Coworking Values: Shared Resources

Grand Opening WorkersSharing. It’s a concept we’re all taught when we’re younger to keep things civil and value other people’s equal entitlements to whatever it may be. Unfortunately, it’s a concept we stray from as adults. Everyone has to have their own room, every member of the family has to have their own car, everyone has to have their own“thing”. What this ultimately can do is waste money and create a sense of entitlement or exclusivity.. One of the benefits you’ll find with coworking is that everyone values sharing because it’s part of what the coworking experience is all about.

At a coworking environment, everything is shared, from tangible things like coffee makers, printers, and fax machines, to abstract things like ideas. Members of a coworking space share, wait for it, space. Sharing space offers the best chance for them to make connections with others and that’s a big part of why people join coworking spaces. The most valuable asset of any coworking space is its community. People join a coworking space for a sense of community, a sense of belonging, and to share ideas more often than any other reason. James Hersick of Rocketfuel Design Company joined Cowork Frederick because he needed interaction. James tried having a studio, then working from home, then studio, then home. From James, “a coworking space provides both shared workspaces where collaborative conversations readily strike up.”

Kimba GreenKimba Green, CEO of White Lion Social and coworker since 2012, says there’s not only a willingness to share ideas and resources, but to help one another at Cowork. “We’ve become this little agency where we can reach out to each other creatively,” Kimba said. “You can just walk in and say ‘Hey, I’m having a hard time with this. Anybody have any ideas?’ and somebody will say ‘Yeah, I know how to do that.’ It’s a huge resource.”

Sharing also makes much better use of the world’s resources overall. Sustainability is a core value of the coworking community and sharing is a key part of that.

Sharing reduces waste. Think of the number of things you own at this moment that are just gathering dust in a corner of your room. Although practically everything is digital now and downloadable onto your smartphone or tablet, there’s always going to be that one thing you need a hard copy of. That one thing, however, does not justify wasting the money, space, or natural resources it takes to purchase a printer. Even if you print many things throughout the day you’ll never be in a situation where it would make sense just to pay to have your own printer instead of waiting the few moments to print whatever it is you need to print out. Reducing the amount of resources used is the most effective way to reduce waste, and in a coworking environment where resources are shared, less is wasted.

People also join coworking spaces because it saves money. Sharing a workspace complete with work areas, meeting rooms, quiet areas, a break room saves a lot of money over each individual member leasing the equivalent on their own.  A coworking environment has shared internet access, usually a far faster and more reliable than what they might have at home. Internet is important to all professionals these days, and therefore is highly valued at a coworking environment. Office supplies are also shared, which I’ve come to really appreciate ready access to lately. If you have your own office, it’s your job to keep it stocked with supplies, At Cowork Frederick, even that job is shared. Members contribute to an office supply share that all can use. If you work from a café, you may be out of luck. Who remembers to bring paperclips, staplers, thumbtacks, or paper? They’re all little things everyone seems to forget until it’s too late, but at Cowork Frederick it’s all there if you need it.2013-09 Community Room Workers 1

Then there’s the little things, “kindness acts” or “creature comforts” you might call them, that are shared. Every now and then, someone might do something kind like provide snacks for the break room or brew enough coffee for everyone at Cowork that day. It may not be something that changes the course of anyone’s life, but it’s always something everyone comes to appreciate as a perk of coworking. These things strengthen the feeling of community in a coworking environment.

Sharing is a big part of why anyone is here at Cowork Frederick. To cowork is to share. At a coworking environment not only are physical objects pooled to share such as office supplies, but thoughts and ideas are also pooled for the greater good of all involved in the coworking community. The value of sharing resources is that everyone gets exactly what they need and more.