Isn’t it amazing that coworking isn’t just about coworking? When coworking space Convene announced it’s latest fundraise of $152 million this morning, the company was sure to highlight the ways it’s different from those other coworking spaces. “Unlike many players in the flexible office or space-as-a-service category, Convene’s landlord partnership model goes far beyond coworking, and we are proud to partner with the world’s most respected office owners to create inspiring workplace environments for today’s top companies,” the company’s press release reads.
Though recent funding announcements suggest otherwise, it must be hard to differentiate these days, because every coworking space seems to be about something more than just coworking. They are places of civic engagement! Of community building! Of beauty! They are catalysts for professional transcendence! They are not just a collection of desks under a brand name! What?
The Assemblage: “More than just a workspace, we build spaces and experiences intentionally designed to foster personal and professional transformation.”
The Wing: “The Wing’s mission is the professional, civic, social, and economic advancement of women through community.”
Bond Collective: “We believe in the power of our differences. Each one of our locations are uniquely designed to reflect the personality of each community and their environment.”
Work Well Win: “We know it’s more than a workspace for you. We help you create a unique space that caters to your business, improves productivity and drives innovation.”
Spaces: “MORE THAN SIMPLY A PLACE TO PLUG IN YOUR LAPTOP: What really makes Spaces unique is the community we’ve worked to cultivate.”
Industrious: “Our attention to detail sets us apart. Finally, an office you’ll love walking into and sharing with others.”
Serendipity Labs: “Each Serendipity Labs workplace is staffed by members from the local community with a passion for hospitality and exceptional service. Our commitment to consistently delivering a first-class experience is what sets us apart.”
Workbar: “We give our members much more than a shared workspace. At Workbar, you’ll get access to exclusive private events and awesome perks and discounts from companies like Zipcar, Instacart, ezCater, Boston Sports Club and more.”
TechSpace: “An alternative to traditional commercial office space, TechSpace provides companies a powerful operating platform combining the best tech connectivity with corporate spaces that are creative, beautiful and full of community.”
NextSpace: “What continues to make us unique and special? It’s our culture.”
SoHo House: “Unlike other members’ clubs, which often focus on wealth and status, we aim to assemble communities of members that have something in common: namely, a creative soul.”
The Yard: “Members join The Yard because we prioritize a culture of serious work, celebration of growth and sophisticated play.”
Grind: “At Grind, you’re more than a number–you’re a member of our community.”
WeWork: “When we started WeWork in 2010, we wanted to build more than beautiful, shared office spaces. We wanted to build a community.”
WeWork has defined its more-ness through a variety of new ventures like apartments (WeLive), fitness (Rise by We), and education (Flatiron School, We Grow). Its expansion beyond coworking has notably reverberated in other industries, encouraging membership-based businesses to do more. Luxury fitness center, Life Time, for example, began a foray into coworking in May. “More than just an office, it’s a place where individuals and small teams can be productive, engaged, and healthy,” the company’s website reads. Now you can have your zero inbox and your cardio workout too.
But what if you want to rent a desk without getting your chakras aligned? It might just send a person back to the coworking companies of yore like ServCorp. Surely, this company, one with a name so boring it borders on refreshing, that’s been in the alternative office business since 1978, has resisted this 2018-work-life-integration hubbub? Alas, Servcorp too it seems, is “so much more than just an office space.”