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The CoLab is a group of independent professionals that cowork in Port Townsend to collaborate and share ideas. We enjoy each other's company and collaborate in a productive workspace with shared resources like a kitchen, meeting rooms, and workshops.

A better way to work

Side by side comparison of Home Office, Traditional Office, and Coworking spaces

Coworking is a style of work which involves a shared working environment, sometimes an office, yet independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is the social gathering of a group of people, who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with talented people in the same space.

Some coworking spaces were developed by nomadic internet entrepreneurs seeking an alternative to working in coffeeshops and cafes, or to isolation in independent or home offices.

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. Coworking offers a solution to the problem of isolation that many freelancers experience while working at home, while at the same time letting them escape the distractions of home.

Many misconceptions abound about what coworking encompasses and how it distinguishes itself from business accelerators, business incubators and executive suites. These types of spaces do not seem to fit into the coworking model because they often miss the social, collaborative, and informal aspects of the process, with management practices closer to that of a Cooperative, including a focus on community rather than profit. Many of the coworking participants are also participants in BarCamp and other related open source technology activities.

Coworking is not only about the physical space but initially and mostly about establishing the Coworking community first. The benefits of Coworking can already be experienced outside of Coworking spaces and it is recommended to start with building a Coworking community first before considering opening a Coworking space. However, some Coworking Spaces don't build a community, they just get a part of an existing one by combining their opening with an event which attracts their target group.

A lot of Coworking communities are formed by organizing Casual Coworking events (e.g. Jellies)  that can take place in people's living room or in public places such as suitable cafes, galleries or multi-functional spaces. During these events Coworkers can experience the benefits of Coworking and get to know each other which lowers the barriers to join a Coworking space later.