Your Guide to Navigating Coworking Spaces (feat. The HUDSON Business Lounge)
Coworking is a relatively new concept, but is quickly becoming more mainstream- spaces are popping up everywhere. Coworking spaces provide a desk or private office to business professionals and entrepreneurs. Registered users are given access to professional environments, are often provided Wi-Fi, a desk, and a phone. They’re considered collaborative spaces where people are working as individuals on different projects, but can often end up assisting one another.
The term “coworking” was first coined by Bernard DeKoven to describe a phenomenon he called “working together as equals”. [Click to Tweet] DeKoven wanted to apply the collaborative techniques used in designing video games to a more traditional business setting. To his surprise, the concept of “working together as equals” was actually quite revolutionary.
The coworking movement was launched in 2005 by Brad Neuberg (part of connectionsSF, a coworking space in San Fransicso) and Chris Messina (inventor of the hashtag). The movement became one in which technology supported the collaborative work in these coworking spaces.
“The environment they created was also designed to allow coworkers to work together, as equals. But separately — each working on their own projects, pursuing their own, separate business interests. In this way, people were free to help each other without worrying about competitive pressures. And the result was productivity, community, and, surprisingly often, deeply shared fun.”
Benefits to Users
There are a multitude of benefits to working in a coworking space: work is meaningful, people are given flexibility, there is a sense of community, the environment is more relaxed, and there is space for collaboration. The benefits one derives is dependent on their personality and what is being offered at their respective space- coworking isn’t for everyone.
Work is Meaningful
The largest reason people thrive in a coworking space is they see their work as meaningful. [Click to Tweet] In most coworking spaces, people are working on vastly different projects. There is little to no competition, producing a non-threatening environment. Each individual often possesses a unique skillset. Individuals become more valuable to others in the coworking space than perhaps a traditional office environment.
Most coworking spaces allow 24-hour access. This gives business professionals and entrepreneurs a great deal of flexibility that isn’t usually available to those who work in a traditional office environment. A flexible schedule means one can come and go as necessary. They can go to the gym in the middle of the day, take a long walk to clear their head, or even take a few days off to care for family members.
Even though everyone is working on their own projects, there is a great sense of community present in coworking spaces compared to offices with one type of skill. The users create a supportive culture in which they want and help each other to succeed. This culture benefits everyone involved.
In coworking spaces, the atmosphere is far more relaxed. People going in don’t have to put on a “work persona” and don’t have to wear a suit to work. In addition to reducing stress, this relaxed atmosphere also provides for deeper, more genuine connections among peers and opens up the space for more creative work.
In a coworking space, everyone has different skills and helping each other becomes the “norm”. When people combine their unique skillsets, it allows for more productive collaboration on projects and ideas. Unique perspectives combine well with people’s experiences (everything that makes people interesting) and these can be shared to inhibit growth and new ideas.
Hudson Business Lounge
The HUDSON is a coworking space out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Located in the Historic Third Ward, the HUDSON gives an Urban blend to a professional atmosphere to enable a variety of business needs.
We recently had the opportunity to chat with the HUDSON about coworking, coworkers, and more!
Leeward Business Advisors: What is the most successful type of coworker?
HUDSON: For HUDSON in particular, an ideal coworker is one that is engaging and utilizes the community aspect of our business. Ideally, they would develop professional relationships and friendships with other members and staff. These relationships would be genuine and be the foundation that allows organic networking, client recommendations and leads. It would also allow for social interaction at the bar/cafe, for events and during member happy hours. They would see our space as their space, use it full time and not be afraid to utilize all the extras HUDSON has to offer. Though this would be a picture perfect member, for us to operate at our highest capacity, we need the part-time members and traveling members that bring the space diversity and allow us to utilize the flexibility in workspace and time commitments.
LBA: What is the unique benefit for coworkers at the HUDSON?
H: There are plenty of benefits of becoming a HUDSON member. The basics include access to a high-speed and secure Wi-Fi network, concierge services, discounts for office and meeting spaces, booking credits, access to phone and video services, and additional benefits for full-time members. Outside of these physical work-based benefits, there are also intangible benefits of being a part of the HUDSON community. Things like an in-house network, access to a variety of seminars and social events, a built-in community of supporters and ultimately the feeling of looking forward to going to work every day; such as: the flexibility of the workspace, the friendship of your coworkers, and the support of a staff that works every day to make your workplace more productive.
LBA: What is the range of types of businesses at HUSDON?
H: We have a wide variety of members here, with one thing in common — a desire to move away from traditional offices and work in a place that offers flexibility in space and time and allows for creative growth. Our members work as lawyers, sales reps, in small-team startups, marketing, recruiters, attorneys, programmers and in technology.
LBA: What role does technology play at HUDSON? What roles do other resources play for coworkers at HUDSON?
H: As the world of work continues to rapidly move toward a mobile job market, we continue to adapt our benefits to match these changing needs. Our purpose is to keep a hand on the pulse of the mobile worker and ensure that our services are in flux enough to accommodate but established enough to be structured. So technology is important here — we use it the most often in communication and presentation. We offer nearly every form of communication for conferences and meetings as well as the day-to-day technology needs for a business such as high-speed internet, printing, copying and finally, community-building.
LBA: How long do entrepreneurs stay a member/around in the HUDSON Community?
H: We have several members who have been with us since the beginning (2012) who are so ingrained in this community, they often do recruiting work for us! A lot of members came our way through existing members, new and old.
However, the great thing about a community like HUDSON is that you never really have to disconnect, even if circumstance brings you away from a membership with us. For example, we have had members that had to leave because their teams needed them back in their traditional office space. So they ended their membership with us, but remain a part of the HUDSON community by joining us for happy hour after work, meet in our partner offices for client meetings and participate in workshops and social events. So even if a member’s time here is purposefully or circumstantially limited, we pride ourselves on fostering a community that lasts and exists beyond our space.
What are your thoughts on coworking? Have you ever used a coworking space? Tweet us! @LeewardBA