Coworking is a growing phenomenon across much of the world that has been revolutionizing the concept of workspace and management.
However, not everyone is convinced of the importance, sustainability, and longevity of coworking. Is this a fad that will dissipate over time, or is coworking here to stay, grow, and continue to transform work, office life, and even specific industries? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, the obstacles need to be addressed to continue moving forward.
Lack of understanding
Coworking is quickly growing as its own industry, however, there remains a widespread lack of understanding about it. Some have not even heard the term before, and
Fear of competition
When entering a space, the risk of running into direct competition is high especially for some spaces that gear themselves toward specific industries. Programmers competing over the similar market or startup teams that are working on similar if not the same ideas can bring an unwanted tension in the space.
Answer: If this is a concern when entering a space, take some precautionary measures. Always be proactive in interviewing the manager of a space. Usually, they will know their workers, and have an idea about their businesses or projects. It is the mark of a good manager. If this information is not known consider shopping other spaces as it could be the sign of a bad space manager. Also, consider the possibility of working together. Maybe that places both parties in a better position to succeed.
Fear of stolen ideas
Today, the fight over intellectual property rights rages. Legal cases are fought over stolen ideas causing a distrust and overprotection. Such mentalities can hurt a coworking space, and even worse can keep people from entering one. Stories are even told about competing startups being too friendly in order to gain an upper hand. It is a real possibility, and is something that can only be addressed by the ethos of the community. Nobody wants to have their ideas taken, but such a fear should not leave black eye on the coworking industry.
Answer: Take advantage of the free trial period that any good coworking space will offer. USe this time to meet the people, ask questions about the culture and how people do business, and if there is any sense of cunning behaviors taking place within the space. If you join a space, and anything suspicious takes place, report it. It can be a community killer if allowed to progress.
Sometimes the idea of coworking leads one to think of a constant party in a space. Imagery of endless table tennis matches, foosball tables, and game consuls fill the mind.
Answer: This should not be the case. Some spaces may incorporate these features, but a strong trend exists in really defining the design of the space to best suit work flow. As a recent interview from the Social Workplace Conference has noted, “a variety of spaces help to keep people motivated.” There is an element that people can be distracting, but this will depend on the type of space one is looking for, and can also be sorted through when using a free trial period.
Lack of value
The question of value can always play a large part of someone deciding to join a coworking space. It may not even be that one will not receive value, but just the unknown. Can a social work environment filled with others trying to create something similar really be of value, help grow business, create a larger network, etc. These are doubts that exist within some. The main question is, “What am I really getting out of this?”
Answer: Value can be measured differently depending on the person. For small businesses, freelancers, entrepreneurs, or startup teams the cost of the space itself will be of value when compared to renting a space. The use of equipment, meeting rooms, and additional benefits that may come with the membership only grow this value. Other factors such as the potential to network, grow a client base, and work together on projects with those in the immediate vicinity create an immeasurable value depending on the long term goals. Even larger corporations are finding value with sending their people into a coworking space by finding new talent and collaborating on projects. Each person will have to define the value they are seeking, but when locating the right space even a day pass weekly can create value for the user.
People can always find an excuse not to try something. However, as the 2015 Coworking Survey demonstrates, coworking spaces and social workplaces are a movement. Coworknig spaces are only increasing in number and at a strong rate. The best question is, “Why not try one?”
Have you worked in a coworking space? Are any of these objections legitimate? How can you work around them?