According to experts, 1.7 million people are expected to be using 19,000 coworking spaces around the world by the end of 2018.
A recent study showed that Austin has 44,485 (or 8.2 percent) people working remotely, making Austin number one out of a 50-city study for workers that are telecommuting. Working from home can become a burden when faced with the lack of a community, limited face-to-face time with people and overworking. For some people, it can make your house less of a home and more of an office.
With Austin’s many shared spaces, coworking allows telecommuters to engage with their work in a more communal environment. Even the new Austin Central Library functions as a coworking space. But with the rise of more coworking spaces around the city, it’s important to know whether they are truly as beneficial to the worker as they seem. Vessel Coworking and the Central Library, along with many other coworking spaces in Austin, strive to prove the benefits of coworking such as: decreasing commute time, working in more comfortable clothes and a more flexible schedule. They also appeal to working parents by offering accommodations for children.
One pro for coworking spaces such as Vessel and Austin’s Central Library is that they appeal to working parents’ needs. The building in which Vessel is housed is currently in the midst of opening a non-profit preschool so that children will be well taken care of while parents work. The library has kid-friendly areas and hosts special events throughout the week to engage children so that working parents can genuinely focus on their projects without worrying about their children. Another pro is that coworking spaces often offer fun events for adults to enjoy if they wish to take a break from their work. Vessel offers engaging lunchtime events, such as origami, to help workers relax and build a sense of community that some hope to gain from coworking.
Another benefit to coworking is the decreased commute time. With over 20 coworking spaces in Austin, there is bound to be one within a reasonable distance. Some coworking spaces, like Vessel, even emphasize community building. Owners Beth and Steven Knapp coworked at Vessel for three years before they decided to buy the business. During that time, they found their own lawyer, marketer and photographer, so they believe in the extended network available when part of a coworking space. They also believe that coworking can be a unique gathering for creatives: writers, photographers, videographers and marketers. Beth Knapp said that Vessel was a place where “some beautiful friendships can be formed.” Whether wanting to work alone or with others, coworking allows the opportunity to build community when desired or the chance to zero in on work alone without being closed off to the world.
Whether just testing the waters or making a longer term commitment, try visiting one of the coworking spaces in Austin to see whether it’s right for you. With coworking on the rise, not just in Austin but globally, there must be some aspect of it, whether it’s the short commute, accommodations, sense of community or hope for something a bit more out of routine than staying inside the house all day, that draws so many different people to to this new work environment.