The gig economy and coworking are a natural duo. Both sit on a foundation of flexible work and have seen a meteoric rise in recent times, fueling each other’s growth.
But what does each term mean? Coworking is often used to describe a flexible workspace where members rent a desk on an irregular basis.
However, the gig economy means different things to different people. But, in essence, workers get paid for short term “gigs”. These workers are usually on zero-hour contracts and have limited employee benefits. For example, they may not get sick leave, holiday pay, or a pension plan, but compared to permanent workers, they do get a lot more flexibility.
More than one-third of U.S. workers (that’s 57 million people) are in the gig economy. By 2020, this proportion is predicted to rise to 40%. In 2018, the number of coworking spaces in the U.S. also rose by 16% with more than 5,000 spaces projected to exist by the end of 2019.
So, what’s the reason behind the growth in these two work trends?
The links between coworking and the gig economy
Coworking spaces give gig workers the flexibility to use a workspace as and when they need without any restrictive and expensive rental agreements.
That’s not all. Most coworking spaces also foster a sense of community, which is an important asset if you’re a solopreneur and miss the company of your coworkers. Research reveals 83% of people are less lonely since joining a coworking space, and 80% turn to other coworking members for help or guidance.
What’s more, coworking spaces give gig workers the perfect place to meet and network. They often help people forge important work relationships and expand their businesses. Not to mention the free tea and coffee that’s often offered, as well as a load of other amenities.
For coworking spaces, gig workers can help maximize their income by providing the bums on seats required to fill a space. In fact, JLL predicts coworking will make up 30% of all commercial real estate in the next decade.
Why the rise in coworking and the gig economy?
Technology is the great enabler of both the gig economy and coworking. Many jobs no longer require people to physically be in the office.
For example, cloud-based technologies are driving an increasingly mobile workforce where you just need to login to clock in. Plus, apps like Uber help connect gig workers to potential customers.
Simply put, without the right technologies and spaces, gig economy workers cannot find work, achieve their goals, or share their services with the world.