Altogether, co-working isn't a new concept. As a realtor, I'm fairly used to the concept of sharing office space and working together to get it done. Although the term"co-working" wasn't floating around the office, the concept is the same. As co-working continues to grow and become more popular, I'm finding that most still do not understand the benefits or if it's the right business move to make. I found a very unique article from DropDesk.com that explains everything you need to know about co-working and how it came to be. Please read below.
This should help,
Wondering if a co-working space is right for you?
It might be, it might not be… let’s find out.
Let's first look at the history of co-working.
Is It “Coworking” or “Co-working”?
There has been an ongoing dispute on whether coworking should be hyphenated or not. So how did this come about? The main reason for the hyphenated term “co-working” was due to the AP Stylebook distributed to journalists worldwide. The Stylebook dictates their preferred spelling and punctuation of commonly used names and words.
Basically, the AP Stylebook is in favor of any prefix (like co-owner) and this has been passed down in publications to the term coworking. So, what is the final verdict? Since coworking is a new industry in itself that does not relate to more traditional terms, it should be spelled “coworking”.
Generally speaking, the definition of coworking is when people assemble in a neutral space to work independently on different projects, or in groups on the same projects. It’s different than a typical office work space because the people in a coworking environment generally aren’t working for the same company.
Coworking spaces offer the same amenities you would find in a traditional office, along with a lot more. A major differentiator is flexibility, since you don’t need to sign a long-term lease in a coworking space.
Every coworking space will always have basics like WiFi, printers, usually some type of conference room… and some will have tea, coffee, and snacks available.
Some will have startup resources at your disposal ranging from digital assets, and even coaches and advisors. Some may have 3D printers and other tech that you may not always have access to. Some budget-conscious coworking spaces are more barebones, offering little more than a desk and WiFi.
Wikipedia: Coworking is the situation in which several workers from different companies share an office space, allowing cost savings and convenience through the use of common infrastructure, such as equipment, utilities, and receptionist and custodial services.
The History Of Coworking
1995 – the first “coworking” space was actually founded by hackers in Berlin. The idea was to share thoughts, space and information to complete tasks to those who joined the membership. Presently, they have added seminars, classes and a variety of social events, helping with the trend to open up more community spaces. There are hackerspaces in San Francisco, Santa Clara and Brooklyn and they keep growing.
1995 – The word “coworking” was first used by Bernard DeKoven, who described it as “working together as equals.” Individuals who are self-employed or working for different employers but , can share ideas with tools and coordinated meetings through a computer network. A space opened up in New York that same year by a software company with a flexible desk setting.
2002 – The first coworking space opened up in Schraubenfabrik, Vienna, in an old renovated factory, which began as a community center for enterprises. It expanded to include freelancers and other professionals working with cell phones and laptops. The spaces continued to grow and function under the name of Konnex Communities in 2004 – the commencement to the local network of coworking spaces.
2005 – San Francisco hosts the first coworking space in August by Brad Neuberg – he believed that home offices and business centers were unsocial and unproductive. The space offered desks, free wifi, shared lunches, bike tours, meditation and massages closing at 5:45 PM sharp. It closed after a year and replaced in 2006 under the name of the Hat Factory. London opened up 40 coworking spaces by a franchise network on five different continents. In Germany, St. Oberholz opened up its first cafes in Berlin and offered free internet. Presently, St. Oberholz offers a true coworking space above its cafe.
2006 – Coworking Wiki space opens up in San Francisco. Chris Messina, who created the Twitter hashtag, is one of the co-founders. The first full-time coworking space opens at the Hat Factory. Co-founders are Brad Neuber, Chris Messina and Tara Hunt. At this time, it was one out of about 30 coworking spaces throughout the world. Jellies opened where groups can exchange ideas in a relaxed atmosphere, without a commitment – the community can later develop into a coworking space if they wish.
2007 – The first time the word “coworking” is seen on Google’s database. The searches have increased tremendously. The term coworking has become a megamedia name. “Coworking” got into the English version of Wikipedia.
