Idea of coworking
Coworking has become a buzzword in the past decade, with the idea growing all over the world and now taking a firm foothold in the UK. It provides a solution to what used to be an all-or-nothing problem; as a small business owner, you had to choose full-time office space with all the added expense and long term commitment which goes with it or working at home – neither of which offer much in real-world peer interaction.
To those who take advantage of coworking spaces like ours at Collabor8te, it’s an idea whose time has come. Technology has advanced to a point where coworking spaces are not only possible but a shrewd choice for micro businesses and independent professionals. Coworking means you can trade co-workers for co-collaborators; and isolation for teamwork.
A natural evolution
Writers and artists have always known about the benefits of shared workspaces. Writers, especially, have been working in cafes and coffee shops almost forever, prompting those establishments to offer free wifi as soon as it became economical.
That, in turn, attracted freelancers, consultants and anyone else who could work from a laptop. Coffee shops, however, are not the best venues for interaction, and it can get expensive drinking cappuccinos all day.
The first coworking space was opened in 2005 in San Francisco by Brad Neuberg. Brad was frustrated by the fact he can have either freedom of working as a freelancer or a community of people around him in an office job without the amount of independence he wanted, rented a feminist collective Spiral Muse space where he started first coworking ever. It was open only two days a week and it took him a lot of time to explain what and why. Neuberg started it as a non-profit organization and as a big fan of open-source, he encouraged everyone to take his coworking idea, change it as they want and open their own similar spaces.
One year later, Brad’s place just one of around thirty coworking spaces, mostly located in the US.
Taking off in recent years
In March of 2007, coworking became a popular search term on Google and by October, it had its own Wikipedia page. The first coworking space with childcare opened in 2008, and the term “coworking” soon spread across the pond to Europe and the UK. The next year, a book was published on how coworking was revolutionising the workplace in the US, contributing to the growth of the idea.
The first coworking space in the UK was opened the same year, at 2005 – The Hub in London. Since then the idea of coworking spread and nowadays there are more 33 000 coworking spaces around the world. The rate of growth is still remarkable. In 4 years it is estimated there will be 49 500 coworking spaces. Just in London, there is a new space opening every 5 days!
The future of telecommuting
Flexible working patterns, the rise of the sharing economy and more technological advances expected to emerge in the coming years, ‘work anywhere’ will become the new normal with business owners and employees moving between home, coffee shops, and coworking spaces. Remote work and home offices are more demanded by employees and their popularity has increased even among employers since it allows them to hire the best people for their businesses no matter where in the world they are. In addition 2/3 of companies offering telecommuting flexibility notice enhanced productivity of their employees and 50% less employee turnover.
It is predicted remote workers’ number in the UK will equal office-based by 2020. There is expected growth of remote work in large companies, who are more likely to offer telecommuting than SMEs. These are good signs for coworking spaces which keep increasing in number (by 42% last year with a slightly lower percentage of growth this year) and their capacities too. The number of desks increased by 20% last year in already existing spaces.
Watch this (coworking) space to see where this amazing industry leads us next…