Coworking is used in general terms and sometimes it makes sense to pick a more specific term for coworking. Let’s take a look at the most popular synonyms to coworking.
Before explaining these various synonyms, we’ll clarify the definition of coworking and what it really is, so it’s clear how the synonyms differ. If you are looking for the various coworking types, here is a good post about types of coworking spaces.
Main Word – Coworking
There are many definitions of coworking so we sifted through a lot of the best definitions of coworking and came up with this.
Coworking spaces are shared workspaces often connected with a community approach. Coworkers collaboratively work in a physically shared space.
Here is a good discussion in the coworking google group. The basic values of coworking are first of all community — and also openness, collaboration, sustainability and accessibility.
With that, let’s jump into coworking synonyms and learn what really the differences are between coworking and for example, shared workspaces. We’ll keep it as simple as possible, if you have any feedback please do get in touch with us to update!
Typically a shared workspace has less emphasis on the “community” aspect of coworking and attract more established businesses with more traditional services including catering, conference room booking, reception services, etc.
From a technology standpoint, shared workspaces typically operate on a more corporate network setup and infrastructure which some companies require for security and performance.
Synonyms for shared workspaces are: Flexible office, shared office, flexible workspace, serviced office space.
Open office mainly refers to the layout of the space which avoids having walls or even dividers between desks. It is much more open which comes with aesthetic advantages but often also with productivity disadvantages, e.g. thinking about noise levels or visual distractions.
HQ as a service
This is a new term that refers to small to medium size companies looking to avoid having their own leased space for their headquarters. “HQ as a service” typically means a fully customized and branded space with custom interior designs which is leased from a shared workspace operator.
Startup spaces like Techstars are very similar to coworking when it comes to the community aspect since they often create a strong feeling of belonging together. Y-Combinator for example calls their members “batches” and it’s a sign of pride to show which batch you belong to. It is typically limited on how long startups can stay in these spaces and companies go through a hard selection process often associated with giving equity in return for a small investment and hands on advice by experienced mentors.
Typically innovation labs are created by corporate companies to build a ‘safe’ space to experiment with new approaches of product and business models. A big motivation is often also to stay close to a startup community with hosting events and startups leading to a fresh perspective on trends and innovations happening outside of the traditional view of the company.
Here is a recent list with examples of corporate labs.
Executive suites consists of a grouped number of serviced offices, rooms or suites used traditionally by top managers of a business. Over the years executive suites started to be used as satellite locations or small business offices with a more corporate touch. One of the most popular providers of executive suites is Regus.
Synonyms for executive suites are: Executive centers
Business centers are traditionally describing spaces in hotels equipped with desks and even computers where travelers can work out of. It is probably the earliest form of coworking, however possibly to the price point and lacking attractiveness never really took off.