Coworking spaces are popping up like weed dispensaries in Toronto and worldwide, (globally there are 10,000 to be exact.) In fact, Berlin, London and Sao Paulo, you'll find more than 100 coworking spaces per city.
I've worked at a few and I get the appeal.
Who doesn't like the idea of spending their work week in an open, collaborative environment, where the energy is alive and infectious, and you can fuel up on unlimited designer coffees and healthy snacks.
Where the common lounges are pretty much adult playgrounds that include ping pong games, beer fridges, sleep stations, PlayStations, Dance Dance Revolution and more. And the space itself is a beautifully designed loft, with high ceilings, exposed brick, vintage and modern custom designed furniture that is the perfect backdrop to foster communal powered learning, networking and community.
This setting is great for creative types, people like myself that are freelancers, entrepreneurs, or part of a startup that is in it's figuring sh*t out phase, and they don't want to be alone as they figure sh*t out.
Coworking spaces are becoming so mainstream and attractive that more and more non-creative industries are jumping on the trend, by converting their offices into these shared spaces, where the line between work and play is blurred.
The question remains, do coworking spaces make sense for every industry?
Do people who spend their days logging data or creating APIs really want to sit in the same bubble where a rowdy, high energy foosball tournament is taking place ten feet away from them?
Some people need a cone of silence to concentrate, in addition to investing in the best noise cancelling headphones that truthfully don't block out all noise.
I have a friend that works at a multinational consulting firm. The company he works for is promptly scrambling to change their work environment into a fun, shared space, in hopes of creating an inspiring, productive work environment. He said "the last thing I need is for someone to interrupt me, or break my flow, while I'm crunching numbers."
It's true that coworking spaces have freed industries from the confines of cubicles, however certain industries crave privacy and quietness to get their work done. Some jobs are meant to be done in solitude. To name a few: actuaries, political scientists, paralegals, medical record technicians, accountants and technical writers.
Distractions created by stretched out community building assemblies and noise created by daytime networking sessions disrupt the getting sh*t done motto. Even a semi-quiet phone call can be heard in an open space and naturally, it's human nature to eavesdrop which breaks our focus.
Coworking spaces were created for and by startups. It's magnetic to be surrounded by driven, intelligent minds that feed off of one another's energy. This type of environment promotes innovation, as everyone in the space is trying to build something dope and possibly change the world. And when you're in that initial building phase, it's comforting to be around others who are also in the same boat, who understand your frustrations and appreciate the little wins.
Essentially, building the best work environment for productivity involves communication, trust, recognition, having a sense of purpose and ergonomic chairs. I've heard sitting all day shortens your lifespan.
Industries need to figure out what fundamentals are needed to create the most focused and productive work environment for their employees, and not give into all the hype.
If we all gave into all the hype, what will coworking spaces evolve into next?
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