What Is Coworking?

I am a firm believer in the axiom “If you can’t explain it to an 6-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”  This quote is attributed to Albert Einstein. Whether or not he actually said it is highly debated, however, it still ring true for me.  I believe it is our ability to take complex concepts and distill them down to a simple explanation which allows us to be effective communicators.

Last week, I spend the better part of my days giving 20-25 minute talks to groups of 8th graders (13-15 year olds).  I would tell them who I was and then my job title.  The moment the word “coworking” left my lips you could see a glaze come over their faces.  I would sum up coworking with this sentence, “A coworking space is basically a place that is built to make it easy for people who don’t have an office to come work.”  They would all nod and smile, indicating their understanding of the concept.

But isn’t coworking so much more than that?  Isn’t coworking about collaboration?  Isn’t coworking about being part of a community?  Is it really just about a place to work? Maybe.  The most sure way to know the answers to that question is to look at the data.  What does the data collected by one of the foremost authorities on coworking, the GCUC, has to say about it.  Let’s look at their data:

76% of all members of coworking spaces choose their space based on the community at the space.  75% choose their space based on the ability to interact with others.  Value for the money is the 3rd consideration.  More people care about a good internet connection than they care about good office infrastructure.  That is HUGE!

So is coworking all about making a place for those who don’t have an office?  Well that’s not what the data says.  The data shows people care more about working with others than anything else.  Which makes sense because the word is COWORKING.  Take another look at the graph and you will see only 49%, less than half, of people place a high priority on working with like-minded people.

I believe we have two very specific holes in our hearts.  One is a hole only God can fill.  The other is a hole only other people can fill.  We were not created to do life alone.  We were created for community!  I want to create that community for Canton.

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