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What is Coworking?

We’ve been at this so long it can be important to remember that for many, coworking is a new concept. Here’s a quick what, why, who and more on the coworking spaces and the coworking movement.

Coworking at a Glance

Simply put, coworking spaces are shared workspaces where individuals and teams can work.

Logistically and financially for many people, coworking just makes sense. A great place for work, often in a great location. Thoughtful design choices to maximize inspiration and productivity. And people all around you to connect, network and maybe do business with. It’s the benefits of your own office space, but only when you want it and maintained by someone else!

What started in the early 2000s in the Bay Area has become a global movement. Over 10,000 spaces were expected to be opened and half a million people coworking by the end of 2016. That’s a lot of people looking for alternative ways to work!

WorkHouse in NYC

A Belief in Better Together

Many spaces and space owners also ascribe to a larger philosophies of the Coworking Movement, leveraging a Big C for Coworking vs coworking. Open Coworking is a non-profit focused on maintaining the intentional core values of Coworking: Community, Openness, Collaboration, Accessibility, and Sustainability. It’s a resource chock full of other resources if you are curious about the origin story and guiding principles that got coworking where it is today.

Sure, some spaces are more about keeping costs down and filling desks. But in general, it takes a communal mindset and shared belief in everyone being cool to make a coworking space a success.

What Will You Find in a Coworking Space?

Unlike cookie cutter cubicles or lifeless corporate spaces, the interiors and amenities of each space differs. The build out based on the building or history, give every coworking spot a unique vibe. Some offer bike or car parking.

Many, though, have some combination of the following: WiFi, kitchens, private offices, conference rooms, open desks, communal zones, places to go head-down, social spots, outdoor areas and a central home for business tools can often be found. And, yes, many offer free coffee.

Second Shift in Chicago, IL

Who Uses Coworking Spaces?

Anyone who has works at home, independent creatives or contractors, remote workers, digital nomads, startups, consultants, small teams, any number of kinds of people benefit from coworking.

Some coworking spaces are built to serve a particular community. Amongst space you can book on Deskpass, 2112 Inc, for example, is a music industry space. They still throw open their doors to us tone-deaf workers but offer programming and networking opportunities that. Brooklyn Boulders features a climbing gym and a fitness focus. Take A Break Playcare offers childcare for working parents, in the coworking space no less. The Bronzeville Incubator is part of the Bronzeville Cookin’ Initiative, bringing culinary awesomeness to the neighborhood. Whether those are your industries or not, you can cowork there and get inspired by all the good stuff happening around you.

What’s Deskpass Got to Do With It?

Why do we know coworking so well? Well, Deskpass is rooted in the experiences of Chicago’s first dedicated coworking space. The Coop was founded in 2009 in River North. Owners Sam Rosen and Pat Griffin learned the ins and outs of running a space and the challenges for space managers. They built Desktime, a coworking booking and management software, that included one of the largest directories of spaces around the world.

The Coop eventually became NextSpace River North (bookable on Deskpass!) and Desktime evolved into Deskpass, a flexible, affordable coworking membership. Many spaces require memberships to just their space. Deskpass empowers you to work at any of the spaces in our growing network of cities. With no commitment and several plan options, it lets you sample spaces and pick the perfect place to work each and every day, depending on your needs.

And, as we always say, happy coworking!

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