Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


The Rise Of Community Coworking

COVID-19 led to a spike in remote work. While remote work has benefits, such as increased flexibility in the midst of a pandemic, it also comes with consequences. More specifically, it can be hard to be productive when working from home, and remote work can lead to loneliness.

A potential solution to these problems is coworking. On paper, it looks like the perfect way to address loneliness and unproductivity. However, in practice, traditional coworking often fails to benefit workers.

The first arena in which traditional coworking struggles is economics. Only 46% of coworking spaces are profitable, resulting in blows to the overall business. This is especially concerning when considered in tandem with the fact that coworking businesses are often wrapped up in risky real estate investment deals. If these deals do not pan out, it can have significant economic consequences. When it comes to individual members, it costs $200 to $700 per desk, adding more expenses to the list.

Traditional coworking is also lonely, despite its goal to inspire connection. Already, 58% of adults in the United States are considered lonely. However, coworking does not seem to help with this. For example, in a survey conducted among members of WeWork-a coworking space provider-69% of surveyed individuals reported that they did not have friends at WeWork outside of their immediate coworkers. This statistic rings true despite a generous definition of the word “friend.”

Another glaring flaw in traditional coworking is that it can be boring. It has low differentiation, with many spaces feeling or looking the same. This fails to inspire energy and excitement in members. Coworking also does not have much vertical integration. This means that most spaces only fulfill the work aspect of life. With these points in mind, it makes sense that 49% of coworking space renters do not feel a sense of community.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

WeWork has suffered a collapse, and it was not alone in its struggles. Traditional coworking businesses are flailing across the board. In fact, 58% of coworking space operators say that fluctuations in membership are a top challenge. Additionally, although coworking usage has doubled, only 7% of people prefer it to traditional offices. Traditional coworking is not popular. This raises the question of what other alternatives may exist.

The community coworking model is a new paradigm replacing traditional coworking. It shows promise, and succeeds in many of the areas where traditional coworking falters.

Community coworking is a movement centered around affordability, inclusivity, and community. It focuses on both social and professional experiences, rather than prioritizing work above all else, as traditional coworking does.

One example of a community coworking provider is Tavern. Tavern inspires connection in several ways. It creates niche communities where people can bond over unique interests. It also provides a schedule that is inherently social. For example, Tavern hosts communal lunches, coworking events, and happy hours. Tavern also partners with community organizers to bring exciting events to members and grow the community.

Community coworking is also a more sustainable business model than traditional coworking. It achieves this by leveraging underutilized space in hotels, bars, and restaurants for events. This cuts out the need for risky real estate investments. In fact, Tavern has $0 real estate expenses, therefore avoiding a core challenge of traditional coworking models.

Tavern fulfills the functions of several other entities. Like Facebook, it acts as a monetizable social network. It also functions as a third-space solution for remote workers, like WeWork, and a platform for community organizers, like Meetup. Community coworking can serve workers from a wide array of industries, whether it be podcasters, founders, investors, marketers, comedians, or creatives.

Community coworking has many perks, and may be more effective than traditional coworking at building community. In the future, it may be a useful option for remote workers and community organizers alike, bringing people together from various backgrounds.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.