Before the pandemic, coworking spaces were trending across Asia, Europe, and large cities in the US. As safety concerns continue, the need for Flexible Office Spaces creeps into suburban areas outside of the larger cities. But before we dive into why coworking spaces are shifting into suburbia, let's look at what a coworking space is and why people use them.
A coworking space is a space operated by a company that manages the use, aesthetics, benefits, and must-haves like electricity, gas, and internet services. Member benefits can range from special events, storage, access to select services like equipment or virtual assistance services. Coworking is an alternative to using traditional or commercial office space. Conventional and commercial office space is typically leased empty and may not include utilities. Besides passing payment for rent, you aren't likely to interact with the owner of conventional or commercial office space. On the other hand, you are likely to hear from a coworking operator more often as they engage all members to be part of an active community. They can also be used as great resources for networking, brainstorming, and troubleshooting issues you may face as a professional or business owner.
A coworking space is more than office space. People come to all kinds of coworking spaces for many reasons, but the biggest reason is for a sense of being connected to like-minded people. Members may have different types of businesses, serve different kinds of customers, have different backgrounds, but there is usually a thread of similarity. There are artistic, or maker coworking spaces, all women coworking spaces, green start-ups that form coworking spaces, and the list goes on. CoWorks at Vita Therapia's thread of similarity is service, and you'll see this in our member base as almost all of our members serve the communities in our area somehow.
All communities have norms and rules that they subscribe to, which is the same in a coworking community. Most coworking communities have house rules, a set of rules that all members agree to abide by during their stay in the coworking space. House rules also keep members safe, clearly define expectations, and what isn't acceptable. During a pandemic, house rules become incredibly important. Clearly outlining how we will all stay safe ensures that all members can continue to work, and new members can join knowing that everyone is following the same set of rules.
So why are flexible office spaces so essential and making a move into suburbia?
We need safe, flexible places to work.
People are no longer commuting to offices in the city. Those offices are likely closed until next year.
These days we are connected but not connected. It can feel lonely working at a kitchen island, in a basement, on a living room couch alone. It is a much different experience to drive to an office, walk through a few doors, find your office, and have an office to yourself but not alone. Cars are in the parking lot; people are in the other offices, you may pass someone to get coffee or get lunch from the fridge. Even though you are wearing a mask and keeping 6 ft apart, it feels more familiar than spending endless days at home.
Coworking's move through suburbia had just started before the pandemic. Still, if the virus continues to take a toll on our communities, coworking spaces in the burbs will likely become essential for many remote workers and families.
Coworking is an alternative to the traditional office.
Coworking is a community of like-minded people.
Coworking is the use of space (furniture, utilities, offices, beverages, and other services - Space as a Service)
Coworking is a membership-based business model, but day passes are usually also available.
Memberships usually are for hours or days in a private office, conference room, or a desk in an open workspace.
If you think that coworking might be the answer for you, contact Jenna at coworkswestford.com, even if you aren't in the area. If she can't help you, she can always point you to an operator who might have availability.