The first coworking space was founded in San Francisco in 2005, and since then, more than 2,000 of these incubator offices have sprouted up around the world, usually equipped with WiFi, a membership program, and, of course, a variety of caffeine machines.

Recent research from Harvard Business Review has indicated that coworking spaces are better than traditional offices or working at home. Folks are happier and more productive. Why? Keep reading to find out.

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Work is more meaningful

The people who make up coworking spaces traditionally are freelancers or individual contractors. Because everyone is working on different projects for different companies, there is a strong individual work identity. Coworkers also all have unique talents they can teach and mentor people in.

There’s more job control

There is very little direct competition or internal politics. Because freelancers are their own bosses, there is flexibility in terms of setting their own hours, gym time and lunch breaks. While autonomy is a great feature of being independent, coworking spaces offers control by creating a structure and the support group needed to help with productivity.

Community makes people happy

Many coworking spaces go to great lengths to establish a sense of community. From yoga classes to programming workshops, there’s usually something for everyone to attend and contribute to.

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Bottom line: people need to be able to craft their work in ways that give them purpose and meaning.

“Our advice to traditional companies who want to learn from coworking spaces is to give people the space and support to be their authentic best selves,” the researchers wrote. “The result will be employees who feel more committed to your organization and are more likely to bring their best energy and ideas to the office each day. Even if it is corporate headquarters.”

What is your work situation like? Are you in a coworking space? Share your experience with us below!