Where do you like to work? Do you thrive in a creative, relaxed, high-end and concentration-enhancing professional community within a tech hub with tons of amenities? Do you do your best work in a place that fulfills your personal needs so you aren’t sidelined by a time-consuming trip to seek out a brief mid-day meal — unless that’s what you need? Do you crave comfortable, friendly, and collaborative relationships with others working around you that motivate you to reach higher goals?
When you are a freelancer, contract worker or remote worker, you often have the privilege of working where you wish. If you choose to work at home, are you focused enough to be productive long term, or are there too many distractions (such as three barking and laptop-nudging pups)? Do you sit on your couch or in your small home office longing for a professional community? Are you an introvert who occasionally needs the motivation of an energetic and collaborative atmosphere to be more efficient and productive?
Are you more focused when surrounded by like minded, industrious people? What if that atmosphere comes without competition or pressure to ‘climb the ladder’ as in a traditional corporate atmosphere?
Like many of today’s freelancers, contract, or remote workers, you may work at home, in coffee shops, or libraries. Have you ever thought about setting up shop in a coworking space?
Even though the term may be easy to understand just by its structure, coworking is a revolution in today’s business world. According to (lexico.com) coworking is ‘The use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge.’
Add cutting-edge architecture, soothing decor, refreshments, coworking events, podcast rooms, conference rooms, amazing community managers and mail service — and you have a good feel for the benefits of working at Gather.
A coworking space helps workers focus on work. It discourages home-based habits of sleeping in, cleaning up to avoid difficult work or streaming the latest Netflix series), and you can avoid having to tune out the tables around you at coffee shops with distracting conversation floating around you and gusts of wind from frequent customers coming and going.
According to a 2018 NPR Marist Poll, “Within a decade, contractors and freelancers could make up half of the American workforce.” By 2022, the number of coworking spaces is expected to reach 49,500, compared to just 26,000 in 2017. This growth is happening for a reason.
Working in a Community of Interest versus a Community of Practice
Working in a community of support happens in a number of organic and functional ways. Two high-level categories of community building are based on a common interest or a common practice.
Communities of interest are made up of like minded people working in the same area of work who come together to facilitate their efforts and learn from each other. This mode of community is usually lead from the top down with a more narrow organizational structure. These communities tend to be tightly bonded with structured longevity.
When employees are interested in their work, they devote attention to a shared goal. It is part of their corporate culture — something they share a concern and passion for that brings them into community. Their “product” consumes their attention and requires them to work together to produce positive outcomes. This common goal bonds a community of interest in a necessary and beneficial way.
Communities of practice are “flip-side” structures built on a commonality of practice or the way individuals work to achieve individualized outcomes. In other words, this type of community is made up of members working in a shared space, but not toward the same goals. At any given time, you may have a writer, real estate salesman, financial advisor, productivity consultant, human services worker or venture capitalist working together. This adds a level of curiosity and assurance that there are others out there working as intently as you are to achieve your desired end product.
The collaborative environment in this type of community builds mutually beneficial relationships. There is an innate lack of competition. No one is taking a bite out of the market you are going after. Fellow coworkers in a space like Gather can provide insight into their field of work that can benefit a peer’s work efforts. Relationships between fellow practitioners build more slowly than in a community of interest, but tend to be tighter and longer lasting.
Coworking spaces like Gather optimize connection and collaboration with other coworkers — this is intrinsic to building a supportive coworking community. Coworkers, especially those new to the concept, are excited about a new professional environment and appreciative of the connected community that is naturally built in the space. Sharing ideas, garnering strategic contacts and learning how others are working can facilitate your career goals.
Communities of practice motivate their members to exponentially improve their own efforts when they see a fellow coworker make strides toward their goals in a completely different construct. Your success, when shared with a fellow coworker, can inspire them to try something similar, but tailored to their end goal.
This environment also affords you, as a member of a coworking group, the ease of crossing the aisle and collaborating with someone in a completely different industry. Organic meet ups such as a networking event offered by a fellow coworker (where you can casually chat with and learn from others outside your coworking community) can be beneficial to your own field of work. The experience amps up even further when members invite their contacts to another member’s event.
Of course, coworking at Gather can offer the opportunity of a community of interest to belong to as well. Multi-person private offices and suites of offices with their own gathering spaces can bring an entire small corporation together working on the same product or service. You may find that these communities of interest benefit from the opportunity to connect with workers in diverse industries and gain inspiration for a different way of accomplishing their goals.
Coworking offers you the opportunity for authentic collaboration. At Gather, members connect organically, and work together to foster a community that’s built on support and inspiration.