By Bond Collective Staff
Though the practice is almost 14 years old now, many people still ask us, “What is coworking?”. When they understand the concept and begin to see the benefits, their next question is, “Do you think coworking is right for me or for my business?”.
Regardless of the situation, we can answer yes to this last question — it is right for you and your business — but that doesn’t always convince everyone. They need more than just our word for it.
So, in this article, we’ll answer the question, “What is coworking?”, tell you everything you need to know about the revolutionary concept that is changing the way companies work, and show you why coworking is ideal for your business.
What Is Coworking?
Though the word itself has been in use for almost 200 years, coworking as a concept is relatively new to the American workforce.
An intrepid entrepreneur introduced the modern iteration of coworking space in San Francisco back in 2005. And like most revolutions, it went unused for the first few months it was open. But as people came to see what coworking was all about, the concept gained traction and quickly spread to parts far and wide.
As of this writing, there are coworking spaces in Bali, Nicaragua, Egypt, the UK, Hong Kong, Vietnam, South Africa, India, Mexico, and everywhere in-between. It truly is a worldwide phenomenon.
While not all dictionaries contain a definition that tells you what is coworking yet, there is a general consensus amongst those in the know. Here’s the official un-official definition of coworking:
The use of an office space or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge.
Coworking spaces go by several different names, including:
Some even refer to it as a virtual office.
Within each coworking space, you’ll find community spaces, hot desks (available on a first-come, first-served basis), dedicated desks (i.e., reserved), private offices, conference and meeting rooms, private phone booths, and much more.
Whatever your workspace needs, you’ll find it in a coworking environment.
Who Uses Coworking Space?
Freelancers And Digital Nomads
Working on your couch or at your kitchen table, in a hostel room, or in a busy cafe can be isolating, uninspiring, distracting, and difficult. That’s why many freelancers and digital nomads use a coworking space as their office.
There, they can work, network, socialize, brainstorm with others, and enjoy the perks of an office environment without the expense of building their own.
That’s because coworking spaces keep overhead costs low at a time when that money is desperately needed for research, development, and marketing.
Small businesses often use coworking spaces because of their centralized location with easy access to transportation, dining, shopping, and other amenities. And certain coworking spaces — like those at Bond Collective — are the epitome of luxury, class, and professionalism.
Most small businesses wouldn’t be able to afford on their own what they can get for a low monthly fee in a coworking space.
Small, Medium, And Large Enterprises
Enterprises and corporations of all sizes are using coworking space to their advantage.
While many of these businesses have their own space, they use the luxury and modern conveniences of coworking space to entertain clients, expand their teams, establish offices in new locations, and help their employees stay motivated.
What Are The Benefits Of Coworking?
1) Low Overhead
Overhead — recurring costs that sustain your business but don’t contribute to income — is one of the largest expenses most businesses contend with. But with a coworking space, everything is taken care of.
You and your team can walk in, do the work, and leave — without having to worry about who’s going to fix the copier, clean the kitchen, or restock the snack bar.
Infrastructure is all those disparate elements that make work easier but aren’t obvious at first glance. Things like the internet, technical support, heating and cooling, cleaning, storage, and supplies. Without those bits and pieces, work comes to a screeching halt.
But in a coworking space, like those at Bond Collective, infrastructure details are handled for you. That allows you to focus on the work at hand, not the day-to-day operation of your office.
Comfort may not seem like an essential consideration for an office space, but it can mean the difference between a focused, engaged employee and a distracted, unproductive employee.
In a coworking space like any one of Bond Collective’s six locations, comfort is built in. We decorate and appoint all of our environments with the finest that luxury and technology has to offer.
4) Professional Image
With a coworking space, you get a professional image from day one without having to suffer through the stress, strain, and expense of doing it yourself.
For example, at Bond Collective, all members benefit from guest reception and greeting, mail service, 24/7 access to multiple locations, beautiful decor, and luxurious accommodations.
When we answer the question, “What is coworking?” one of the main benefits for any business, large or small, is flexibility. Coworking spaces give you the agility to expand or contract the amount of space you use (and what you pay for that space) on a month-by-month basis.
