This type of spirit is one of the many reasons we love our industry. We don’t play by the rules. We believe we can change the world, and we have. What started out as a small scrappy grassroots movement is now mainstream. The ripple effects of coworking are being felt in the changing landscape of real estate, office design, mental health and community worldwide.
WeWork has filled its spaces with companies, thanks to a robust partnership with agents. That is changing. If you as a broker put a client in WeWork, they will likely take over that relationship and offer them a global program (see Regus) and you will lose that client. That by the way is your fault, brokers. Brokers are shying away from WeWork because they see the writing on the wall: why wouldn’t WeWork build an internal real estate/sales team and take that over too?
The commercial office real estate industry has been turned upside down by the coworking industry. Developers are pursuing brands; REITS are developing coworking and flex designs of their own; corporations are allowing employees to work in coworking in droves; brokers are scrambling to remain relevant.
Take a look at any new commercial office space and it is likely to look a hell of a lot like your local coworking space. Phone rooms, focus rooms, lounge seating and open floor plans are everywhere. People no longer accept cubes as place fit to work.
We have a loneliness epidemic in our world. We, as an industry, feel we can help address that. We started Check Yo Mate, inspired by R U Okay in Australia, to combat the loneliness issue and help dismantle the stigma around mental health. We are making loneliness a topic at conferences around the world.
Community is about people. Coworking is about building a better daily experience for humans. We all spend the majority of our day at “work,” so shouldn’t that space be amazing? Shouldn’t people know your name? Shouldn’t they care about you? Shouldn’t the space make your health better? Shouldn’t you feel inspired? Shouldn’t you have options to support your posture? Shouldn’t you, in fact, love where you get your work done?
We think so too.
In the end, coworking is a human movement. Started by humans, sustained and nurtured by humans and making the world a little bit better one human at a time.
I’ve heard grumblings from people not wanting to identify as “coworking” anymore because so many people that don’t “get it” are using the term. Shame on you. It is our word and our industry and we think it’s worth the fight. Educate people, show them how it’s done and be better than that.