Ihave spoken about “brain drain” in the past and the issues that many small, rural towns and remote locations face. Basically, “brain drain” is when locals leave those areas in pursuit of higher paying, white collar jobs in larger cities. It’s terrible for the small, local economies, and can have negative effects for decades.
But, there is one possible solution to this dilemma. If people are fleeing rural and remote places for intellectual jobs, what if we brought those more desirable jobs to those rural towns? One solution popping up all over the place is called Rural Coworking, and this article is going to talk all about it!
What is Rural Coworking?
Rural coworking is an up and coming concept that is proving to be very successful in a lot of areas on a global scale. The need for having a place in rural settings where working professionals can have a space away from the office, yet also away from their home has become very evident amongst millennial workers.
Rural coworking is when spaces are dedicated to these workers in less populated areas, which allows them to work a job remotely, and is based on a subscription service or day-to-day payments. It often is one large room with a few offices to rent for meetings by the hour. Some plans cater to small businesses, as well, where they can use the space for a different rate than individuals.
How is Rural Coworking beneficial for Remote Areas?
When discussing rural coworking, there may be a reticence that is thrown out at first by the locals. Why would they need such a space? Well, having rural coworking is beneficial for remote areas. Let’s look at a few reasons how those areas can benefit from rural coworking.
- Relatively inexpensive to operate. Most coworking spaces are a simple large room with a few offices, and only require an internet option and seating arrangements. Starting small is key, and after you get a good understanding of your membership base, you can upgrade or add perks. It is advised to not offer computers in order to keep costs and insurance low.
- Keeps Money Local. If those workers aren’t leaving to work their 9-to-5 jobs in a bigger city, that means they’re staying – and spending – more locally. This is everything from the morning cup of coffee and lunches, to errands that they can run, and possibly even childcare. That adds up in a positive way for the local economy.
- Attracts diversity. Part of what makes coworking so great is that anyone can stop in – you don’t have to be a local resident. But, what if it inspires millennial workers that would otherwise have kept driving on? Providing a means to support these kinds of jobs has people now asking, “Where do I really want to live?”, instead of twisting their arm to live where they want to work.
The uphill battle for Rural Coworking
There is a bit of an uphill battle for rural coworking, as well. As great as it is, there are some challenges in running a successful rural coworking facility.
- Marketing. One of the biggest challenges that coworking facilities face is promoting the concept itself. First of all, it’s really only been around for a few years, so that coupled with trying to start the first one of its kind in a small area means they’re going to have to work hard promoting the benefits.
- Competing with the home office. Many working professionals in these remote areas may already have a work-from-home setup due to a lack of a rural coworking space. So, when one comes into town, they may not see the need to abandon what they already have.
- Prices. As the model is implemented and marketing takes off, owners of coworking facilities will have to determine a price that is profitable, but not breaking the bank for locals. They still must make it an attractive solution in an area where general prices are lower for almost everything – including space.
With all of this said, there are still a lot of benefits for the workers themselves.
Why you should consider a Rural Coworking space
Some of you may still be looking at this as an option that may not really be something you see yourself “splurging” on, however, this is really more of a necessity. How many times have you sat down to get some work done, but your dog needs to go outside, or your neighbor started hammering away, or the laundry stared at you from across the room? Let’s face it, working from home can be distracting.
Not only that, but commutes to other cities can be absolutely draining, especially if you must drive yourself. And, public transportation for long distances has its own hiccups every now and again. Plus, you get to experience a sense of community at a coworking space. Everyone is there for the same reason, and it’s a great way to connect to other locals. Who knows, you may even strike up a business idea when chit chatting by the coffee machine!
Rural coworking spaces are a great idea, and can really solve a lot of problems for both the workers who need them, and the communities that need those workers. There are a lot of great models already established and it is definitely worth looking into as a necessary solution.
If you are working remotely don’t forget to pay attention to ergonomics. Learn more in the following article: Ergonomic recommendations for remote work