By Heather McGullam
Isn’t it miraculous how the English language is constantly evolving to make room for all the new ideas that humans dream up? The dictionary defines the word “coworker” as “a person with whom one works, typically someone in a similar role or at a similar level within an organization”. We’ve all had coworkers. They have surrounded us in our professional environments. Some becoming part of the support network that helps us grow to attain our goals, some being the pains in our butt displayed by the comical relationships at the fictional Dunder-Mifflin from NBC’s “The Office”, or Mike Judge’s hilarious 1999 movie “Office-Space”.
Within the last 15 years the professional world has seen the rise of the word “coworker” in a new form. By removing the “-er” and adding “-ing” the noun becomes a verb and whole new form of the “coworker” relationship is born. Coworking (a word still so new that my spell check as I type this doesn’t recognize it!) is the idea of bringing professionals from all different backgrounds together to work in one shared space. It creates an “office-type” environment without the restrictions of departments, and pushes the boundaries of the typical coworker relationship by allowing people with different work-experiences to connect. Most commonly coworking professionals are creatives, or entrepreneurs, but one of the best things about the idea of coworking is it doesn’t limit the type of professional that can benefit from participation.
10 years ago my mother, who has been employed in the oil & gas industry for 30 years, began “tele-commuting” from home. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Working from HOME??? Calling in to those endless meetings without having to get out of my PJ’s? I was sold. I didn’t realize at the time how many professionals that are charged with tele-commuting struggle with finding the appropriate work/life balance. From those that find it difficult to tune out the distractions at home, to those that simply cannot log-off to end the workday and enjoy being at home again- working from home isn’t for everyone! However, as Houston and the surrounding metro area continue to grow, we are all familiar with just how difficult it can be to get into the office that is thirty miles from your neighborhood. Coworking spaces, like the one at The Hive Katy, establishes a balance for those professionals that don’t have to travel into the main office everyday but still need a dedicated place outside the home in order to accomplish their job duties.
We’ve all participated in a coworking environment at some level. Checking your work email in a crowded coffee shop. Searching for the tell-tale “WiFi Here” signs in airports, libraries, and other public places. As the internet has become more universally accessible employees are able to login to work from virtually anywhere!
What about you? Is coworking the right solution for you in your professional career? Are you interested in exploring coworking options for your business?