My friend Kristen tipped me off to an innovated concept called co-working

Seems like a normal, trendy small business right? Well that would be so, but the individuals working “together” are from a variety of occupation and vocations. This area, reminiscent of a coffeehouse, acts as a sort of community working area. There is a board room, offices desks etc.  Co-working essentially provides office space for workers who would otherwise be without a place to work.

As soon as I saw this idea I loved the possibilities.  I can see it being beneficial for adjunct professors, writers, consultants, photographers, artists, small business owners etc.  As a higher education professional, I think I would seek to form a relationship between a co-working space and the adjuncts at my institution.  One of the most frustrating aspects of an adjunct professor’s job is the lack of any office space. Perhaps a combination of shared office space and co-working could ease the stress of their job.

Part of me thinks, “coffeehouses are great places to work, right?”  But it is easy to be distracted by noisy teenagers, cell phone talkers or simply those people with whom you have wonderful conversations. Although there is a joy in the unpredictability of a coffeehouse it doesn’t help individuals finish their work, which is not  pleasing to publishers, editors, clients, deans, and others who have deadlines. This co-working idea, is something in between the chaotic coffeehouse and the sterile office space.

One of the most promising things about this is the potential to renovate older or abandoned buildings. Many of these co-housing networks are in urban space that has not been filled.  But co-working is very flexible, it can be in a suburban strip mall, small town downtown, or  urban center. It gives the opportunity to “re”new instead of” build” new.

Another possible benefit it the cultivation of a creative class within a region, city, community or neighborhood. It has been cited that artists, writers, musicians and such are an impetus towards a vibrant community. Perhaps these spaces will welcome creative people to a community.

I would love to see some of these pop up in Huntington or Fort Wayne. If I had time and/or money I would jump on it. I already have several ideas of where it could happen.  Hopefully someone with money and time finds this idea useful.

Take a listen to this NPR story if you want to hear about a group in NY that decided combine office space

  1. OurSpace, LLC is a coworking facility in downtown Fort Wayne. If you would ever like to see the space, let me know. I would love for the community to grow!

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