NORTHFIELD, Minn. June 12, 2012 — A decade of job downsizing and growth of independent workers has led to a new type of work space. Often called ‘coworking’ spaces, or cowork hubs, these are a boon to workers who wish to move from their basement to the boardroom. Or out of the coffee shop.
Deskmag projects that there are now more than 1,100 coworking spaces worldwide, more than double the number in 2006.
What is a coworking site?
In the US and Western countries, there has been a growing adoption of coworking spaces, where freelancers, employees of small businesses, or teleworkers can get the best of both worlds: they can work from a work space close to their home — thereby avoiding a long distance commute — but at the same time they can have the support and stimulation that comes from social interaction with well-known people other than your family (Boyd, 2011).
You rent a space, fixed or flexible, that meets your needs. Amenities usually include a business address, board and/or training room, refreshments, and talented co-workers.
A site will open in July in Northfield. It is the brainchild of the Northfield Enterprise Center. The goal is to provide space and programs to help businesses grow and thrive in the community of 20,000. Funding comes from the Economic Development Association, City of Northfield, and the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.
Why become a member of a coworking space?
Business productivity, shared resources, and social interaction top many lists. According to Michelle Taute, posting ‘23 Ways Coworking Will Change Your Career (and Your Life) for the Better’ on the Global Coworking Blog,
“I’m a writer and when I tell people I rent office space, I can tell they’re often thinking, “what a waste of money.” I mean, sure, I could work at home and save a little cash. We have an extra room with a door and everything. But, honestly, there are so many benefits to my coworking membership that I wouldn’t give it up any sooner than my iPhone.
Here are two of the ways Taute sees coworking can change your life and career:
“You’ll get twice as much work done at your new co-working desk than you did at home. Really and truly. It’s reverse peer pressure or something.”
“Creative energy is contagious. Being around other people working on awesome projects makes you more excited about your awesome projects.”
SPUR is the name of the Northfield site. It stands for ‘strengthen productivity, unite resources.’ Members are now being recruited. Some of the benefits of membership include: customized membership levels (very part-time to full-time with rent appropriate to usage); natural lighted, hardwood floor space in a dynamic downtown location; conference room, and more.
How do I find a coworking space?
One way to search for locations is deskwanted. Many larger cities have established coworking sites. If you live in a smaller community you may wish to check with realtors. Here you can find the range of costs and amenities which differ by location.
Like Michelle, the happy member of the Cincinnati Coworks, you too may find that:
“Co-workers are better than a personal cheerleading squad. They want your business—and your most offbeat side projects—to be smashing successes.”
Read more from Donna Rae Scheffert at Washington Times Communities and Online Leadership Tools.
Donna Rae is an award winning writer, consultant, planner, facilitator, and coach. One Minnesota organization gave her a coveted ‘Futures’ award. Another named her the 2002 Outstanding Faculty member. She has co-authored five books and numerous articles. She is the founder of the consulting firm Leadership Tools.
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