The concept of coworking and its background
It’s the working phenomenon that’s on everyone’s lips: coworking. The idea of coworking, though not necessarily under that name, has been around for a while. The actual term coworking was coined by Brad Neuberg, who started the first “official” coworking space in San Francisco nearly fifteen years ago. But before that, we had hackerspaces. Hackerspaces, born out of Berlin in the nineties, provided a space for programmers to swap ideas and collaborate.
So coworking has been around for a long time and garnered significant traction since it’s first professional conception in 2005, but it has had an unprecedented rise since the 2008 fiscal crisis. Temporary and freelance work became increasingly popular, as people struggled to find more concrete, permanent work. With people suddenly out of their old, regular office jobs and into freelancing and temporary work, they needed somewhere to go that wasn’t just a quiet home office.
Since then coworking hubs have been popping up all over the world. From indie offices, to world wide, major coworking companies, the coworking craze is being felt everywhere. The benefits aren’t just being felt by the freelancers and work-from-homers. Those who have smaller businesses, or are just starting out, have benefited from coworking offices, which offer a cheaper alternative compared to renting out a regular office. Startups and small businesses can rent out an office space that fits them, while being able to book a meeting room for when needed. It’s cheap and efficient, while still maintaining a degree of professionalism.
The importance of community in coworking spaces
Yet it is not just the practicality of having an office-like space to go to every day. Coworking spaces offer a vibrant atmosphere where you can meet others, network, schedule meetings, and most importantly get your work done. They’re inherently social and community driven. It’s not uncommon for the larger, widespread companies to employ community managers to ensure that everything is ticking along nicely and getting people to network and become more involved (like us).
Community is perhaps the largest driving force for coworking areas. It’s what sets it apart from everything else. You can work from home, host meetings at other locations or on the screen, you can limit interaction to entirely online communication and phone calls. But at some point, all of this loses its human touch. Coworking spaces can offer a sense of community that certain workers wouldn’t be able to have outside of it. It’s not uncommon for coworking spaces to have their own community managers (hey, like us again), to help people run their business smoothly and make sure that there’s plenty of networking opportunities and after work drinks.
It’s predicted that by the end of 2019, there will be 22,400 coworking spaces worldwide (give or take a few). With remote and flexible working, as well as temporary work, becoming the ever increasing norm, we reckon that coworking is here to stay.