Coworking Impact On Local Communities
This is the third segment in a six-part series about the impact of coworking on local communities (parts 1 and 2). We continue the series with a focus on local communities by 3411 Coworking located in Chamblee, a diverse community with international flair, northeast of Atlanta.
The concept of coworking was popularized in Europe in the 1990’s as a place for people with similar skills to work together to share ideas, expenses and inspiration. Most coworking spaces were chosen in communities with centralized locations for the participating parties. Today, things have evolved to be more focused on the coworking space itself being the draw. The coworking space is a place that brings life and energy to communities. With the coworking space itself being the draw, members do not necessarily just feed from the area the space is located in. Members are willing to drive or take public transit from all over the city, if the coworking space fits their needs and style.
What does a city or neighborhood gain from coworking?
Attraction of Business
The first benefit of the coworking space is the attraction of both smaller and/or newer businesses to the community. Many times, these businesses do not have the ability to buy or lease a property in the community until they have reached a certain income level.
- Coworking offers them flexibility and affordability.
- Coworking allows businesses to establish roots in the community without much risk.
- Coworking can attract a variety of businesses that wouldn’t otherwise find space in that community if there were only traditional real estate options.
Diversity of businesses enrich the community.
Growth of Business
The second benefit is connected to the first; a community gains from a coworking space from the growth of the member businesses. Many smaller or start-up businesses have humble beginning in coworking spaces. And then, business takes off! When this happens, they might then want to look for additional office space within the city or even purchase real estate. Another benefit of this growth is more employment opportunities within nearby cities or communities. Everyone wins when a business grows.
Increased Local Revenues
A third benefit is increased revenue for the area. With more people coming to the community by way of the coworking space, more revenue is sifted into that area. Not only will members shop and dine at local businesses, but many times they will contribute to the city’s tax revenue, which leads to further growth. They also discover what the community has to offer and help to spread the word.
The sense of community that is created by the services offered is a win for both the community and the coworking space. Through social events, meeting space, and membership offerings, people can meet and connect with several businesses and neighbors around their location. Connections within the city government are a bonus and make conducting business easier. This in turn encourages people to promote all the amazing things already in the city, and to create a buzz about the things to come. Although every coworking space is unique and the places they are located vary, there is always be a symbiotic relationship between the coworking and local communities.
At the November 2020 Atlanta Coworking Alliance meeting, member spaces took this further by sharing how each engages with their local communities. This is how we support our local communities:
- Donate virtual membership/meeting space/Zoom account to local business associations
- Donate event space/meeting room to local MeetUps
- Partner with local bakeries, coffee shops, yoga studio, restaurants for member discounts (and through platforms like included.co)
- Attend local business association meetings
- Connect with local city government administration or business outreach services
- Join Economic Development (DDA)
- Contact START.ME
- Donate meeting space to SAG/Film Industry
- Donate dedicated desk membership to neighborhood association silent auctions
- Attend neighborhood association meeting and/or donate meeting location space
- Donate/host space to Sofar Sounds / Found Stages performances
- Host food & alcohol events (tastings, food trucks)
- Host open peer feedback (mastermind) sessions
- Host workshops geared to local users and community support events
- Virtual engagement events
- Blood drive (i.e. Life South)
Better yet, explore with the Atlanta Coworking Alliance passport and find the perfect coworking community for you.