“We're better together.”
We say that a lot at The Creative Collective when we talk about the WHY behind coworking. But what does it really mean to be “better together”? And how did those two words come to represent the philosophy of the hundreds of coworking space that have popped up across the country in the last decade?
As an introvert, one of the things I loved about working from my home office was that, quite frankly, I didn’t have to see anyone. A detailed email to my supervisor? So much easier than an actual conversation. A conference call during which I could participate in my sweaty gym clothes? Perfect. Yes, it got lonesome and I will admit to spending way too much time talking to my cat and dusting the same spot 14 times, but ultimately working from home seemed an introverted writer’s dream.
During the seven years of working solo from my home office, I was productive. I maintained several large contracts and drew energy and inspiration from the books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs I devoured while sitting alone. However, I often craved having a living and breathing person to quickly bounce an idea off of, or someone I could look up from my desk and ask whether or not a paragraph I’d written made sense.
When I moved out of my home office to The Creative Collective, my productivity began to grow. Ultimately, I craved a clearer separation from my work life and my home life and believed that creating a physical separation and a 10-minute drive could deliver that. (It has.) What I didn’t anticipate was that I got more work done from my desk in the coworking space because I could draw from the productive energy of others working. Hearing a coworker tap-tap-tapping at their keyboard inspires me to do the same. Overhearing someone else pitch a new idea on the phone opens my mind to new possibilities. I now have access to a host of professions in different industries that offer advice, ideas, constructive criticism, or reassurance when I need it. I’ve since hired coworkers to enhance my work and, as a result of a wider network, I’ve been hired to edit copy in industries I wouldn’t even know exist if I were still sitting at the desk in my spare bedroom.
My experience aligns with the hundreds of professionals who use coworking spaces that were surveyed by Forbes and the Department of Labor Statistics last year. 50 percent of those surveyed reported higher incomes, 68 percent reported they were better able to focus while coworking, and 70 percent said they felt healthier. These all ring 100 percent true for me.
I'm an introvert thriving in a coworking space. Like never before I understand a basic social principle: We're better together.
Leslie Klipsch is a writer and editor. She manages communications for Empower Tanzania, an NGO working in rural Tanzania, podcasts at Mama Bear Dares, and will release her first book, Mama Bear's Manifesto, this fall. She is co-owner of The Creative Collective. Find samples of her work and pictures of her adorable children HERE.