It is undeniable that the popularity of hybrid work and remote work is continuously growing. That is why more and more people are getting curious about what a coworking space really is.
Fortunately, you are in the right place because here we are going to talk about the fundamentals of a coworking space, who can benefit from them, how to choose the right one for you, as well as any other questions you might have. Is a coworking space appropriate for you? Well, let’s find out.
What Is a Coworking Space?
Generally, coworking exists when people gather in a particular space where they can work independently on their individual projects. Sometimes they could be in groups working on the same project. This is quite different from working in an office since the people working in a coworking space are not employed by the same company.
However, the amenities you can find in a traditional office are also available in coworking spaces and even more. Perhaps the major difference is flexibility since you are not required to sign a long-term lease contract for a coworking space.
In most coworking spaces, you can find printers, Wi-Fi, conference rooms, as well as snacks, coffee, or tea. Some may offer startup resources such as advisors, coaches, and digital assets, among others. You can even find advanced technologies such as 3D printers, which might be inaccessible otherwise. However, there are also budget-conscious coworking spaces that may only offer basic amenities like Wi-Fi and a desk.
According to Wikipedia, coworking refers to a situation where workers from various companies share an office space, taking advantage of the convenience and cost savings by using common infrastructure, including utilities, custodial services, equipment, and receptionists.
Is It Co-working or Coworking?
Lately, there has been a debate on whether coworking should have a hyphen or not. So, how did it all start? The hyphenated co-working mainly exists because of the AP Stylebook used by most journalists worldwide.
The Stylebook shows the recommended punctuation and spelling of commonly used words and names. Typically, the AP Stylebook prefers prefixes such as co-owner.
Consequently, this has been used for the term coworking as well. So, which one should we use? Ultimately, the coworking industry is still new, and this term has not been connected to other traditional terms, which is why it would be fine to use “coworking”.
What are the Different Types of Coworking Spaces?
Generally, coworking spaces come in various sizes and shapes. There are several factors to consider when looking for a location. Keep in mind that the workspace environment, amenities, and community differ from one coworking space to another. Here, we are going to break down some of the major types of coworking spaces you can choose from.
Open workspaces are synonymous with coworking because this is how coworking originally started. In these workspaces, you can find dedicated desks or hot desks where workers from different companies share common amenities.
The opposite of open workspaces is private workspaces. These spaces are like custom suites or offices specifically created for large teams. Workers from one company could either share a dedicated room or multiple areas, depending on the space leased by the company.
It is often beneficial to network with people who have similar experiences and interests. This is the main idea behind industry-specific spaces. These spaces are designed for people working in a common industry.
For instance, there are coworking spaces specifically created for creative professions. Creative professionals such as videographers, artists, and graphic designers can all work in the same area. In industry-specific spaces, open and private workspaces can also be combined.
For more selective workers, venture capital spaces or incubators are available. The primary purpose of this type of workspace is to attract and fund companies by offering them the support they need. Venture firms usually offer reduced rent in return for equity from these companies.
Aside from choosing the right type of workspace, you should also consider the aesthetics. Keep in mind that coworking environments vary from relaxed and unconventional to professional and corporate.
It is crucial that you select a space that reflects your culture. Additionally, you can also request on-demand spaces from these coworking spaces. For instance, you might want to book a virtual package or a meeting room in addition to your regular plan.
How Coworking Started
The first coworking space was invented by hackers in Berlin in 1995. The concept was to share information, space, and ideas to accomplish tasks. Recently, coworking spaces have added classes, seminars, and various social events, which have helped in creating more community spaces. Hackerspaces can also be found in Brooklyn, Santa Clara, and San Francisco.
During the same year, Bernard DeKoven first used the term coworking, which means “working together as equals.” These people, either working for different companies or self-employed, shared ideas and tools and conducted meetings using a computer network. Consequently, it was also the year that a software company opened a space with a flexible desk setting in New York.
The First Coworking Space
The first coworking space was opened in 2002 in Schraubenfabrik, Vienna. It was located in a renovated factory and was intended as a community center for businesses. Over time, it grew to include freelancers and other people working with their laptops and cell phones. Later, in 2004, these spaces continued to grow and were named Konnex Communities.
In 2005, Brad Neuberg launched the first coworking space in San Francisco with the belief that business centers and home offices were less productive and less social. In this space, you could find free Wi-Fi, desks, bike tours, lunches, massages, and meditation.
Unfortunately, after a year of operation, it closed and was re-established in 2006 with the new name Hat Factory. Later, 40 coworking spaces were opened in London, and Berlin’s cafes offered free internet. Currently, St. Oberholz opened a coworking space above its cafe.
In 2006, Chris Messina, the inventor of the Twitter hashtag, co-founded the Coworking Wiki space in San Francisco. At the Hat Factory, a full-time coworking space was co-founded by Chris Messina, Brad Neuber, and Tara Hunt.
It was considered one of the 30 coworking spaces worldwide during that time. Jellies were opened so that people could share ideas in a relaxed environment without any commitment.
The First Coworking Conference
The first time “coworking” appeared in Google’s database was in 2007. Since then, searches for coworking have grown tremendously. In 2010, the first Coworking conference took place in Brussels. By this time, there were already approximately 160 coworking spaces worldwide, with most of them located in North America.
Consequently, the Coworking Visa was launched, allowing members to visit other coworking spaces for free. By the end of 2008, there were about 160 coworking spaces worldwide.
The first coworking space in Germany opened in 2009 and was named Betahaus. It was featured in the largest magazine, Spiegel. Additionally, Germany was the first country in Europe to use the term coworking, thanks to Google trends.
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