Growth in ‘gig economy’ could unleash dynamic new forms of employment

Yet another expansion strategy by the so-called “gig economy” is set to drastically alter the way people work. Oberlin is a metropolitan area in Northeast Ohio that became famed for its manufacturing expertise in…

Growth in ‘gig economy’ could unleash dynamic new forms of employment

Yet another expansion strategy by the so-called “gig economy” is set to drastically alter the way people work.

Oberlin is a metropolitan area in Northeast Ohio that became famed for its manufacturing expertise in the late 19th century. Now, with a renewed emphasis on manufacturing, Oberlin is a haven for Internet startups, incubators and co-working spaces.

Co-working spaces are spreading across the country, with women’s networking events, networking seminars and business plans galore. These larger co-working spaces allow a smaller percentage of their tenants to rent desks, providing a more elegant experience.

Online platforms facilitate access to co-working spaces, making it easy for people to find the perfect space for them to work out of, or vice versa. And the trend is set to hit the suburbs, providing a second office for people who are currently working from home, their place of business, with locations as spread-out as Edina, Minn., and Maplewood, N.J.

From a business perspective, co-working spaces offer the opportunity to connect with other businesses in an environment that fosters collaboration and communication. Furthermore, customers who are not necessarily tech-savvy may benefit from a dedicated space where they can talk shop in the same vicinity as the people they are working with.

Michael Karasick, co-founder of Left Field Ventures, said he was taken aback by the support he has seen since his company opened its first location in New York City last year. “We get 50 calls a day from individuals looking for help launching their businesses. About half of them are tech ventures. The other half are people who just need advice about their business idea and how to get a client to sign on.”

Co-working spaces, and the expanding pool of business ideas, are a hot real estate prospect for property managers and developers. New York real estate sources estimate that rental rates for co-working space will rise by up to 40 percent by 2020. And co-working spaces are beginning to be listed on national online real estate websites.

For families looking to sell their home, co-working spaces make ideal selling destinations because they offer the same amenities as larger, multi-family apartments.

Catering to this boom, jobs within areas with small or remote populations are filling vacancy desks as sellers look to find new people to live in their homes.

But co-working spaces can also have a negative impact on the younger generation’s views on work.

Adam Scher, program director of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, said young people will often stay in the neighborhood where they graduated college rather than move away from family. But as co-working spaces gain popularity and become popular with younger people, they may lose some of their cool appeal, transforming Dealey Plaza into the coffee house district.

Co-working spaces are set to become commonplace among the so-called “gen-tech” companies now dominating the start-up market. According to Ogilvy North America, a study found that nearly 75 percent of “gen-tech” firms are interested in space-sharing programs, while other start-up companies will look to connected providers to meet their work needs.

Kristen Poling, director of business development at Envoy, said it’s not just new companies. She sees co-working spaces becoming more of a traditional work environment for people who have less disposable income.

“As soon as they get more money, then they may have to look for more traditional office space, because they need things like conference rooms,” she said.

In the end, the popularity of co-working spaces may simply prove to be a sign of the times. Online and increasingly connected workspaces will play an ever more integral role in workplaces of the future.

Who knows? It may just usher in the next industrial revolution.

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