Corporate or Coworking?

Working out of a coworking space, you need to have full faith that coworking is the way to go, right? You’re eliminating the corporate world from your mind, especially if you’ve spent many years in that particular work setting. How can you not? You’re surrounded by entrepreneurs now, and working alongside professionals of all sorts. Many current coworking space owners feel excited about the industry, and say they disliked their previous corporate job in comparison. I absolutely love working out of a coworking space, but I’m going to play the devil’s advocate just a tad bit here considering the survey I put together. It initially was an attempt to bring about the negative aspects of working for a large corporate company, but perhaps it depends on the person, the title, and what the company presents to their employees. I asked a few questions to a group working for a large tech company, and to a group working for a corporate hotel.

For those that drive to work, majority said they feel rushed or anxious due to traffic in the morning, which is one definite perk of coworking spaces. You can choose how close to home you’d like to be. For those working for a prestigious corporate company (of which will remain anonymous), majority said their schedule is flexible. In terms of repetition, most agreed there is a routine, but, just like any job, each day is different. This is another great thing about coworking spaces – there are always new faces to interact with, especially with spaces that hold events and workshops for their members.

What keeps these individuals going to work is their pride in their company, and of course the amazing benefits given to them. A mother of five that was surveyed expressed that she would much rather have a position that allows her to work from home. Half agreed they feel they have a work/life balance, and half disagreed. My favorite response toward work/life balance certainly pertains to both coworking and corporate settings: “I try to discipline myself to do so. This way there is no resentment in what I do for a living. Balance in my book is key!” If you feel great about your company and put a lot of focus into your job, working in a corporate office can make you forget to make time for YOU. Conversely, working at a coworking space might distract you from making time for work because you are in a self-governing setting. Self-discipline is crucial.

Each person described their job as both an obligation and something they enjoy. Those that said they feel they make an impact with their company was dependent on the context. The volume of the group’s company I chose to ask is massive. Therefore, in terms of the company as a whole, many said they at times do feel like just a number. They do, however, feel they are an asset to their teams. Throughout conversations with coworking owners, I love hearing how people from complete different backgrounds are able to collaborate with one another. In the corporate setting, employees tend to be more fixated on who they are working with. Growth is constant and at a quicker rate in more creative departments. With the diversity coworking brings, creativity is almost forced upon you. The executive assistants I surveyed either are in the same position they began at, or got to where they are after 10+ years. One finance analyst manager even described her journey to get there as “too long.” Within the more creative side of the company, the label coordinator for the music department got to where she is in 3 ½ years. Her descriptions of her team heavily depicted diversity, creativity, and constantly meeting new people. These qualities give professionals an endless flow of ideas and motivation.

Work settings are also dependent on the company you work for. Those in hospitality (hotels specifically) may have complete different opinions than those above. Those surveyed feel as if their schedule is restricted, duties are repetitive, and there is no work/life balance. Just like those with little to no creativity in the job title itself, it takes a very long time to move toward an aspiring position. The individual determines their own happiness in their position. One explained, “I enjoy my job because I feel like I’m welcoming people into my home (that just happens to have 400 rooms).”

Through solely questioning people in corporate offices, it seems that there is no right or wrong. It is a matter of the individual and what he or she takes from her company. There are always pros and cons to any situation. Your personal goals and outlook on the workforce determines what best suits you.

By Dani Carrillo

Coworking Culture


What a great time GCUC was.. The Global Coworking Unconference Conference brought so many great conversations, energy, and people! The amount of like-minded individuals there to learn and collaborate was truly inspirational. Everyone from vets to brand new coworking spaces all came together to share ideas, which is the very root of coworking itself! People from Belgium to New Zealand gathered under one roof small enough to meet a good portion of the crowd, yet large enough to fit people from across the spectrum of the coworking world.

Steve Whittington, of Lifeworking Enterprise, shared his story of how he began. Before coworking, Whittington worked for Proctor and Gamble for twenty five years. When he moved to Chicago, he decided to try something else and witnessed people working at coffee shops struggling to try to be productive. He attended GCUC before opening his space, while actually trying to disprove the model. He gathered all the information needed, and decided to give it a go. His space is described as “professional with a touch of home.” It is hospitality focused and network friendly with 80% open space. Open for six months, Lifeworking Enterprise takes advantage of the benefits of virtual offices – the up-selling aspect, as well as the growth in the community.

Lucas Seyhun, founder of The Farm Soho, perfectly depicted those in the coworking community. He stated that the employees feel as if it is the best job they’ve had, and the best business they’ve ever built. He says, “We’re innovating how people work and that resonates into our employees.” He also shared that in Desk Mag, it was said that 25% of U.S. Employees are going to either be remote working or in coworking environments that resemble home. Another great point from Seyhun: The coworking market is young. Those working in coworking spaces are no longer in the corporate world, having the same mundane routine. They’re now part of something exciting, on their own time. Seyhun describes that his coworking space fits into the social mode of people. Instead of going to their office, they would go to The Farm for creativity and collaboration. The Farm also utilizes virtual offices for business, and is one of SphereMail’s coworking partners.

Colo intrigued me with their simple logo, forcing me to go up to the booth to see what they’re about. If you are looking for a coworking space fit for you, visit Colo. It’s practically online dating for coworking spaces. Jonah Merchant, co-founder of BizDojo and Colo, was such a pleasure to speak with. Before coworking, he had no experience in real estate or property. He worked as a freelancer for digital products and online development. Coworking had similar characteristics to a project he was working on at the time: the diverse teams, collaborative environment, and serendipity. He wanted to keep those aspects of that experience. No one was coworking in New Zealand, and so he became the first one to introduce the idea there. BizDojo is described as a friendly atmosphere known for their diversity. He wants to make the members feel like they’re part of something more than just a workspace. He explains, “We always want to have an artist sitting next to a freelancer, sitting next to a corporate person. They all interact in unusual ways. The most amazing stories have been with the most random collaborations that have come out in people you would never in a million years expect to have gelled and connected.” I definitely admired the willingness of Merchant to put New Zealand on the map. He stressed throughout our conversation how small of a country New Zealand is. Towards the end of our talk, he explains that he is trying to help New Zealand become more globally innovative. He wants to see all different sectors working effectively as a unit in order to do well as a country that is too small and too far away from everything else. He wants New Zealand to be more than just a cool place to visit.

These few examples of the conversations held at GCUC is just a taste of the diversity the coworking world contains. Each person I conversed with had a different culture, aim, and tactic. But the purpose was universal: to increase productivity in a collaborative, creative, comfortable space.

By Dani Carrillo