The concept of coworking has become a much bandied about topic in recent years. Originally deemed a phenomenon closely allied to the tech community, it has evolved into a much more well-rounded option for those who have need of an office setting. This is especially true for those without the desire to spend thousands of their hard-earned dollars on a dedicated office that may sit empty for periods of time.
The Two Goals Of Coworking: Doing Business & Social Interaction
In our experience, the first goal of our clients is to have a dedicated space in which to accomplish their work without spending a ridiculous amount of money on unnecessary real estate. But, there is a secondary effect we’ve witnessed: for those who ply their careers in solitude, far apart from the rest of their company and even their clients, there is a basic need for social interaction. This doesn’t mean you’ll be disturbed by overly-jocular office mates when you’re trying to get work done, but it does mean you don’t have to live and work in one space with limited social opportunities.
“Platform Coworking Chicago originally grew out of a need for basic social interaction, just seeing other people,” says CEO Jeff Park. “You’re in a city with all these people but you can feel like you’re the last person alive. In my work, my interactions were all with disembodied voices or through email and it could go weeks like that. For my own sanity, I knew I could be more productive with a regular work schedule and interacting with fellow professionals.”
Though we like hanging out at the local coffee shop as much as the next person, we find that the majority of our clients were working in the home prior to coworking. There are multiple ways to work with us, from private offices to communal workspaces. Realizing that privacy is key based off our own research and long-term observations, we make sure our clients working out in the open have privacy options, like private phone booths, by-the-hour meeting rooms and such. We also ensure that basic office needs are met, including fast Internet access and office machinery that we all need now and then.
Finding A Life/Work Balance
In the end, though, what we offer at Platform Coworking Chicago is more than space to work, it’s an answer to the disconnected lives some of us are forced to lead these days. It’s a fine line to tread and something we take seriously. “People want to get out of the house and see other people at times, it’s as simple as that,” says Park. “They don’t always need to have in-depth conversations with each other, but being around other like-minded people goes back to basic social needs, to escape the solitude and isolation of working from home.
“You don’t want to build dehumanizing cubicle farms, but you need some kind of separation when you need to concentrate and get things done. Our spaces are set up so that our clients are free to seriously concentrate and get work done, but when they feel the need to surface and give their brain a rest, we have the amenities and fellow human beings for them to do so,” says Park. “It’s how we like to work and we feel the diversity of our clients speaks for itself. We’re not a tech incubator with an agenda. We’re geared towards established professionals seeking a new type of work and social environment that, until recently, simply wasn’t available.”
We’ll be exploring the many facets of the coworking concept in future posts, looking back at our history and toward the future. What we do is more of a reaction to the changing tectonics of society rather than an innovation. It was born out of personal need, molded into its present form through professional necessity, and we look forward to sharing our thoughts and ideas with you—and our space. In the end, we’re really a communal, neighborhood-driven space in which people from all walks of life come together to grow as people. And, in the end, this is what’s driving the coworking movement: people.