Although coworking has seen rapid growth all across the globe, it is an emerging industry and a concept that many professionals are still not completely familiar with.

While many startups, freelancers and entrepreneurs will swear by how effective coworking has been to help them attain success, it can sometimes be difficult to explain coworking to someone who has never worked in a shared office space.

So what’s the best way to explain coworking to a layman? We discuss!

Explaining Coworking to someone new to the concept of Shared Work Spaces

In a nutshell, coworking refers to the idea of working alongside other like-minded professionals under a single roof – all working on projects of their own, or within the confines of their own business and team members. However, that’s not to say that one can’t collaborate, because plenty of opportunities can be had for idea sharing and networking.

Here’s another way of explaining it: coworking may be seen as a methodology or concept where people or groups of people work within a shared space, but not necessarily for the same organization or sharing the same goals.

You might wonder – why doesn’t the above definition include all the usual tropes people hear about coworking like collaboration, community, inclusivity, open space, and so on? Well, it’s because all those things are merely types of coworking, not necessarily coworking itself.

What’s more, when explaining coworking to a layman, we need to start off with a baseline through which we can explain what coworking really is.

So let’s get a little more specific with our definition, shall we?

The ‘Politically Correct’ way of defining Coworking 

Well, perhaps, “politically correct” may not be the best way to go about it, but you get the idea, right? We want to get our explanation across to someone who has never co-worked in the simplest, most effective manner, so here’s a slightly more nuanced example:

The restaurant industry, which many use as an analogy to define coworking, is part of the problem. Because a restaurant is where people from all walks of life go to eat food that isn’t necessarily prepared by the people eating it – it’s blatantly clear that the inclusion of restaurant type, prices, food type, etc. are all non-essential to the definition of what a restaurant is.

Now – bearing this logic in mind, we can clearly determine that a place where people sit down to eat and must prepare the food themselves is not, by definition, a restaurant.

Similarly, coworking isn’t a place that has to be enclosed with people hunched over laptops, sipping coffee all day and bragging about how insane the Wi-Fi speeds are. It merely refers to a place where a group of people are working within the confines of the same walls, under a single roof, but not working for the same organization, team, project, and what have you.

If all else fails – you can ask your ‘layman’ to Google WeWork or even CoSpace!