So, you can start with a hot desk for one in September, upsize to a private office for five in November, and downsize to dedicated desks for three in January. You can’t do that with a conventional lease.
And this is just the tip of the benefits iceberg.
Businesses and employees alike enjoy the collaborative atmosphere of coworking spaces. They find value in the inspiration, community, and networking that happens naturally when people from varied and diverse industries come together.
6) Open Office
Want to transition away from the isolation that cubicles cause? Opt instead for the open office floor plan that a good coworking space provides.
An open office is one that accommodates all your team members — and sometimes other business’s team members as well — along with all furniture and equipment in a single large open room or rooms.
How does that work in practice for multiple businesses working together in the same coworking space?
Departments, divisions, and teams usually cluster in different parts of the space, but there are very few (if any) dividing walls.
Instead, demarcations take the form of counter- or desk-height cabinets, shelves, and plants of all shapes and sizes.
In addition, most coworking spaces include areas for quiet concentration, regular work, socialization, and group meetings. This helps allay some of the common drawbacks inherent in the open office plan.
Open office floor plans offer improved communication, a pleasing aesthetic, centralization, and a sense of democracy that can’t be found in any other office layout.
Those same open office floor plans also suffer from high noise levels, constant distractions, lack of privacy, and a sense of clutter when the space is full and active.
The best coworking spaces — Bond Collective, for example — take steps, and design their open floor plans, to minimize or completely eliminate these drawbacks so that all you’re left with are the benefits of this office environment.
7) Location, Location, Location
The maxim “Location, location, location!” is just as true now as it was then. When you base your business in a coworking space, you also get the street address associated with the building.
That can do wonders for the professional image (mentioned above) and the reputation of your business and brand.
For example, at Bond Collective, we have some of the finest, most sought-after addresses in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Nashville, Austin, Houston, Chicago, Washington D.C., and our coworking space Los Angeles.
With Bond Collective, you don’t have to settle for a second- or third-tier address somewhere else. Imagine how impressed your clients will be when they walk through the doors of a high-rise in Manhattan or Houston or Los Angeles.
Imagine how impressed they’ll be when a receptionist greets them and you escort them through a work area bustling with activity into a private conference room with all the amenities.
That’s what a coworking space at Bond Collective can do for you — all at a fraction of the cost of setting up those things on your own.
8) More Time To Focus On Your Business
A coworking space pays dividends with time and allows you to focus more on the business of running your business than on maintaining a building.
Basing your business in a coworking space removes the hassle and stress of managing your own large workspace.
You don’t have to worry about the utilities. You don’t have to worry about the design or the decor. You don’t have to worry about the furniture or the technology or the infrastructure.
All you have to worry about is driving your business to success.
Networking is essential to the success of your business — regardless of its size. Running an enterprise, a small business, a team, or even just yourself from a coworking space makes it possible to network with other professionals while you work.
In fact, a coworking space gives you a legitimate reason — and extensive opportunity — to network with other like-minded professionals without having to go out of your way or out of your comfort zone to do so.
That can have a significant impact on the improvement, evolution, and refinement of your product or service.
You know your business needs to foster and grow its professional connections — it couldn’t prosper without them.
To that end, the coworking spaces at Bond Collective include entrepreneurs, freelancers, and business teams that are working, hanging out, and intermingling in a vast web of connections and conversation.
That’s networking in a nutshell. And it’s all right there where you work.
Imagine meeting, talking to, and getting advice from a potential partner, investor, or CEO while checking your mail. It’s a very real possibility — actually, a probability — when you base your business at Bond Collective.
Convenience may not be something you immediately think about when you ask, “What is coworking?”, but once you experience that benefit in action, you’ll never want to work anywhere else.
Convenience includes easy and ready access to such things as:
Convenience also extends to other perks such as proximity to public transportation and the overall accessibility of the coworking space.
Bond Collective’s coworking spaces are located in some of the most convenient areas of cities across the country so you don’t have to worry about anything but getting the job done.
And once you’re finished working for the day, everything you need is right nearby.
11) Access To New Markets
We’ve been talking all along about how coworking spaces are an ideal way to maintain a market presence where you live.
