The coworking movement has been growing since it started in 2005. It began when Brad Neuberg opened his live-work loft to a few other independents and has grown to over 800 spaces on 6 continents. Within the movement there is a wide variance of options of how to form a community, open a shared office, and organize an office.
Office Anchored by Business
Nueberg used this format at the Hat Factory in San Francisco, the orginial coworking office. A business will rent or buy a commercial space for their own personal use. As an added income maker the business will rent out extra space for other small business and independents to use. There could be private offices or individual desks that are rented out as coworking space.
The benefit to this format is the security of ensuring the bills are paid for the lease. The downside is the de-emphasis on community. It seems as though community is an afterthought. I do think this is a great opportunity for small business owners to earn extra income while also providing inexpensive office space for new businesses.
Office then Community
This option is created by first securing a commercial space, building it out, then renting out desks or offices. The benefit comes with the identity and branding of a coworking community. It creates an identifiable location and space. The downside is the difficulty in forming the community. In a need to rent out desks and space, the coworking office can become a rent-a-desk office rather than a community shared space.
Community then Office
Forming the community first then finding an office space that fits the need of the community is the final method. This can takes longer to obtaining a shared space. Groups take advantage of gathering at coffee shops, community spaces, and other business offices until the space is found.
This method is how the Loveland Coworking Community is being formed. I am using meetup.com and personal business networking to find other entreprenuers, freelancers, small business owners, and creatives. My desire for a coworking office is for it to be a community first space. It’s the people that will make the space great. It’s not the physical office, no matter how cool I would make it. Shared vision and goals as well as the ability to be social, collaborate, and teach each other will be the marks of the community. Once a group of at least ten members are ready to find a space together, I plan on creating an official coworking space to meet the needs of those members.