New research finds that sharing an informal office space can lead to increased creativity and self-confidence, among other benefits.
People who use coworking spaces are likely to describe their “office” experiences as fun, friendly, creative, inspiring, productive, flexible, social, and collaborative, according to Deskmag’s third annual Global Coworking Survey 2012.
We’re selling the fact that you can work at the Affinity Lab and feel confident that you don’t have to know everything because you work among really talented, really smart, really friendly people.
Coworking may also lead to more self-confidence, the survey found. Almost 90 percent of the 1,206 respondents to the online questionnaire reported increased confidence when working in a coworking space, compared to a traditional office setting.
These benefits aside, the survey shines a light on the growing trend of coworking—in both the number of coworking spaces and the number of workers using them—around the world.
In North America, for example, the average number of coworking spaces increased by 165 percent from October 2010 to October 2012, and in Europe, these workspaces increased by 271 percent over the same period. The largest increases were in Asia, up by 576 percent, and Australia, which saw a 555 percent increase.
More than nine in 10 operators of coworking spaces predicted an increase in the number of members this year.
Why are so many people choosing to work in these spaces? Most likely because of the social aspects. When asked why they chose a particular coworking space, 66 percent of respondents cited the “social or enjoyable atmosphere,” 62 percent said “a community,” and 57 percent said “interaction with others.”
More than half of survey respondents also said they often share knowledge and advice with fellow coworkers—a side effect familiar to Affinity Labs, a shared working community in Washington, DC.
“What we’re selling is people,” Laurin Hodge, an Affinity Labs lab manager, told Associations Now. “We’re selling culture. We’re selling the fact that you can work at the Affinity Lab and feel confident that you don’t have to know everything because you work among really talented, really smart, really friendly people.”
Have you ever tried coworking? What are the pros and cons? Tell us in the comments.