The Problem with Coworking

Just to prove that my mind is not automatically in a positive space, today I will tell you that the typical coworking space tends to annoy me.

My main issue with the standard coworking space is as follows: it takes many of the bad practices from the office world, and turns them into a business.

The first one of these bad habits is noise. A lot of coworking spaces either have music playing in the background, or they might have startups mixed amongst people working on their own. The startups tend to generate a lot of noise, and solo workers can also generate noise by talking on the phone. Both of these are understandable, but again, the fact that they are allowed is something that is inherited from the traditional office.

The next bad practice is, depending on the coworking space, it rewards people for sitting at the computer longer. With most day passes at $30/day, and most monthly passes starting at $300/month, people might want to spend more time in the noisy space to get their money’s worth. I once saw a coworking space which charges by the hour, but by the time I had a chance to return to it, they had closed permanently, which shows you how feasible that business model was.

My final point (since rants tend to go well in groups of three), is that coworking culture on the whole has not yet catered to new types of work. There are the anomalies, such as maker spaces, but I am interested to see if more coworking businesses can make a go at niche industries. I would like to see the coworking space that caters to the musician, not only by saying it’s a space for musicians but actually having recording studios and cool equipment on hand to use. The space for artists who want to come out and paint, but maybe don’t want to commit to a full studio lease.

I do believe there is an exception to this rule, which is that some coworking spaces are starting to operate in a handful of countries. That caters to a new type of worker who wants to travel while they run their business, which is something that if done affordably, is a true innovation in this growing industry.