But coworking spaces are also a perfect way to gain access to new markets and new parts of the country.
With a coworking space, you can establish a local address and phone number — an actual physical presence — without having to lease a location that you might not need in a year or two.
You can use it as a base from which you visit, explore, and research the new market. You can use it as a workspace away from your regular workspace. And if the new market bears fruit, you can hire a team to start up a satellite office and work from the coworking space you’re already familiar with.
That’s the power of the coworking spaces at Bond Collective: they give you access to a world of new markets and new locations without the cost of buying or renting your own office full-time.
12) Makes Your Business Attractive To Potential Employees
Any manager or owner will testify to the fact that finding the right hire can be a difficult and time-consuming job. Coworking spaces, though, are an easily accessible talent pool that can cut the difficulty and time in half.
Through the networking mentioned earlier in this article, you can get a feel for a person’s skills and gain insight into how and where they might fit into your team.
Consider this experience as an extended interview without the formality and time away from work — you converse during downtime and often in a more relaxed atmosphere.
That’s a good recipe for really getting to know a potential hire and how they can benefit your business.
13) Easy Setup
Few things are as stressful as moving from one office to another. One of the biggest issues of changing where you work is the amount of time it takes for your team to settle in and return to full productivity.
By nature of their design, though, coworking spaces lend themselves to quick and easy setup. You don’t have to connect utilities, remodel the space, or buy furniture and equipment. Everything is already there and ready to go.
In addition, we pull from our extensive knowledge of office and interior design to create a working environment that will benefit your business.
At Bond Collective, we’ve handled the hard work. We’ve handled all those things that would take you weeks, or even months, of long hours getting set up.
All you and your team have to do is report for work at the new location, open your laptops, and get right down to business.
What takes days, if not weeks, with a conventional office, takes an hour or less with a coworking space. That’s ease of setup and operation like you’ve never experienced before.
14) More Work Opportunities
We talked about how basing your business in a coworking space makes it more attractive to potential new hires. The same is true for finding more work for your business.
Coworking space provides plenty of opportunities for you to market your business and show how it can benefit the businesses around it.
Think of the networking you and your team do in the kitchen and other common areas as a way to make your business more attractive to others. Exposure like that leads to more work and more opportunities for your company.
You can’t get that kind of exposure without the benefits of a coworking space, and you certainly can’t get that exposure if your team is isolated in a dedicated workspace every day.
Is Coworking Right For You?
If you’re a freelancer, a digital nomad, an entrepreneur, a startup, a small business, a large corporation, or anything in-between, then, yes, coworking space is right for you.
Even if you already have a place to work or lease your own office, there are so many ways to use coworking space to your advantage. Here are just a few scenarios:
Setting up a satellite team
Expanding your business to a new state, coast, or country
Hiring seasonal or project-based employees
Outgrowing your current office
Working while traveling by utilizing a day pass
Meeting with investors
Utilizing temporary office space during construction or renovation
Housing your business while moving
Renting conference space
Hosting an event
Don’t worry about lost progress and revenue when one of these situations affects your business. Find a coworking space near you, and get back to work.
Bond Collective Is The Coworking Space For The Way You Work
At Bond Collective, we’ve designed all of our coworking spaces with your happiness and productivity in mind.
Each of our shared office environments incorporates inspiring design elements like natural light, open floor plans, vivid colors, and multipurpose workspaces — plus a whole host of other factors that will motivate your team to greatness.
In addition to gorgeous surroundings, every Bond Collective membership comes with:
Private meeting & phone booths
Guest reception and greeting
Daily on-site cleaning
Access to small and large conference rooms
Rooftop lounge area
Photo & sound studio (at Gowanus location)
Complimentary fresh fruit
Complimentary beer, coffee, and tea
Weekly warm cookies
Tasty eats and beverages for purchase
If you’re looking for spacious, well-appointed coworking space that gives you the professional look you need, take advantage of any one of our many Bond Collective locations, including New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas.
Call us today and we’ll answer the question, “What is coworking space?” in more detail. And while you’re at it, schedule a tour to see everything that Bond Collective has to offer.