The pandemic has accelerated a new gravitation toward remote work and away from traditional office settings. With the internet available nearly everywhere and technology evolving by the minute, many office workers can accomplish their jobs from home just as easily as from the office.
Furthermore, cutting out the office commute not only reduces a company’s carbon footprint, but it frees up time for workers to structure their day in the way that makes the most sense to them.
However, for many – especially employees who are more extroverted in nature – working alone and from home can quickly become uninspiring.
Enter coworking spaces: uplifting, energizing shared environments that give remote workers all the tools they need to get their jobs done in a location that’s convenient. The rise of coworking spaces has been trending upward for over a decade, but only in recent years has there been a surge in women-only coworking spaces, which have been growing in popularity in countries across the world.
What are the reasons behind the surge in female-only coworking space? Will this trend continue as remote work becomes even more mainstream?
Why do we need female-only coworking spaces?
Business has historically been a ‘man’s game’ with connections within male-dominated networks playing a large part in a company’s success. But now female-only coworking spaces are empowering women entrepreneurs to enter the world of business on their own terms and focus on the goals of their business while having their unique needs met.
The new office style that employees prefer has drifted away from a desk in a cubicle. Remote workers and self-employed professionals now largely rely on coworking spaces with high-powered Wi-Fi and cloud-based collaboration tools that make it easy to communicate with their team members, clients, and collaborators. For women entrepreneurs, it’s key to have a space where these types of amenities and technologies are present, and coworking offices often make all of these services readily available.
Moreover, networking opportunities become more valuable in an environment where people have something in common and a shared desire to see each other succeed. This is largely one of the reasons why female-focused coworking spaces have been so successful, as the network of support is passionate, tuned-in, and geared toward collective success.
Further, female-only coworking spaces don’t ignore the most common reason women lag behind men in their careers: a lack of resources and support during and after pregnancy.
The Wing, one of the most popular female-only coworking companies in the U.S. with investments from Google Ventures and, most recently, International Workplace Group (IWG), offers amenities such as lactation rooms, high-end toiletries, shower areas, and in-house cafes.
Taking it one step further, Tadah, a coworking space in Zurich, Switzerland, was founded by four mothers and offers a separate space within the hybrid office for daily childcare services. With flexible childcare basically non-existent in Switzerland even though so many companies demand flexibility from their employees, the founders sought to bridge this gap in a way that was beneficial for families—children included.
Offering female-focused amenities
Aside from the basic yet surprisingly uncommon resources that enable women to pursue their careers while also being a mother, there are many other female-centric amenities offered by these coworking companies. For example, The Wing’s interior design is wholeheartedly and purposefully feminine in nature, with calming color palettes and trendy mid-century modern furniture.
Furthermore, The Wing has been long lauded for its empowering women-only events with industry-leading speakers. Offering these types of live networking events is an invigorating element, giving members the chance to get together and discuss common goals outside of work.
Hera Hub is another female-orientated coworking space that recognizes the power of educating and running regular workshops from refining sales techniques, to making professional social connections, to building confidence when cold calling. They also provide their members with “GURUS” who share their wisdom in one-on-one sessions as well as classes.
Another company that provides a different coworking experience for women is Quilt, which recognizes that many female entrepreneurs enjoy working from home but still desire networking and learning opportunities. To meet these unique needs, Quilt provides members with opportunities to conduct small coworking sessions and group discussions based in members’ own homes.
Lastly, CoWomen, a coworking space in Berlin, Germany, was founded on the mission of supporting the next generation of women leaders. Again, by encouraging networking and welcoming children, CoWomen offers women entrepreneurs a different solution to traditional hybrid offices and now has two locations.
Are female-only coworking spaces growing in popularity?
With the U.S. labor force consisting of 35% millennials, it makes sense that the ways in which we are working are evolving to meet the demands of this diverse generation. Shifting attitudes towards gender and an increasing awareness about the problems found in male-dominated industries have empowered females to find solutions for themselves.
The playing field in the corporate world and in the startup ecosystem has yet to be levelled. Spaces where women feel comfortable, supported, and can work toward their goals are certainly in need. Female-only coworking spaces like The Wing, Tadah, Hera Hub, and The Coven are leaders in the space and there is room for more, offering female professionals a place where they belong and can easily find support for their ventures.
With remote work in general expanding drastically in the last year, it’s likely that more “niche” coworking spaces will crop up. The demand for female-centric coworking spaces in particular is likely to be felt in the years to come, empowering and inspiring women as well as catering to their unique needs and desires.