What is coworking?

I was recently on a radio show called “Connections” with Evan Dawson of WXXI along with a few other “coworkers” local to Rochester, New York (check out the audio here). It was so much fun that we could have chatted for hours (the full version is 57 minutes:)).

The entire show is about the rise of coworking and open office spaces. This conversation has raised questions about productivity in the work place. Are the concepts the latest trends or do they define the future of business? On the program Evan discussed the advantages and disadvantages of coworking with:

  • Myself
  • Barry Strauber, member and co-founder of Carlson Cowork
  • Kelly Cheatle, creative director of Airigami, who works from the Made on State facility
  • Breanna Banford, Yelp Rochester community director, who works from the Outlook Collective

#1 Take Away

My number one take away from the conversation was that not many people understand exactly what coworking is and what the difference is between coworking, a co-op, and an incubator.

In a nutshell, coworking is a space where individual business owners share amenities including wifi, desk space, 24/7 access, kitchen facilities, etcetera! The concept works very well in revitalized vacant spaces and, in the words of a property manager I’ve collaborated with…”brings life back to our buildings”.

Coworking is not a co-op. A co-op is a model where all of the participants own an organization and establish a pre-determined outcome.

Coworking is not an incubator. An incubator is a setup where a governing body provides a system that a member is required to follow.

These are all VERY different model and in fact a TRUE coworking space is not just a space at all…

Coworking is so much more than a place. It’s about a community of people embracing and supporting one another in a very organic way, which is easy to do, if you know how to cultivate relationship between people.

In future blogs I’ll discuss my model for creating sustainable coworking communities and how to do it.

Stay Tuned and in the meantime check out the audio from “Connections” to hear our full conversation!