2008/2009 – Unofficial coworking meet-ups happen and planned the first Coworking conference in Brussels in 2010. In August, the Coworking Visa is cultivated- allowing members of various coworking spaces to visit other spaces for free. Cubes & Crayons was the first coworking space to open alongside the facilities for children a few months old to preschoolers. At year’s end in 2008, there were approximately 160 coworking spaces worldwide.
2009 – Germany opens Betahaus, the first official coworking space and was noted in the largest new magazine, the Spiegel. In 2010, Germany is known to be the first country in Europe to use the term “coworking”, pursuant to Google trends.
2010 – The first #CoworkingDay was celebrated by the movement. The first European coworking conference took place in Brussels. At this time, there were at least 600 coworking spaces worldwide, with more than half located in North America.
2011 – The first “Coworking Unconference” was located in Austin, Texas. Angel funding starts for a network of spaces.Large companies began to explore the coworking idea and opened their own chain of coworking spaces specializing in corporate coworking.
2012 – Coworking spaces worldwide adds up to more than 2,000 established. Media outlets such as twitter have a huge increase of tweets (over 50%) with hashtag “coworking” – more than the prior year.
2013 – As many as 100,000 members worked at a coworking space at the beginning of the year. Mid-year, the 3,000th coworking space is founded. Most of the coworking spaces run independent of networks. In an Ontario coworking space, they offered the first health insurance plan.
2015 – The New York Times writes about a new idea that sees coworking mixing with the home office at a resort or hotel. The story is, “Co-Working on Vacation: A Desk in Paradise”. The main idea of the story is combining coworking and coliving on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands – a surfing destination. The Surf Office was born, originally opened two years earlier as an experiment, making it a place attractive to freelancers, surfers and travelers.
2019-2020 New coworking offices, such as Y3WorkBar are rising to the scene to filll the void in smaller suburban cities where businesses are also thriving.
The 5 Biggest Advantages of Coworking
Small businesses that don’t want the same overhead as a traditional lease vs coworking. Since there are relatively no costs of getting set up and the coworking membership includes most (if not all) of the amenities a business needs day to day, it is no wonder why small businesses now make up a majority of coworking space users.Enterprises Yes, even large global enterprises like Nike, have partnered with coworking companies to handle their workspace needs. When you have thousands of employees who are working around the world, managing office needs can be a hassle. These companies leverage a coworking company to build out a custom space for them or they will serve as the primary anchor tenant in the space.Non-Profits: Many coworking spaces offer non-profit arrangements or discounts. Due to all-in cost savings of coworking (and being cost-conscious), these types of companies have also gravitated towards these flexible coworking relationships.
Coworking Vs Other Remote Work Alternatives
Working From Home
There are pros and cons to the classic “office culture”. Many online-based entrepreneurs get into business for themselves in order to escape certain aspects of the typical corporate lifestyle and culture. Working remotely has opened up all sorts of possibilities when it comes to running a business, or even working for someone else. Despite the benefits, there are certain things you miss out on, too.
Working from home, or hotel rooms, has countless advantages. It’s great to be able to wake up when you want, take breaks when you want, wear pants when you want…
But at the end of the day, it’s also easy to lose focus and get off track. There’s something about being in an office setting that helps to keep you motivated, on-task, and getting the most out of your time.
When you’re a freelancer or anyone else who sets your own schedule, it’s great to not have a boss looking over your shoulder and tracking your time, but you are still accountable to yourself.
There’s a certain amount of accountability that exists when you’re working among other people, even if they have nothing to do with your project, they aren’t your coworkers, and you don’t even speak a word to them.
Working From Coffee Shops or Restaurants
The second runner-up (to working from home) is coffee shops and restaurants. Many new coworking models (as of 2017), have turned these spaces during their closed or unused hours into pop-up coworking spaces. Coffee shops have been closely associated with work environments due, to the accessibility of tables and limitless coffee. Aside from this, there are other advantages like fast wifi and space to work for the cheap price of a cup of coffee. Like all benefits there are downsides. Since these spaces are often open to transient drop-ins, there could potentially be noise and other distractions preventing you from getting work done.