The world of technology has made it easy for people to work from home or anywhere for that matter! Stay at home Mom’s or Dad’s can maintain income producing jobs while raising their family! A big plus for sure and it has changed the workforce in a huge way in the last 25 years. With that said, working from home is sometimes not a conducive environment for work quality and productivity. Focus can sometimes be compromised for obvious reasons.

In 2005 the term “co-working” was described as a physical space where people could come and work 9 to 5. Brad Neuberg organized a co-working site called the “Hat Factory” in San Francisco, a live-work loft that was home to three technology workers, and open to others during the day. He would charge a small fee for people from all types of businesses and they could come and have a work space and a stimulating environment. Some co-working places were developed by small internet entrepreneurs seeking an alternative to working in coffee shops and cafes, or to being isolated in your home office. A 2007 survey showed that many employees worry about feeling isolated and losing human interaction if they were to telecommute. Roughly a third of both private and public-sector workers also reported that they didn’t want to stay at home during work.

Now, co-working places exist worldwide, with over 700 locations in the United States alone. And Charleston has hopped on board in a big way! Chris Schultz created a new co-working space called Launch Pad. Others like Bryan Chappell and Jake Hare co-funded Launchpeer at the popular Harbor Entrepreneur Center in downtown Charleston. These are options for business people looking to share office space and save money. Their goal is to create a work environment where people are not necessarily working for the same company but working together in the same space. After all, working out of the house or a coffee shop can get a bit lonely. There is no intermingling and no communal climate. Other recent additions to our area include Holy City Collective and the Avondale Incubator.

Now you are probably thinking like I am that being around people during work hours is good but perhaps you still want privacy. Many of these co-working spaces have lots of options. You can choose to work alongside someone or opt for a private office space. The price is one of the many draws. According to a recent P&C article by Allison Prang, “an undesignated space can cost as little as $49/month”. Most do not require a year long lease or payment of utilities. This is definitely a growing trend for creating more flexible work spaces. Charleston’s progressive nature is reflective of what’s going on in major cities across the country. It is the way businesses are now working and being formed which is causing people to work in a different way than before. I think this says a lot about Charleston’s economic growth and it’s more importantly it’s potential growth.