Co-working isn’t just for startups

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From Matt Giffune
Assistant Vice President
Jones Lang LaSalle

This post also appears on Matt’s personal blog http://mattgiffune.wordpress.com/.

Co-working is awesome. It’s the most natural working environment that exists.

If you think about it, we as Americans begin co-working as soon as we are put into a classroom environment – usually at preschool or kindergarten. We report to a classroom, sit at a desk, participate in experiments, projects, and games with our peers. We compete, collaborate, and discover new things via our interactions with others. It seems so obvious that we would do this as adults.

The only population in the business world that seems to embrace this concept of work, however, is the startup. Why is this? Perhaps it’s because entrepreneurs feed off each other. Maybe it’s because they dislike the traditional notion of the office,. Or it could be because they rely heavily on the advice of others. Whatever it is, I think they have it right. 

More businesses should invest in co-working as a growth strategy. In the commercial real estate world, it is easy to fall into the pattern of reporting to the office, checking in with a few teammates, then heading to your cubicle to knock a few things off the to-do list or make cold calls. 

True growth in business is the result of new ideas, going against the grain, and stepping into the unknown. How are you going to do this if you are a consultant and hang out with other consultants all day? Or if you are a copier salesman and you follow the same trail through your territory every day. Don’t you want to ask yourself what else you can be doing, or ask others what they do differently than you? This happens all the time in co-working space. That’s why it fosters innovation.

If I ran a professional service business like a real estate firm, a financial advisory firm or law practice, I would clear out my extra office space, fill it with desks, and invite other businesses to use it as co-working space. With no strings attached and no expectations. There would be a huge payoff. Relationships would grow, ideas would be exchanged, and business would happen. It doesn’t have to be just for startups.

Do you know of any big companies using their space for coworking? Do you co-work at another company’s office?

-Matt

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