What Is Coworking?

Posted on: 21st June 2023

Reading time:  15 mins

Share article:


In this article, we’ll discuss how coworking works, including a simple coworking definition and brief history, who can benefit from using this type of workspace, what to look for and how to find a coworking space with Regus.


Simply put, coworking is a flexible working model that involves people from different organizations sharing an office, facilities and equipment. Coworking is a collaborative working style that nurtures creativity and promotes the exchange of knowledge, surpassing the limitations often encountered in a conventional office environment


It allows people and businesses in different niches to come together, share new ideas, connect, network and engage in innovative ideation.


What is a coworking space?

Coworking spaces generally host busy workforces with shared resources, services and facilities. It’s an open environment where people can work synergetically alongside other professionals from different businesses.


Coworking spaces offer many of the same amenities found in a traditional or private office, with the added benefit of flexibility and lower overhead expenses. Coworking facilities often include the provision of Wi-Fi, printers, a reception desk and admin support, mailing services, and standard equipment such as ergonomic furniture and storage spaces.


Depending on the coworking location chosen, the look and feel of the space will differ. Some will present a more formal workspace, that recreates an established office model in a shared setting, while others focus on creating a courtyard feel, incorporating outdoor spaces for members to relax or have informal meetings.


Regardless of your requirements, each loction will include the essential facilities vital for running a business. Moreover, these spaces offer diverse and customizable options, ranging from basic amenities to fully-serviced workspaces with state-of-the-art equipment.


It’s important to note the subtle differences between a shared office and a coworking space. The latter involves using desks in a shared working environment and features an open-plan design. Shared office spaces on the other hand are private offices for the sole use of you and your team that are situated in a building shared with other businesses with established office space.


Whatever way of coworking you choose, sharing a workspace helps spread the cost of running an office across members. You’ll also find that with flexible coworking spaces, you don’t need to commit to a long-term contract.


Types of coworking spaces available

Coworking spaces vary from space to space, from the community to the environment and design. Below are different coworking styles a business can integrate into its working model.


Dedicated desks. A designated workstation in a shared space, that is assigned to a specific individual or team on a full-time basis. Dedicated desks provide a consistent and exclusive workspace within the shared environment of a coworking facility and are equipped with essential office amenities.


Hot desks. These are unassigned workstations within a ready-to-use office space. Hot desking works on a first-come, first-served basis, and is used by different people at different times. The space is not permanent, so personal items and business equipment move with the user.


Open workspaces. Referring to coworking spaces that are designed without physical barriers or partitions, which help to foster a collaborative and inclusive environment. Individuals and teams work near one another, promoting interaction, idea-sharing, and spontaneous collaboration.


Private workspace. An enclosed area that offers individuals or teams a dedicated and secluded work environment. Private workspaces typically include walls or partitions to separate them from the common areas of the coworking space, offering a sense of solitude and quietness.


Shared offices. These flexible offices provide a balance between privacy and community, offering a dedicated open-plan space where coworkers can focus on their work while still being part of a larger coworking environment.


A brief history of coworking

The concept of coworking has come a long way since its inception in the mid-nineties. Back then, a group of computer engineers developed a combined workspace where they could share ideas, rooms, and facilities. The idea of a coworking office space has continued to expand, becoming more than just a way of working.


Coworking timeline

1995, Berlin – Computer hackers create a shared space to come together and share their knowledge, ideas, and business expertise. This concept gains popularity in various countries.


2002, Vienna – Schraubenfabrik: an "entrepreneurs center" in Vienna is opened. Started in a rundown factory as an early shared office space for startups, freelancers, and architects. It continues to thrive and has expanded under the company name Konnex Communities.


2005, San Francisco – software engineer Brad Neuberg opens the first official coworking space. Launched at Spiral Muse, a feminist collective in the Mission District, it offers wifi, bicycle tours, and meditation sessions. Similar spaces launch in London and Germany.


2006, San Francisco – the launch of Coworking Wiki and Jellies. The first coworking space reopens in 2006 as ‘The Hat Factory’ with many developments.


2007, Google – 'coworking' appears on the platform's database.


2015, Regus - acquires the Dutch-founded coworking brand Spaces, adding to its global workspace network of over 4,000 locations.


How has coworking grown over the years in the US?

With the rise of remote work, freelancing, and the entrepreneurial spirit, coworking spaces have become increasingly prevalent throughout the country. The US in fact, is seen as a significant player in the coworking real estate market, both in size of spaces and demand.


In the US alone, there were 63,703 startups reported last year, highlighting the entrepreneurial activity and the need for flexible workspace. Additionally, the changing work culture, increased adoption of remote work, and the desire for more flexibility and collaboration has contributed to the rise in coworking spaces. A productive and professional work environment, increased job satisfaction, and the need for a work-life balance is also highlighted in the shift towards coworking.

Post-COVID-19 also saw a shift in ways of working within the US. Several changes and trends emerged as the world adapted to the new 'normal'. The pandemic highlighted the importance of flexible work arrangements, leading to a rise in hybrid work models. Following the shift to hybrid working, major companies have also been seeking more cost-effective solutions that grow with the business. Coworking offices support this by allowing businesses to scale up or down with ease.

By 2022, there were approximately 6,022 coworking spaces in the US, with freelancers emerging as the largest demographic utilizing these innovative workspaces.


Who uses a coworking space?

Initially, coworking spaces attracted freelancers, small companies, and startup teams seeking cost-effective and collaborative work environments. The demographic of coworking space users has evolved and expanded. They cater to a diverse range of professionals, from sole traders to big companies like Nike, Microsoft and Facebook.


