Coworking spaces are well known for building strong communities inside their walls. However, these flexible workspaces can also impact their wider community.
The local economy often benefits from a coworking space. Without them, many suburbs and mid-sized urban areas would shrink as workers move closer to their offices or are forced to make a lengthy commute.
Either way, workers might move out of town permanently or on a regular basis without a nearby coworking space. So, coworking helps people (and their families) stay in town where they can support the local economy.
Coworking spaces also retain local talent, helping small businesses succeed and stay, bringing work opportunities to the community.
The relationship between coworking spaces and local businesses is often highly collaborative. For example, coworking spaces can enter into mutually beneficial partnerships with local businesses that can provide them with core services or amenities – like those lovely free donuts in the kitchen or a kick-ass lunch and learn session.
Coworking in the community
Some coworking spaces are taking things one step further and actively work within their wider communities. Here are a handful of inspirational examples:
All Good Work – across the US
All Good Work operates a number of coworking spaces in the US. Under the scheme, coworking spaces donate unused desks and space to deserving organizations with a social impact.
The business model is pretty simple. A workspace offers some seats for participants in the All Good Work program, a social impact organization applies for a space in their area, then All Good Work reviews the application and connects worthy causes with a donated space.
The BEAHIVE – New York
BEAHIVE is based in the Hudson Valley and embraces coworking and “localism” according to the space’s website, which states: “Localism is ultimately about building communities that are healthy, equitable and regenerative — backed by local economies that are stronger and more resilient.”
In other words, it’s a commitment to buy local and support the local economy. The space also gives residents a place to interact and brings together businesses and community leaders to push for real change on a local level.
CO+HOOTS – Phoenix
CO+HOOTS has a strong focus on entrepreneurial spirit and social responsibility. This local-minded space also owns the nonprofit the CO+HOOTS Foundation, which “works to provide equity through entrepreneurship” in the Arizona region.
The space also runs an Inclusion Initiative “that invites diversity-promoting nonprofits to partner with CO+HOOTS to nurture diversity in thought and in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
The Coven – Minneapolis
This coworking space for women, non-binary-identified, and transgender people gives one in every five of its memberships away to low-income or otherwise marginalized individuals.
The Coven recently raised more the $200,000 on a crowdfunding platform for women-owned businesses. It also has established partnerships with local and national women-led organizations, providing further benefits and discounts to members.
The Pacific Workplaces – across the US east bay
The Pacific Workplaces East Bay community, which includes workspaces in Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, and Oakland, hosts food drives every year. Last year, it provided 3,300 meals to local communities. The spaces also collect donations with volunteers helping distribute items from the company’s food bank.