Written by Jim Murphy
Coworking spaces have taken off across the country, and Western North Carolina is no exception. For people who need to get some work done but aren’t particularly keen on doing it from home or spending eight hours a day at a coffee shop, and don’t necessarily need a full-blown office, coworking has turned out to be an ideal solution.
“I have two young girls at home so it’s impossible to work there because they like to play with my computer ‘buttons’ — a lot.”
“My cat was driving me nuts. It was all over my keyboard or scratching on the door to get out. I was always having to deal with the cat.”
The term “coworking” presents a modern, 21st Century concept, but as those two coworker statements reveal, the word is nothing more than a fancy euphemism for a much older impulse: escape. Once digital technology opened the path for people to work from home, they soon began to realize that the so-called “freedom” was not really free at all. They found themselves fighting domestic distractions and social isolation. To get any work done—and to preserve their sanity—they simply had to get out of the house.
Coworking spaces were created to fill that need, starting up in San Francisco in 2005 and quickly spreading to other major cities. Studies have shown that, beginning in 2006, the number of coworking spaces has roughly doubled nationwide each year. Brad Neuberg, who is credited with creating the concept, having originally founded the aptly-named San Francisco Coworking Space, also coined the word “coworking” (with no hyphen). It has struck like a quiet explosion. Without attracting much attention, coworking facilities have blossomed and are thriving here in the mountains, offering entrepreneurs, freelancers, and telecommuters a workspace with a lively vibe.
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