Startups often prefer to rent flexible office space for adaptability as the business grows. Newly established companies may not have the resources or time to think about organizing desks and office equipment, so the ability to walk into an office that’s already set up is important.


Coworking office spaces often include receptionist support and well-appointed meeting rooms, which provide a professional backdrop for crucial business meetings.



Coworking spaces can serve as networking hubs where freelancers can connect with potential clients, enhance their productivity and collaborate with other professionals. Flexible coworking spaces also allow freelancers to overcome the potential isolation associated with remote work by providing a sense of community and socialization opportunities.


Digital nomads

Coworking provides an ideal environment for digital nomads to focus on their work, separate their workday from leisure time, and maintain a sense of routine while traveling. Digital nomads can obtain a coworking membership, which grants them access to these shared workspaces globally.


Large corporations and enterprises

The use of coworking spaces by corporations and enterprises not only offers cost savings, but also promotes flexibility, innovation, and a more agile approach to work. Larger corporations can opt for coworking for a more adaptable work arrangement, helping them avoid setup costs, overheads, and long-term commitments.


Non-profit organizations

These spaces provide nonprofits with an opportunity to collaborate with diverse organizations and individuals, fostering new kinds of discourse and partnerships.


What are the advantages of coworking?

Coworking is invaluable for workers and businesses, contributing significantly to a company's transition towards a more adaptable work approach. Now, let's explore the primary benefits associated with coworking spaces.



The scalability of coworking spaces enables them to adapt and accommodate the evolving requirements of a business.



The shared utilization of facilities and equipment leads to substantial cost reductions in terms of overhead expenses. Coworking spaces provide a comprehensive range of amenities akin to those found in a permanent office but at a considerably lower cost compared to building ownership or rental.



The nature of coworking spaces encourages individuals to engage with others and exchange ideas. Being surrounded by like-minded people who share similar motivations and objectives fosters a culture of cooperation and collaboration.



Sharing a space opens the chance to meet people with different areas of expertise, opening up possibilities for meaningful connections, mentorship, potential partnerships, and even new friendships. This networking aspect facilitates the exchange of ideas, knowledge sharing, and business opportunities.


Global cohesion

Certain coworking providers offer their members the opportunity to access offices across the globe, which makes them an excellent choice for businesses requiring a global presence.


Alternatives to coworking offices

There are plenty of options for those unable to commit to a coworking space. Freelancers will already know about the use of communal spaces like libraries, cafes, and museum reading rooms.

For those looking for a more professional space, renting a serviced office offers a separate facility or floor dedicated to a single business, providing greater control over the workspace.


What should a coworking space include?

When searching for the ideal coworking space suitable for your business, be clear on your requirements in advance:


• Consider the budget. Does the provider offer rolling contract options? Think about how things may change as your company grows or downsizes. Are there any additional services you need to take into account?


• Think about your coworking location. Which area is essential, and which ones are desired or preferred? A global company might want a space in a prime location, while startup firms may prefer a space near transportation hubs.


• Consider the size of the workspace. Will the company be scaling up or down at short notice?


• Will users need to book spaces in advance, or can they use the hot-desking option


• How important are access to kitchens, communal and recreation areas? Will the use of on-demand meeting rooms be needed?


• Does the workforce require storage space such as lockable doors and cabinets? Is a secure entry system important?


Cowork with Regus

Regus offers a range of flexible packages to suit various business needs that enhance the coworking experience. Our membership solutions offer access to a global business lounge network in over 4,000 locations worldwide, providing comfortable and well-equipped spaces to work and network.


• The lounge membership gives you drop-in access to business lounges anywhere in the world


• The Coworking and Day Office package allows you to pre-book spaces as needed.


• The Office package offers fully equipped spaces for professional day-to-day use.


• Enterprise packages offer fully flexible, customised solutions.


By choosing Regus as your coworking provider, you gain the advantage of seamless booking, a helpful contact team for any inquiries, and a range of membership options tailored to your preferences.


How to find a coworking space

You can go online to browse Regus’ extensive selection of coworking space offices and easily book in a few simple steps. Or do it all through our user-friendly app, where you can effortlessly reserve desk space, and manage your account and bookings all in one place. Reserving your favourite coworking location with real-time availability and allowing you to secure a booking while you’re on the move.


Our favourite coworking spaces in the US

Chrysler Building 1-7-8-9F, Manhattan, New York City - Chrysler Building is a unique creative workspace within an iconic Art Deco skyscraper. Work in stylish and flexible spaces flooded with natural light. Enjoy the vibrant surroundings of Midtown East, with its abundant amenities, cultural attractions, and easy access to transportation.


View more coworking spaces in New York City.


111 Congress Avenue, Austin - A prime address in Austin's landmark skyscraper, One Eleven Congress. The distinct red granite building offers an impressive work environment. From the two-story marble lobby to the fully-refurbished designer spaces, enjoy stunning views of the city and Colorado River.


View more coworking spaces in Austin.


332 S Michigan Avenue, Chicago - 332 S Michigan Avenue offers a modern coworking space in the heart of the Loop, a prime location in Chicago's central business district. Work in a building that is a recognizable part of the city's architecture. With stunning views of Lake Michigan and the cityscape, is conveniently connected to bus and subway links, making it easy to explore Chicago's culture and commercial scene.


View more coworking spaces in Chicago.


315 Montgomery Street, San Francisco - 315 Montgomery Street offers a prime downtown location within close proximity to the city's attractions. Spanning two floors, it is surrounded by tech giants making it an ideal hub for innovative professionals. With a modern and vibrant atmosphere, the workspace features a chic business lounge, breathtaking views, and exceptional service.


View more coworking spaces in San Francisco.


Topics in this article

  • Productivity


Recent Articles

Keep up to date

Get news articles straight to your inbox.