Remember that time you instantly “clicked” with a new acquaintance? Or watched a group of kids come together to play, their individual freneticism glomming together in a bundle of activity?
That’s the magic of working together. Relationships develop, connections deepen, and energies multiply. Sometimes it’s like fireworks. Other times, more like underlying currents that merge into a river of forward momentum. This happens with high functioning teams, in productive meetings, and at the best events.
Even for extreme introverts who rely on alone time for recharging, coming together is a powerful force. And coworking is evidence of that.
Years before a pandemic challenged how we work together, coworking spaces started popping up as a third alternative to traditional or home offices. With 1990’s hackerspaces planting the seeds, coworking officially became a thing in 2005, as explained in coworking site Deskmag.
“2005: The official first ‘coworking space‘ has opened its door in San Francisco on August 9 by the programmer Brad Neuberg as reaction to ‘unsocial’ business centers and the unproductive worklife at a homeoffice.“
By 2017, 1.18 million people in the world had adopted coworking, including 542,000 in the U.S., which is expected to double by next year. And, no wonder. The list of reported benefits ranges from engagement (84% said they were more engaged and motivated when coworking), to networking (82% said coworking has expanded their professional networks). Arguably the most significant results are related to coworkers’ mental health: 89% reported they are happier, 83% reported they are less lonely, and 78% reported that coworking helps keep them sane.
These findings are similar to recent data from my own community. After three months of membership in Thea by Thrive℠, 90% of respondents found the experience contributed to their need for meaningful connection with others. And 70% said that Thea had positively contributed to their quality of life at work and beyond. The big difference is that this community is virtual.
And this is why I’m focusing on coworking at a time when co[anything] remains challenged and changing. Because, by borrowing some of coworking’s structured independence and sense of community, we can harness the magic of working together–even if we’re physically apart.
There’s more to come. . . .