They can be noisies but co-working spaces likewise give an environment where professionals can wait out the volatility of the job market
The growing phenomenon of co-working spaces places where individuals can rent a desk of their own while sharing a range of other facilities with their co-tenants is as indicative of the changing nature of project as almost any metric you care to name.
Although many consider the casualisation of the workforce that this growth represents as an inherently bad thing rightly focusing on the way in which engineering is tending to convert full-time work into part-time gigs there may well be a big upside. Co-working is a framework that commits workers themselves, the digital nomads of gig economy, more control over their working lives.
How big is the sector? Small Business Labs, an organization that is monitors it around the world, been shown that the number of people renting such spaces will grow globally from simply under 1m in 2016 to virtually 4m in 2020.
According to research by user experience researchers Melissa Gregg and Thomas Lodato, co-working can be a positive selection for many freelancers. They “re saying that”, in part, such workers are attempting relief from the emotional requirements of the corporate office.
Co-working spaces, they write, expanded significantly in the wake of the world financial crisis of 2008/9, adding this work styles emerged in response to the slow plodding of austerity, hollowed-out corporations, underemployment and career insecurity. They argue that co-working spaces met a developing demand for care and fulfilment as much as employment.
So is co-working a good thing in itself or simply a rational response to negative a difference in traditional workplaces?
Gregg, who is principal technologist in the Business Client Research and Strategy Client Computing Group at Intel Corporation, says with all the fluctuations of experience there is no simple provide answers to that.
Still, she says, I regard co-working as the most optimistic instance we have of conducting enterprise on our own terms. I like that it is often its own experience of project that is determined by workers themselves.
Isolation is one of the key problems that arises for freelancers and providing this sort of human contact a community of fellow nomads has become the secret sauce of the co-working industry, a large part of what attains it attractive. Karen Corr, founder of the Make A Change organisation, says it would never have got off the ground without the existence of the Synergize Hub in Bendigo but that it was ultimately the community experience that retained her there, even as her organisation grew.
Travel blogger Monika Pietrowski writes that after a solid stint in the corporate world, I gave up the security, the scrutiny and the stress for a nomadic lifestyle. She says that co-working communities have been central to this change and, although it can be hit or miss, the biggest advantage for me is the people interaction and social setting.
Gregg and Lodato write: Co-working spaces provide an environment in which professionals can foresee, withstand and perhaps even wait out the volatility of the competitive labour markets that surrounds them. So do they expect the labour market restored to a traditionally bred shape, with lower levels of the kind gig project that suits co-working?
Not precisely, Gregg says. I think there is a permeating sense of caution right now that co-working is a speculative economy in a classic sense it is dependent on real estate and property value.
Indeed co-working spaces have become an attractive selection for landlords, real estate agents and other firms looking to fill floorspace as traditionally bred renters, such as retailers, close down. US figures indicate co-working may account for as much as 2% of the agency market by 2020.
But for those who can wait out the job market changes, Gregg thinks they will have developed something of long term, resilient value with the co-working space as the centre of a useful network that would not otherwise have been available.
In fact, the researchers belief co-working could be a glimpse into a more positive future. They write, A more simply future of project may have less to do with labour hours, the creation of welfare programs or the opening of resources and more to do with hospitality: with whom, through what intends, and in which environs we associate and affiliate with fellow workers.
As attractive as this idea is, it could only work if it was underpinned with more formal means of security, something like a universal basic income. If co-working is to be anything more than a temporary response to precarity, dont we need adequate nation welfare the measures put in place?
Absolutely we do, Gregg says. But the nation manifests differently in context and it is hard to see how this works in Trumps America, for instance.
Still, I like to think of co-working in terms of what philosopher Peter Sloterdijk calls co-immunity making shared bubbles of protection that allow people the space to conduct the practices that help them realise their potential.
Nonetheless, she notes, I dont pretend that co-working is suitable for all kinds of workers. Some freelancers point out that the spaces can be noisy and hard to work in. Anis Qizilbash, who runs a sales training business, did several six-month stints but isnt keen to continue. I felt uncomfortable and it was hard to concentrate. Often there would be music playing and, being an introvert, I disliked the open-plan workspace.
There is not escaping the fact that the nature of work is changing, nonetheless, so its worth espousing the positive aspects of that change. What constitutes a chore is greater neatly bind by the idea of a career, the nine-to-five, of 40-hour weeks and four-weeks holiday leave, and nor should it be.
Flexibility that empowers workers as opposes this sort of flexibility imposed from above by employers should be welcomed and co-working spaces may enable that sort of change. It could be the testing ground for an entirely reimagined notion of employment.
Co-working, Gregg says, may well be the millennials MBA.