Many people still don’t know what coworking is, or what the benefits of coworking might be.

A quick search yielded this definition: the use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge.

The benefits and long-term sustainability are undeniable with 92% of coworkers being satisfied with their work environment. And let’s add in that 40% of all employees are expected to be freelancers of one form or another by 2020.

This type of work space is likely to become a more popular option over time.

Why is coworking so popular?

Coworking spaces are essentially areas for professionals to work in a shared space without distractions or the rigid schedules of offices. They’re intended to offer the best of both traditional work environments and freelancing.

People who use coworking spaces report high levels of satisfaction and productivity, and it’s easy to see why. In contrast to the isolating, monotonous environment of working at home, coworking offers the ability for workers to be with like-minded people without the drawbacks of a normal office.

Additionally, coworking provides a dynamic, exciting alternative to traditional office spaces for virtual or remote employees.

Not having to deal with office politics makes socializing more comfortable for everyone. Without a corporate structure, it’s common for workers to make personal and professional connections in a coworking space.

And, working in the same environment with others from a range of fields with diverse skillsets makes a freelancer’s work distinctive and interesting within the group.

Coworking gives freelancers the flexibility to work at their own pace and on their own schedule. If they need to put in long hours on certain days, they’re usually welcome to do so. They have the opportunity to take breaks, as needed, to spend time on other aspects of their lives. This improves work/life balance and overall engagement.

Compared to a home office, which can be a distracting place to work, the shared space work environment and the presence of other workers can help motivate freelancers and keep them on task.

What is coworking’s future?

Coworking became popular among freelancers as a cost-effective office alternative and way to increase productivity following the financial downturn of 2008, but many are optimistic for its long-term position in the market.

As it becomes possible for more jobs to be completed virtually or remotely, coworking will become an option for a greater percentage of the labor force.

The ability to share a space with employees or freelancers from a range of industries offers new potential for networking and opportunities for projects or employment.

Freelancers of all types and skillsets can benefit from a coworking space, becoming more productive and getting inspired by those working around them. The professional environment can encourage freelancers to get more work done in less time, leaving more time to spend on other interests and socializing.

While coworking may have originally sounded like a strange idea, its advantages are becoming clear to more and more people every day.