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What is Coworking, and Why Should You Care?

Shared space 2 CROP

What is Coworking, and Why Should You Care?

Our Coworking space here at Chatham Works certainly bears little resemblance to the huge spaces that are taking over commercial buildings in big cities. But the fundamental benefits remain very much the same: convenience, flexibility, affordability, enhanced productivity, and the opportunity for social interaction.

Coworking is a term that’s used to refer to any kind of a shared office or workspace environment where the participants don’t all work together for the same employer. The concept combines the idea of the “communal open workspace” - rooted in the early Silicon Valley tech scene - and the decades old “executive suites” business model.

More recently, companies like WeWork have morphed this into “Office Space as a Service”, which has grown like wildfire with companies both large and small. Big business loves this concept because it lets them outsource much of function of managing their real estate needs, gives them the ability to layer workspace on and off as needed, and because it offers some important accounting benefits.

Coworking's Growth in Non-Urban Markets

Although Coworking has largely been an urban phenomenon to date, it has also been catching on in smaller markets too. In fact, some of the fastest per capita growth is already taking place in states that aren't exactly associated with huge urban populations.

Many industry analysts expect that coworking will continue to grow significantly in suburban markets as more professionals look to escape big cities.

Part of the reason that’s even possible is that employers have grown increasingly comfortable with the idea of letting employees work remotely. It’s reported that remote work has grown 91% over the last ten years. Research suggests that remote workers outperform their office-bound counterparts. And an oft-cited 2015 study published in the Harvard Business Review found that workers thrive in coworking spaces more so than in regular “company office” environments.

Another driving factor behind the growth of suburban coworking spaces is that an estimated 36% of workers now participate in the so-called “gig economy” (i.e., as freelancers). This stat is particularly relevant to the Cape Cod economy, where many residents juggle multiple jobs to get by.

As shown below, despite the rapid adoption by larger companies, coworking is still overwhelmingly the domain of small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.

Coworking, Entrepreneurship, and the Cape

Coworking has long been closely associated with entrepreneurship, and the key benefits that it offers - convenience, flexibility, affordability, enhanced productivity, and the opportunity for social interaction - make it ideally suited to the needs of both sole proprietors and new businesses.

The Coworking - Entrepreneurship relationship is particularly relevant here on Cape Cod. Many people choose to live here despite the fact that it can be a challenging economic environment. So many look to start their own businesses as a way to make ends meet. The Cape has a tremendous amount to offer in terms of quality of life, but it's not always easy.

We’re obviously entrepreneurs ourselves, and we're actively working to help strengthen the Cape Cod entrepreneurial ecosystem by engaging with local organizations like eForAll - Cape Cod, Cape Cod Young Professionals, Community Development Partnership, and the Cape Cod Technology Council.

We certainly don't claim to be the first (or largest) Coworking space on Cape Cod. CapeSpace in Hyannis opened in 2016, and just opened a second location in Mashpee. But we're the only coworking space on the Lower Cape to offer a range of short term and long term options including both Open Seating, Private Offices, and a Conference Room. And of course we're among the first businesses in the country to offer our customers the work/life balance benefits that come with having an amazing Fitness Center and a Coworking Space all under the same roof.

Coming Up ...

In our next post we’ll delve deeper into the core benefits that Coworking offers - convenience, flexibility, affordability, enhanced productivity, and the opportunity for social interaction. We’ll also explore in greater detail what makes Coworking different from alternatives like working from home, camping out in a coffee shop, or renting your own traditional office space.

In the meantime, if you want to come in and experience our Coworking space for yourself, just drop us a line and we’ll be happy to get you set up with a complimentary Coworking Open Seating Day Pass. (P.S.: be sure to bring your gym stuff if you want to squeeze in a workout or a Group Exercise class while you’re here!)

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