Say goodbye to the worn out 9-to-5 cattle barn of work cubicles. A new movement of alternative workspaces is beginning to take hold across the United States, especially in San Francisco. The number of telecommuters, a.k.a. remote and home worker types, are rapidly growing with the technology age. According to the Global Workplace Analytics, around 25 million people in the United States telecommute. Our perceptions of how, when, and where we work are becoming unhinged by an emerging community of remote workers through what is called coworking.
Coworking is where the remote worker or self-employed can work in a shared working environment with similar professionals without being tied down by high rent or hovering landlords. Lets face it, working from home is convenient, but when your keyboard turns into a magnet for your cat and you contact clients in your pajama onesie, a more professional, productive environment can occasionally be helpful.
In a city like San Francisco, driven by tech and start-ups, co-working spaces are becoming the standard model. With the city’s limited space and skyrocketing rent prices, shared professional workspaces have become invaluable. Not only does coworking provide affordable and accessible workspace, it cultivates community and networking amongst professionals. Companies like Sandbox Suites provide shared, full-service workspaces and meeting rooms for independent and remote workers in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Membership is similar to a gym or car-sharing program. Other programs across the U.S. offer spaces by the hour. The cost is similar to that of a latte without the noise of grinders and caffeinated customers.
Workspaces are designed to prompt inspiration through the direct interaction between people. Architecturally, these spaces are inspired by a think-tank concept. This means open studio based floor plans, shared tables, glass conference rooms, and community spaces. Interaction with professionals working across the table from you could spark your next big business plan and provide useful networking connections in a supportive community setting.
In a time defined by technology, it can feel as though we are leading physically disconnected lives. The age of physical proximity to your place of work is beginning to fade with the emergence of the placeless worker. Instead of people flocking to city centers of crowded cubicles, they will be walking to the nearest shared workspace on their own watch. Through coworking, remote workers can escape the confines of online world and their couch, bringing a sense of physicality and human connectivity back into their work.
Could these shared workspaces be the new forefront in redefining our notions of city center and work place? Are similar coworking systems utilized in your city?
Credits: Images by Lauren Golightly. Data linked to sources.