How Schools Can Provide Affordable Coworking Space Access to Teachers

Coworking Space

Teachers are increasingly needing versatile, cost-friendly coworking spaces. As schools shift to virtual and blended learning practices, educators need work areas that aren’t the conventional classroom. Coworking spaces offer benefits like collaboration, productivity, and community for educators. This piece illustrates how cost-saving coworking options encourage and keep talented teachers in schools, districts, and communities.

The Benefits of Coworking for Teachers

  • Teamwork and belonging: Coworking unlocks chances for peer education and guidance, beating back teacher loneliness. Being active in a group of like-minded professionals leads to fresh ideas, sharing tools, and higher job pleasure.
  • Efficiency and concentration: With coworking spaces’ order, teachers can avoid home disruptions. This enables them to use work hours effectively for lesson preparations or marking work. The majority of coworking members report an improved ability to focus. 
  • Cost savings: Shared workspaces are far cheaper than renting private offices, enabling schools and teachers to save on expenses like office space, furniture, utilities, parking, printing/copying, and more. These add up to thousands per teacher every year.
  • Location flexibility: The growth of coworking nationwide gives teachers easy workspace access wherever they live or travel. Many spaces offer reciprocal access to their networks spanning hundreds of locations.
  • Future-proofing skills: Adapting to more remote and self-directed work aligns teachers with the evolution of online and hybrid education models due to technology and other shifting dynamics.

Models for Funding and Deploying Coworking for Educators

Here are a few recommended frameworks that communities, schools, and districts can choose from to provide affordable coworking for their teachers in a financially sustainable way:

1. Enterprise Coworking Memberships

In this model, the school or district purchases organization-level memberships to coworking spaces for their teaching workforce. Typical components include:

  • Annual membership fees are based on the total number of teachers 
  • Ability to allocate workspace access in blocks (i.e. 100 teacher member credits)  
  • Volume discounts and preferential access to enhanced support services
  • A strong candidate for grant funding opportunities

2. Public-Private Partnerships

A community partnership where government agencies or school administrations co-invest alongside private sector sources to open and operate a dedicated coworking facility for educators.

  • Sources like economic development funds, corporate sponsors, and philanthropic foundations contribute capital and operational dollars.
  • Covers costs like rent, staffing, and event programming not covered by member fees.
  • Prominent branding promotes community alignment around education and teacher support.

3. Space Sponsorships

School districts partner with existing coworking spaces to subsidize the membership costs for their teachers.

  • Sponsorship funds reserved blocks of memberships available for educators to utilize.
  • Great lower-cost way to pilot workspaces and measure utilization before larger commitments. 
  • Fuels a virtuous cycle where teachers patronize and breathe energy into community spaces.

4. On-campus Coworking Hubs

As budgets allow, schools themselves can convert underutilized spaces into professional drop-in work areas for their teachers and staff community. 

  • A low-cost way for smaller schools to create their in-house coworking option.
  • Provides a central hub for teachers working remotely or with gaps in schedules.
  • Even small investments yield a modern, team-oriented place that improves teacher effectiveness and morale.

Making Your Coworking Program Teacher-Centric

While typical coworking spaces serve all types of mobile professionals, there are additional considerations for audiences of teachers:

  • Inclusion and Diversity: Make sure your location and space partners welcome teachers of all backgrounds, races, identities, and abilities. 
  • Classroom Storage: Provide options for teachers to securely store bulky classroom supplies needed at various times. Lockers, cages, or reserved storage closets help keep these assets nearby.  
  • Noise Limiting: Enforce quiet zones, small team rooms, and noise masking to limit disruptions, especially for remote teaching or calls requiring focus.  
  • Amenities: Prioritize amenities tailored for teachers’ lesson planning, grading, and meetings, like printers, office supplies, bulletin boards, fast wifi, and food options. 
  • Hybrid Teaching Tech: Supply video-conducive set-ups to enable engaging virtual teaching. Think sound separation, quality webcams, ring lights, and seamless screen-sharing tools.  
  • Wellness and Self-Care: Foster positive space design and policies enabling mindfulness, movement breaks, power naps, nutritious snacks, and activities managing stress levels.
  • Onsite Childcare: Where budgets allow, providing even part-time childcare grants flexibility for teachers with families managing hybrid schedules.

