintances you know who are freelancing or starting small businesses and the number may surprise you.

The Atlantic recently published an article about the surge of freelancers and proclaimed the it “the industrial revolution of our time.” Freelancing, once stigmatized as the only option when you couldn’t get “a real job” is becoming a preferred career path for large numbers of skilled professionals.

Costs to start up a business have dropped and depending on the industry, anyone with a laptop, software and a phone can start taking on paying jobs. As companies reduce staff to cut costs and outsource work, the work available has increased. Freelancers often make more, work better hours and have much more control over life balance. In essence, they are happier and more productive workers.

This boom in freelancers has propelled the coworking movement from an abstract idea to a viable alternative to traditional professional office space. Coworking spaces such as CoLab Orlando offer shared desks, conference rooms and small offices for workers and provide the full range of services a freelancer needs: coffee, Internet and copy machines. Coworking is often less expensive than executive suite offices because it does away with stuffy receptionists and expensive phone services in favor of communal spaces and cell phones.

Coworking is flexible and allows entrepreneurs and freelancers to grow and pay only for what they use. Many coworkers start out with a simple desk membership, which gives them access to a desk when they need it, and as business booms, they can move up to additional desks and office spaces – expansion that is difficult to pull off in a home office, coffee shop or a traditional long-term commercial lease.

The model means freelancers, entrepreneurs and small business owners who opt for coworking grow at a faster pace, creating jobs along the way. The flexibility works, but the social component of coworking drives business too. Unlike traditional office space or home offices where workers are isolated, a coworking space involves regular interaction with other freelancers and business owners. This informal networking opens doors, motivates and creates business opportunities that isolated workers otherwise miss. Many coworkers who started out small and built enviable businesses say that the time they spent with a coworking membership was the single best investment they made in their business.

The freelance surge is not going to diminish; in fact, the surge in freelancers likely will shape the economy of the next decade as more as more workers find freedom, higher income and flexibility with small business ventures.

Coworking is rapidly become the standard work environment for the freelance nation and the surge in coworkers is only getting started. CoLab Orlando has known this for years. Stop by our downtown offices, take a tour and check out where you could be working!