by Jenny Holt
Retirement is a stage of life that many look forward to, a chance to slow down and spend more time with family, enjoy hobbies or perhaps travel the world. But not everyone approaching retirement age is ready to stop working. Nearly one-quarter of self-employed Americans are 60 years old and older, and an increasing number of retirees are starting new ventures of their own. As the entrepreneurialism of this demographic grows, many seniors are discovering the rewards of the coworking environment.
Seniors in coworking spaces
Although the age of the average coworker is 34, there are an increasing number of baby boomer coworkers who are successfully utilizing this arrangement.
The senior population of coworkers tend to work differently in this space to the younger crowd. The Global Coworking Survey highlights that older coworkers (aged 50-64) typically work as consultants, PR professionals, journalists or designers, while their younger counterparts are more commonly in technology roles.
Putting down coworking roots
One of the great advantages of self-employment in later life is the ability to be your own boss. Coworking provides a friendly space to build a business from the ground up while being surrounded by encouragement and advice.
The same survey found that seniors have been found to be particularly loyal to their coworking space, while the younger population are more likely to deskhop.
Making valuable connections
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of coworking is the chance to meet new people from varying industries, all within the same office environment. This provides many opportunities for networking, and the senior category of workers acquires the most valuable number of connections through this style of working than any other category of coworker. The youngest coworkers found that they made around six connections that could be useful to them, while the senior bracket makes seven on average via the coworking sphere.
Keeping up on relevant skills
Coworking lets you pick up new things from other self-employed people. There are chances for seniors to pass along some industry knowledge on to someone else, but by the same token, they can also learn new techniques, strategies, and insights, without having to take specific training. Jeremy Blezard, a member of Beta Cowork in Brussels, told us, “What I have experienced is that working with younger coworkers keeps me aware of changes and innovations in technology and markets. I also appreciate the support from the staff, especially on tech issues. I’m too old to be a geek, but I’m learning!”
The increased longevity of the 55-64 year age group, combined with the economic advantages of continuing to earn, means seniors are sticking it out in the workforce longer than ever before. On the bright side, coworking offers a way for seniors to gain even more value from their encore career.
But it’s not just in what seniors gain; it’s in what they add. As Jeremy put it, “I’ve received only respect from younger coworkers – they even seem to value my experience.”