Shared office spaces are revolutionizing the way we work, transforming buildings into social networks.
Maybe it's the free cups of cold-brew coffee. Or the organic snacks. Or the communal kitchen. Or the lazy hammocks lounging in the low light of the quiet room.
From the minute you walk into WeWork and are greeted by the serious-smiling receptionist at the front desk, it's apparent that this is far more than a shared working space.
It's a community where freelancers, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, small businesses, and startups trade ideas, make connections, socialize, share lunch, and yes, even work together.
The collegial atmosphere is no accident. When Adam Neumann, who grew up on a kibbutz in Israel, and Miguel McKelvey, who was raised on a collective in Oregon, opened their first WeWork in New York City in 2010, they targeted the so-called We Generation, putting the We before the Work.
Joe Markert, an assistant professor in marketing at Rutgers Business School, says the influence of co-working, which syncs with ride-sharing in our e-commerce, smartphone-savvy world, goes far beyond the shared space.
"The traditional office has to be more flexible," he says. "Even large companies are renting their excess space out to short-term customers."
And some of them, he adds, are finding it profitable and even rejuvenating to rent spaces from innovative companies like WeWork.