Coworking 411

Cincinnati, OH | Posted: 04/15/2016 | Author: April Koenig

Coworking 411

Many freelance artists love the freedom and flexibility of contract work, but miss the sense of fellowship and camaraderie inherent in working with others. Some don’t have a home office space that suits all of their needs, which can hinder met deadlines. And still others would prefer to share ideas with a variety of other independent artists, with an array of backgrounds and expertise. There’s a community-based solution that fits the needs of freelancers wanting to work along like-minded colleagues in these types of settings. It’s called Coworking.

Coworking is a shared work environment that brings contractors, at-home freelancers and others together to form a communal space, attracting those wanting to avoid the isolation inherent to independent work. Coworking is guided by the following five principles in order to thrive –

Community –“In the context of coworking… I believe that a focus on community means putting emphasis on the people, their interactions, and the relationships that form above everything else.” -Alex Hillman, Coworking community leader.

Openness –“ Regardless of the definition of ‘open’ or ‘openness’ that you use… you must always fight for openness, and you must always fight for decisions to be made that are more transparent, more expansive, more liberal, and more inclusive.” – Chris Messina, one of the coworking movement founders.

Collaboration – “The founders of the best coworking spaces tend to look to their members as collaborators more than customers… the members who work together – not just with each other but with the space itself – tend to have the deepest bond with the community.” – Alex Hillman

Sustainability – “Sustainability in a coworking community is about supporting, nourishing, about ‘buoying up’ our fellow coworkers. It’s about giving, about contributing, for it is through these actions that the community itself – made up of individual people – is sustained.” – Julia Ferguson, of Cowork Frederick, MD.

Accessibility – “One of the unique elements of coworking is that anybody who can work from anywhere can do it. You don’t even need a special coworking space to do it. You can cowork in a living room, or a park, or even somebody else’s office. But the key element here is self-selection.” – Alex Hilman

These principles were a guiding force when Brad Neuberg, in 2005, organized the first coworking site in San Francisco. Citing "the freedom and independence of working for myself along with the structure and community of working with others”, Brad’s initial space was a loft that was home to a few tech workers, but open to others throughout the day who came in as well. This idea has now become a worldwide phenomenon, with over 700 locations in the United States alone. The coworking trend shows no signs of slowing down. As the freelance economy steadily rises to its peak, more and more contract workers will look for a sense the sense of community that coworking brings.

Learn more at coworking.com.

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