Chrissy Gomez recently sent along an interesting research graphic titled “Sharing Is Caring: How Coworking Is Changing How We Work.” The infographic gives a short history of modern coworking, then looks at why and how the coworking movement has taken off within the past 20 years.
Creative Coworking was ahead of the curve when we opened in March 2011, but the benefits of coworking still hold today. One of our favorite facts from the graphic? “One recent survey found that nearly 70% of people in coworking arrangements said they focused better while working, and 70% said they felt healthier.”
Sitting near the window in the front lounge of Creative Coworking for as little as 20 minutes can tell you a lot about the community here. Passersby frequently stop at the door to grab a brochure or ask for an impromptu tour of the space, and once they get inside, Creative Coworking comes to life even more. I’m not exaggerating when I say that in my summer at Creative Coworking, every tour I witnessed ended in a membership. This doesn’t surprise me: curious passersby don’t stay strangers for long, because once you’re here, you’re home.
The friendly conversations overheard in the lounge and out by the printer prove that it’s a truly welcoming place. Members are always pleasant and everyone greets one another. There are no feelings of rigid competition and if people are feeling exceptionally stressed on a particular day, it doesn’t show.
So, as you might guess, interning here was a great experience. Like Angela does with all the members, she immediately made the interns feel at home. She added our biographies and photos to the member board and regularly checks up on us to make sure that we have meaningful work to do. It’s been great bouncing ideas off the other interns and learning from one another as we work.
I’ve also really appreciated the interactions I’ve had with members here. From small talk in the kitchen to working on projects together, I’ve gained valuable experience and learned more about a variety of professions. I was given the opportunity to enhance my design, research, and writing skills, and was made to feel as though my contributions were important and helpful.
Although I’m sad to leave Creative Coworking to begin my sophomore year of college, I’m grateful for the skills I’ve gained and the people I’ve met. I hope curious passersby continue to knock on the door and inquire about the space – they won’t regret it.
More than one in two coworking spaces plan to expand this year, according to Deskmag’s 2014 Coworking Forecast. With our own expansion in progress, we know that firsthand here at Creative Coworking! But as more and more professionals join the coworking movement, it’s interesting to explore different opinions and experiences people have with coworking across the country. Below is a list of articles in which the authors discuss the benefits, drawbacks, and growth of the coworking industry.
In her article, Dishman explores the results of Deskmag’s annual Global Coworking survey. Some of their findings are truly amazing, including the fact that 71% of participants reported a boost in creativity after joining a coworking space. Dishman delves into the greater flexibility, productivity, and even job satisfaction that coworking spaces can provide.
New York reporter Sarah Kessler decided to spend a month trying different Coworking spaces in the city. Her article highlights the benefits of coworking spaces, including networking opportunities, the ability to meet potential clients, access to legitimate meeting space, and the possibility of learning from fellow members.
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2020, about 65 million Americans will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors and solopreneurs, making up about 40% of the workforce.”
Lopez writes that the current state of the economy has called for a change in how we work, thus inciting a surge of coworking spaces in cities nationwide. She also discusses the social benefits of coworking and how it can provide an intellectually and creatively stimulating environment.
“A great co-working space is a collection of minds inspired by the brand that brought them together.”
In his article, Chawla discusses the inspiration professionals can find in a coworking space. He notes that coworking spaces can ease the stress of starting a business by providing flexibility, resources (WiFi, coffee, printing), and an opportunity to collaborate with individuals who are also working toward a dream.
Toren explores some pros and cons of coworking spaces to provide readers with a base to think about whether this work environment is right for them. He believes the sense of community that coworking spaces provide lends itself to networking opportunities, creativity, and accountability to your work. However, Toren views potential drawbacks of this social work environment, as well. He believes sharing a workspace could lead to competition, distractions, and conflicts.
Coworking is more than a trend; it’s a movement. There are coworking spaces popping up all over the place, and that’s no surprise to me. Why work from home all the time, feeling isolated and unmotivated? Why work from a coffee shop or café, where you feel obligated to buy something every two hours? Becoming a full-time or part-time member of a coworking space can fill in for you everything that’s missing.
I’m spoiled, and I know it. I get to work from Creative Coworking in the heart of Downtown Evanston all the time. Last week, though, I needed to be in Downtown Chicago every afternoon while my daughter was taking a class. So, I tried out a few other workspaces.
Monday I used the WiFi at a café and worked a bit while I ate lunch. It was fine for what it was, but I couldn’t imagine doing that day after day. I’m simply not productive in that type of environment. I also don’t feel welcome to stay very long.
Tuesday I went to a coworking space called Workspring at 30 W. Monroe, in the Inland Steel Building. If you need a place to work, and that location is convenient for you, I highly recommend checking it out—especially because they offer a free trial. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful, and the space is beautiful. It’s backed by Steelcase, so it’s full of high-end furniture.
Wednesday I worked for two hours at OfficePort at 9 W. Washington. The manager accommodated me for a free 2-hour visit, which I really appreciated. They do not have a daily or hourly option, however, so I can’t recommend them as a pop-in coworking option. They have more of a shared office model—less community, more closed doors. It could work well for a small business looking for economical office space in the Loop, though.
Thursday I worked from Level Officeat 73 W. Monroe. It is a comfortable, dynamic space with friendly staff and great lighting. The fee for a short visit was only $10/hour.
This week I’m happy to be back in my office home here at Creative Coworking, but it’s good to know there are lots of other great spaces out there, giving people what they need to do what they do.
I opened Creative Coworking three years ago. There were a few times in the first month when it was really quiet here, and I wondered if I’d done the right thing. This is an awfully large office to work in all by myself! But, members started trickling in—and, over time, that trickle turned into a steady stream. The gamble paid off. I was right in thinking that if I created a beautiful office environment in the heart of Downtown Evanston, people would join me here. But it was a gamble. A lot of people in town hadn’t even heard the word coworking when we first opened!
I’m what you might call an accidental entrepreneur. I didn’t set out, determined to change my career. Life gave me lemons, and I chose to make lemonade, as they say. With the downturn in the economy in 2009, the company I was working for closed its doors. I started freelancing from home, which seemed great for a while. Then it started to become harder and harder for me to concentrate. The kids came through and interrupted me on a regular basis. I interrupted myself on a regular basis, too. I got up to do the dishes or laundry or brush the cat or organize my closet—anything but face the looming editorial deadline of the moment. I also missed having coworkers. I’m too social to work alone for long.
So, I started looking for a better place to work. I am too easily distracted to be productive working in a coffee shop, and the library is too quiet for me. Plus, I wouldn’t want to have to pick up my things every time I needed to go to the bathroom or take a quick phone call. In 2009, there weren’t any coworking options in Evanston; the closest office was in Edgewater. Writer’s Workspace, owned by the delightful Amy Davis, is a great space, but it is just far enough away from my house that I knew I wouldn’t want to add the daily commute. I wanted to stay close to home, particularly since I have two young children.
So, my husband and I took the plunge. He is a techie by trade, so he set up everything that beeps or blinks around here: WiFi, printers, projector, phones, electronic door entry system, etc. I focused on creating the look and feel of my dream office. And, three years later, the office space we call Creative Coworking is still here, ready to become Your Office Home.(And, yes, it took me three years to get around to starting a blog.)