Coworking - what is the essential feature?
Coworking literally means “working side by side”. With coworking, people work - on their own goals or on their tasks for a company - at the same time and in the immediate vicinity in one and the same space. The counterpart to this is the office for sole use: the exclusive use of an area without third parties.
Basically, coworking has been around since the existence of project work with several participants. As a consciously designed workplace concept, coworking has its origins around 15 years ago in the USA.
What are coworking spaces?
Coworking spaces are, in the simplest sense, spaces in which coworking is possible. These spaces are mostly characterized by plug & play workplaces, open spaces, meeting and communication zones, a common reception, community areas, high-speed internet, good technical equipment, a culture of openness and a room design aimed at feeling good. In addition, the space available is usually supplemented by services, e.g. concierge and catering.
The first space specifically designated and operated as coworking spaces was opened in San Francisco in 2005.
What are the motives for coworking?
Ideally, the outcome of coexistence is a feeling of togetherness. In this way, the common space can become a common mindspace - the sequence of steps: from sharing the space to sharing ideas, resources, complementary competencies for a joint project and business. To name just one example, it should be obvious that architects, structural engineers, interior design and building services engineers can complement each other when planning a building. In this manner, the working environment becomes a learning environment, meeting place and business incubator.
Collaboration is like a musical piece in coworking. In practice, however, this can tune can only play if the right people find each other. A pioneer of this concept is the company ShareYourSpace, whose digital marketplace shareyourspace.com allows the providers and seekers of workspaces to define their desired coworkers – keyword: matchmaking.
Further motives for coworking are the spatial and temporal flexibility associated with coworking offers when renting workspaces, network ambitions, a comparatively hip work-life style and the community culture. Work is becoming "social".
Who offers coworking?
Operators of coworking spaces - for example WeWork - have made coworking their core business. You rent (or acquire) office space and then rent it out to freelancers, startups or teams of corporates in small parts and flexibly in terms of time. Services are provided for this, such as concierge or catering.
However, coworking is by no means restricted to the aforementioned space operators. In fact, coworking is possible wherever workspace can be shared with one another. Every space owner - whether owner, tenant or sub-tenant - can take in guests for a temporary or permanent period for coworking. Accordingly, there is coworking at agencies, startups, SMB and large corporates.
Where can you find coworking spaces?
Both offers from coworking space operators and offers from space owners and companies of all kinds can be found on the ShareYourSpace marketplace and can also be booked here. The company has translated sharing into the office according to the Airbnb principle. The Mission: Boosting Flexibility + Sustainability In The Office World! Why sustainability? Because the existing offices (over 500 million square meters in Germany alone) are better utilized through sharing and, as a result, new buildings, surface sealing and workplace-related commuting can be reduced.
Coworking - quo vadis?
In the early years, there were only a few coworking spaces, in large cities and urban areas, but today the concept of this form of work and the spaces have established themselves as an integral part of New Work - both within the company and across the board, worldwide and also in the region.
The lion's share of offices and workspaces are still required for the sole use of the space - the counterpart to coworking ("I or the team or the company exclusively in the office"). But coworking is undeniably gaining in relevance. The Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences have made this even more relevant. Coworking is becoming the most popular form of the "third place", the third workspace, alongside the classic workplace in the company and the home office. The reasons are the aforementioned: flexibility in spaces and in working time, networking, community, collaboration.
In addition, coworking as an “office as a service everywhere” can help to solve the urban / rural dilemma. Office hubs in the geographic region around cities and satellite offices, can be an intelligent transport, living and work solution by combining these factors to benefit all citizens. In the end, coworking and more even has the potential to become a smart city concept and an instrument of regional mobility development.