In 1999, long before the term “coworking” became part of everyday vocabulary, a software company in New York City decided to rent out the extra workspaces in their office on an individual basis. This financial decision created one of the very first coworking spaces and from there, the idea spread across the globe.

Today, the movement is still growing and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. From 2006 to 2015, the number of coworking spaces nearly doubled each year.  Small Biz Labs predicts that by 2020, over 3.8 million people will be members of coworking spaces. So what’s the big deal? Why are so many people choosing to work in these membership-based communal setting?

As the cultural shift to mobility in the workplace continues, people turn to alternate places to work. However, home offices and even public spaces, like coffee shops, lack one major element that contributes to employee wellbeing and success: Community.

Coworking spaces create a sense of connectedness. They are more than just a space to work in: They allow you to expand your professional network and collaborate with people who are from all walks of life and a variety of professional backgrounds. In such a diverse environment where helping each other out is part of the cultural norm, the opportunities to learn and grow are endless.

The “Coworking Manifesto”  highlights the importance of collaboration, innovation, and friendship to help create a sustainable coworking community. Without the formality of a traditional office, coworking spaces encourage people to be themselves and remove the stress of direct competition or comparison to coworkers. They create a space that makes people feel valued and inspired, while remaining somewhat anonymous and independent.

WeWork, one of the largest coworking spaces in the US, aims “to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living.” Collectively, coworking spaces provide environments that foster growth and sharing, helping to support their members’ professional and personal passions. Research shows that this vision is being realized! Employees who belong to coworking spaces thrive more than your average employee – reporting better productivity, more confidence, and even higher incomes.

Interested in learning more? Check out Turnstone’s “Why Coworking” video,  find a coworking spot near you, and give it a try!