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Trading the Commute for Community: an Excellent Case for Coworking



What could Americans do with an additional 30 billion hours per year? Spend more time with friends and family? Pursue hobbies and side projects? Engage more in our communities?

Instead, 140 million Americans spend that time commuting, according to a U.S. Census Bureau study that the Washington Post reported on.

In a recent TEDx Sacramento Salon talk, coworking pioneer Jeremy Neuner shares his own struggle with commuting 10 hours per week for a whopping 500 hours per year and argues that there is a better way—and he would know.

As co-founder of NextSpace Coworking, Neuner was part of a first wave of coworking space operators who saw the rise of the independent professional, the human need for community, and the vital intersection of the two.

Neuner challenges audience members to think about new ways of working in spaces that allow us to step off the commuting rat wheel and work collaboratively to solve pressing global issues, such as income inequality, climate change, religions intolerance and gun violence.

A first-hand observer and creator of vibrant workplace culture and communities, Neuner visualizes a future in which people will cowork in libraries, parks, galleries, religious centers, community spaces and more, as a better way to work, live and engage in our communities.

[W]e need each other now more than ever,” he says, “because we’ve solved all the easy problems. The problems left facing us today are complex and nuanced and they require a different kind of problem solving—one based on collaboration, inclusivity and an empathy for multiple points of view.”

He calls for the “perspective of the many” and reminds us that we can’t get that perspective if we’re sitting home alone, working on our laptops. We need to seek out others to build strong, diverse communities. Coworking, when done well, does just that.

“The really great coworking spaces focus on creating strong, collaborative communities,” Neuner says. “I think that’s what we need: a good, healthy dose of real-life, genuine, human community.”

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Photo: Gleb Kozenko