Definition of coworking

Coworking is a style of work that involves independent workers or teams using a shared working environment, such as an office.

Unlike more traditional office environments, people that use coworking spaces are typically not all employed by the same organisation.

Coworking is particularly attractive to startup founders and teams, contractors, freelancers, small business operators and sole traders. However, coworking spaces are also increasingly being used by larger corporates, who have recognised the many benefits that can be derived from coworking.

Some of the benefits of coworking include:

  • The flexibility to work where, when and how you want.
  • Reduced operating costs (e.g. no expensive office leases).
  • Synergies from working near or with other business operators and staff.
  • Social interaction. Working from home or as a sole trader can be isolating at times.
  • Less distractions compared to working from home.

For a more detailed look at the benefits of coworking, check out this article: Benefits of coworking – 21 reasons why you should use a coworking space.

Is it spelt coworking or co-working?

The term is sometimes incorrectly hyphenated as ‘co-working’.

The correct spelling is coworking.

It’s one word, not a compound word (combination of two words), so it shouldn’t be hyphenated.

The word ‘crowdfunding’ is a similar example of a relatively new term that has no hyphen. Although the origin of the term clearly derives from two words (‘crowd’ and ‘funding’), it’s a new word in its own right, not a compound word.

The explosive growth of coworking in Australia

The demand for coworking spaces in Australia has skyrocketed!

The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2018 from Startup Genome paints a vivid picture of the growth in Australia.

“Over the last several years, the number of coworking spaces in Melbourne has risen by over 900%.”

Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2018

StartupAus’s 2017 Crossroads report indicates that the demand for coworking spaces far exceeds the available supply.

“Coworking spaces in major cities are overflowing, requiring rapid expansion to accommodate increased demand by entrepreneurs.”

StartupAUS Crossroads report 2017

Statistics from the 2016 Startup Muster report show that a huge proportion of Australian startups are using coworking spaces.

  • 72.3% of Australian startups are using coworking.
  • 54.5% are using coworking full-time.

Startup Muster report (2016)

Coworking industry research

Check out our handy summary of research into coworking.

Our summary has a particular focus on reports that include coverage of the Australian coworking industry.