By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
Businesses with remote employees, contract workers, or traveling team members are likely familiar with coworking spaces. Coworking memberships are now one of reimbursable items for many companies. And, as more companies are willing to pay for them, the economic impact of coworking continues to grow.
In an economic sense, coworking spaces are much more than a collection of hot desks. Coworking spaces are businesses in and of themselves, with direct ties to the local community, area professionals, and ultimately, the companies reimbursing employee memberships. These connections make coworking an important driver of local economies. Every coworking membership impacts the surrounding community by:
1. Supporting the local workforce
First among coworking benefits is support for the local workforce. Because they’re open to anyone, coworking facilities support remote workers from all backgrounds—the budding freelancer, the hardworking gigger, the part-time office worker, and anyone else doing work outside of a traditional office. Economically speaking, giving people a place to work bolsters local employment.
2. Assisting the mobile workforce
The economic impact of coworking extends beyond workers in the local economy. It’s also valuable to anyone visiting the area—a CEO from an out-of-state company in town for a meeting or a young professional in town for a job interview. Anyone temporarily in the area who needs a place to work stands to benefit from coworking. And when visitors use coworking spaces, they’re likely spending money at local restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. Coworking supports professionals far from home, making the city they’re in seem even more accommodating and welcoming.
3. Bolstering local small business
The ripple effect of spending money is another reason why coworking space is important. Not only are people paying for space, they’re also putting themselves in a position to spend money at nearby businesses. A cup of coffee on the way to the coworking space. A sub sandwich for lunch. An umbrella from the corner bodega. Any money spent before, during, and after time at a coworking space is money they wouldn’t have spent if they stayed home to work.
4. Connecting area professionals
Economy grinds forward on the gears of every new business transaction. One of the best ways to get business done is to put people in the same room and let the deals make themselves. That’s exactly what coworking does. A graphic designer and a copywriter can come together on a big project for a third-party client. A business consultant may meet with a new startup to advise them on their investor pitch. Coworking connects professionals to expand their capabilities, resulting in more business for more customers. It translates into positive economic growth.
5. Improving community relationships
Coworking spaces double as meeting areas. After hours, a coworking space might become the venue for a professional mixer or a nonprofit board meeting. On the weekend, it might host a fundraising event. The flexibility of coworking spaces make them valuable community assets. Local entities can do more and engage more, which has positive effects on the economy.
6. Aiding local startups
One particular group riding the tails of the coworking movement is the startup community. They benefit from the low-cost, flexible nature of coworking. And, because they’re enabled to succeed in their infancy, these companies also deliver a positive return. Coworking allows them to grow and flourish, and when they do, they bring new dollars, new employment, and opportunities to the local economy.
7. Coworking is more than a desking solution
Coworking is about desks in the same way a grocery store is about food. Sure, that’s the main product offered, but the ramifications of that business and its products reach far into the surrounding community.
People shop at the local grocery store to feed their families. They get to know their local cashiers as members of their community. These same people go to a local coworking space and support that business as they work to support themselves. They meet other working professionals, friends and neighbors in different careers, sharing the same space. Regardless of whether they’re passing each other at the grocery store or sitting one desk over in a coworking space, the benefit is clear—business is one of the pillars of a strong community.
As the number of working spaces around the world continues to grow, so will the economies and communities they support. Giving people a place to work means giving them a reason to engage with their community—whether that’s spending money at a local business or networking with a nearby professional.
Keep reading: Who Uses Coworking Spaces?