It’s not a secret that coworking is the next big thing for freelancers and small businesses.
Part of the reason that coworking continues to grow is that the demographic of workers continues to change. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that currently about one out of three workers is a ‘freelancer–’ this means 53 million Americans are now earning income from work that’s not a traditional 9-to-5.
Sara Horowitz, the Executive Director of Freelancers Union, explains that this surge in freelancers is the ‘Industrial Revolution of our time” and policies need to adapt quickly to meet the needs of the growing numbers of citizens who define themselves as freelancers.
A Key to Freelancer Success
One of the ways that freelancers can improve their success is with coworking spaces. Shared workspaces of various sizes and capacities offer the benefits of a traditional office: a physical place to work, access to printers and a coffeemaker, but also the connection to a community that you can find in a ‘regular’ office. This factor is often missing from the freelance life or ‘gig economy.’
I am part of this freelancer movement, and have been for years at various start-ups, as a writer, and now, as the Accounts Manager for Important Media. We have no office for our media company– our writers, Editors and Directors are scattered around the globe, and we work together everyday, but totally independently.
Not having coworkers in the same zip code can get a bit lonely, so coworking has been a great way to be connected to a community– and a great way to embed myself into a new city.
My current ‘office’ is at the gorgeously appointed coworking space in San Francisco known as ECO-SYSTM. Like other coworking spaces, ECO-SYSTM offers fast wi-fi, free range standing and sitting desk options, free coffee and organic tea, along with snacks like KIND bars. But as the only sustainability-focused coworking space in the Bay Area, they have a unique edge up on coworking in San Francisco by connecting a network of sustainability-minded entrepreneurs for networking, events, and community building.
Why Coworking is So Good for Workers
In 2015, the Harvard Business Review wrote that coworking offers workers so many ways to thrive. One of the reasons is that people feel they are part of a social movement: they are often more engaged in their work, and without the distraction of petty office politics, workers are able to use that extra energy for their actual work.
Secondly, coworking offers flexibility that regular offices don’t often have, whether that means freedom for a mid-day yoga class or making up hours on your own schedule, a coworking space can help create loose boundaries that keep workers more productive.
A study by Deskmag had results that backed this up: the report showed that when coworking, 71% of people surveyed felt more creative, 62% reported improved work output, and 90% said they felt more confident when coworking. It’s hard to argue with data like that.
I feel that having a space to work (that is not my kitchen) engenders a much more productive, focused self. Not only do I feel compelled to dress appropriately and communicate with other humans throughout the day (which doesn’t often happen if I work from home), I feel infinitely more productive, and feel much better at the end of the day.
Whether I need quiet focus time, casual interactions with my shared deskmates, or a morning of phone calls, I’m able to do it all from ECO-SYSTM, and feel like I’m part shaping this innovative freelancing, coworking community in San Francisco, and the world.
Important Media has partnered with ECO-SYSTM Coworking in San Francisco for a series of articles about thriving at coworking spaces, so look for more articles soon! Here is a review of an ECO-SYSTM co-members, Hustle Deck.