Coworking – the concept of working in the same place with others but on your own projects – is a relatively new phenomenon.
In 2017, there were 300+ coworking spaces in Australia.
International research says that compared to a traditional office, 90% of coworkers feel more self-confident and 70% feel healthier.
As well as commonly having table tennis tables, beer fridges and regular bbqs for coworkers, coworking spaces are flexible, provide a range of amenities and community and are generally more supportive of diversity.
Importantly, there’s an amplification effect from having purpose-driven individuals building their businesses and professions together. Coworking spaces provide options for remote (employee) work and therefore reduce travel time and congestion on roads.
The most commonly reported benefits are increased productivity, increased income and decreased isolation.
Community spaces combining work and childcare are unfortunately rare but there is a growing appetite worldwide. They provide a particularly effective way to support communities of workers such as solopreneurs, business owners who are also solo parents and Defence partners because they reduce barriers and offer many benefits:
- Reduced isolation and caring challenges: Women business owners in particular, but also Defence partners and others, often feel isolated and struggle to balance caring with work/business/projects.
- Enabling women time and connections to find the right work, faster: time and guidance to explore career options, formulate their CVs/job applications or setup or re-establish business operations after a change such as relocation or returning from parental leave.
- Businesses can be viable sooner. Business can provide a sound option when employment is difficult (eg. due to the location or a changing economic system). The number of women starting businesses is growing faster than the number of men starting businesses.
- Unlocking the massive potential from the growth in flexible/portable/remote work possibilities.
- Filling gaps in child care and engagement. There are limited options for a few hours/day of childcare. Children benefit from stimulating, fun environments (and potentially having less-stressed parents).
- Achieving greater gender equity as parents can more easily mix work and caring responsibilities.
There are some brilliant stats and research papers available on Ramon Suarez’s website: https://www.coworkinghandbook.com/stats
And you can read an in-depth article about coworking in Australia, published in 2017 here: https://www.innovatecommunicate.com/bright-future-coworking-gcucau/