What we say "coworking", most people first think about freelancers, entrepreneurs, startups and tech organizations. It is true that some of the first flex workspaces were hackerspaces. Brad Neuberg coined the word coworking in 2005 to mean freelancers and other entrepreneurs coming together in flexible communities.
As the coworking trend has grown, more and more people are recognizing the benefits of coworking and striving to take advantage of what it offers. Even enterprise companies are leasing sections and whole buildings from coworking companies to take advantage of what they offer. Some of these companies include:
From this list, it looks like only tech companies are jumping on the trend. In truth, professionals in all sorts of different fields are finding benefits in flex offices that are tweaked to meet their unique needs. In all theses cases, success lies in specialization.
Mental Health Professionals
At SonderCenters, health professionals in various forms get the benefits of working in a professional environment without the extra cost and hassle of starting or joining a practice. Some of the professionals who enjoy working as individually-licensed practitioners at SonderCenters include, mental health therapists, massage therapists, physical therapists, nurses, doctors, dietitians and more.
SonderCenters allows those who have their training in medical and health-related fields to focus on their strengths, rather than on certain administrative and real estate operations. Aside from building a professional network that is great for referring clients to other specialists, locations also provide various profession-specific benefits. Some of these include:
- Comfortable, professional waiting areas
- Offices with noise-dampening features to ensure confidentiality
- Visitor check-in kiosk for patients and other clients
- Ample parking for clients and providers
Flex offices for lawyers is hardly a new idea, but a new generation of coworking locations are working to take it to the next level.
Law Firm Suites understands that lawyers make their money through billable hours. If an attorney is spending time on administrative tasks - like paying the cleaning staff, dealing with the phone or internet or talking to the salespeople who walk through the door – then the attorney is NOT meeting with clients or working on casework. They employ staff who will deal with all these necessary tasks. To top it off, they are trained in attorney ethics, making them even more qualified to do the work required.
An even more unique feature is their referral network. Because coworking puts such an emphasis on building community, referrals are a natural outgrowth. Law Firm Suites chooses to be intentional in leveraging that community by working to ensure that members will both give and receive referrals. Their environment has been designed to promote member success and encourage good referring behavior. Of course, being surrounded with a community of peers makes it easier to ask advice, co-counsel, and gather data.
Artists & Creatives
Artists, particularly those in the performing arts, benefit greatly from collaborating and sharing with peers. At New York City's The Artist Coop, founder Rachel Berger was determined that artists in New York would find everything they needed in one space. Instead of running all over town for desk workspace and rehearsal space, she put together a location with both.
In the same vein, denhack – as in Denver hackerspace – provides a location full of power tools. This nonprofit organization allows members to show up and create everything from art, to gadgets, to full-scale machines. They can work together, grow together and build together. Special events include training on the equipment, computer coding days and more.
As with all coworking spaces, both denhack and The Artist Coop naturally and intentionally work to create communities of individuals who can offer their skills in collaboration with fellow members.
Summary - Coworking Has Advantages for Everyone
When all is said and done, many different professions can benefit from coworking. These flex workspaces have several benefits in common, in spite of the very different clientele they serve.
- Community: By engaging and tapping into a community of like-minded peers, members enjoy the expertise, camaraderie, and the referrals of those around them.
- Unique Resources: Whether it is the type of space (from law libraries to rehearsal studios) or the coworking events planned specifically for their members needs, flex office communities have the ability to offer distinct advantages.
- Cost-cutting and sharing: Whatever profession a person is in, getting started is expensive. Real estate, internet, furniture, office equipment – all these things add up to a lot of money. With coworking’s flexibility and staff to take on the details, the costs are shared among all the members, making everyone’s burden far less.