Potential Sources of Funding for Teacher Coworking Programs

Financial support funding can originate from an array of sources to establish and sustain coworking programs for teachers:

  • Government Grants: Like American Rescue Plan funds which include stipends for schools supporting teacher and staff retention or addressing learning loss.
  • School Budgets: Repurpose general operating budgets for facilities, supplies, utilities, or professional development.  
  • Community Partnerships: Corporate social responsibility, education-focused foundations, and workforce boards often fund these kinds of initiatives.
  • Coworking Operators: Space partners equally invested in cultivating target niches may co-fund marketing and initial memberships.  
  • Sponsorships: Community groups or businesses rallying around education donate in exchange for recognition.
  • Shared Uses: Host external organizations during off-hours to generate side revenue streams helping offset teacher access costs.

Addressing Potential Roadblocks for Administrators

While coworking yields strong advantages, leading successful and sustainable initiatives also requires preparing for several common roadblocks:

Control and Compliance

Administrators may hesitate to allow teachers to work freely from third-party sites.

Overcome through: Developing agreements around liability, data protection, worker safety assurances, and codes of conduct mandatory for space partners.

Perceived Inequities

If programs only cover some subsets of teachers, those omitted may feel slighted. 

Overcome through: Universal eligibility across schools and transparent processes for accessing funds earmarked for teachers to utilize.

Low Utilization

Spaces may start strong but see usage and participation drop in the long term.

Overcome through: Leadership messaging and expectations driving adoption. Local champions supporting consistent programming and connections. Ongoing user feedback and adaptations ensure continued fit.

Budget Overruns

Unchecked programs can soar past initial cost estimates and allocated budgets.

Overcome through: Conservative planning estimates. Exploring tiered service models. Dynamic scaling up and down based on actual demand signaling.

Case Studies Demonstrating Successful Models

Coworking implementation targeted at teachers has already seen promising early adoption in locales across America:

Minnesota – Enterprise Membership Model

The Osseo public school district in a suburb of Minneapolis signed an annual agreement with collaborative workspaces operator WeWork. Up to 300 teachers at a time are granted access to drop-in workspace across 5 metro locations.

Maryland – Public-Private Partnership 

Howard County’s Business Center created KINTHUB powered by the Horizon Foundation and other backers as a nonprofit coworking site supporting education-focused entrepreneurs and remote workers, like teachers or faculty. Memberships specifically earmarked for community educators start at just $60 a month.

Oregon – On-Campus Coworking Hubs

Echo Shaw Elementary School in Cornelius converted outdated computer labs into modern teacher workrooms outfitted with collaboration technology, productivity tools, coffee bars, and flexible seating arrangements. Grant funding covered the initial $35,000 in renovations.

These three examples show how various models can expand affordable coworking access for teacher audiences.

How many teachers actively use or want access to coworking spaces?

Early adopter groups put regular monthly coworking usage by US teachers at 4-6% currently but expected to keep rising exponentially alongside remote and hybrid work arrangements.

Do teachers see real professional benefits in utilizing coworking versus working from home?  

Consistent industry evaluations indicate over 80% of members report productivity gains in a coworking environment over conventional options. 69% of coworkers say they feel less lonely in the community than working solo.

What are examples of shared community uses for teacher-focused coworking spaces?

Popular complementary uses include adult education programming, homeschool groups, tutoring services, standardized test preparation, or exam proctoring. Several teacher spaces even rent facilities for private events or meetings on nights and weekends. 

How can we measure key metrics around teacher coworking initiatives?

Savvy programs track metrics like total memberships created and current utilization rate. Teacher satisfaction scores for facility experience and value derived. Hard total cost per member and any associated budget overages. Quantitative indicators around attrition rates and retention levels across participant groups.

What are the best practices in funding models to ensure viability and alignment?  

Experts suggest relying more heavily on self-sustaining funding flows (like pooled membership fees or underwriting through shared uses) versus finite sources like grants or donations alone to power ongoing operations long-term without major budget gaps or shortfalls.


Affordable coworking access for teachers is a transformative initiative that goes beyond providing physical workspace. It is a strategic investment in the collaborative spirit of educators, fostering professional growth and creating a supportive community. By leveraging online school management software, implementing cost-effective design practices, and exploring innovative funding strategies, schools can pave the way for a future where teacher collaboration is at the forefront of educational excellence.