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”.
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.
- 2016 – Coworking and coliving idea broadened. WeWork offered residential coliving in New York City, named WeLive. The units are mostly studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom – all have a private kitchen and at least one private bathroom. They are typically furnished, decorated and set up with cable, also internet move-in ready. They also have a community manager to plan events, etc. New York and California Campus coliving closes its 34 locations.
- 2017 – WeWork raises funding and becomes the most highly valued US private tech companies and its company is Uber and AirBnB. Valued at $20 Billion. 1.2 million people worldwide would have worked at a coworking space.
- 2018– As of 2018, the market has a variety of huge players that are giving WeWork a run for its money. Coworking franchises such as Impact hub, Venture X, and Serendipity are expanding throughout the space.
- 2019 – WeWork had an unsuccessful IPO attempt with SoftBank causing WeWork’s valuation to drop from 49 billion to 8 billion allowing SoftBank to seize control of the company and fire its management team.
- 2019-2020 New coworking platforms like DropDesk are rising to the scene to filll the void between coworking software, spaces, and remote workers.
The 5 Biggest Advantages of Coworking
We’ll touch on many of these benefits of coworking spaces throughout this article, but here’s a rundown of the major reasons why people love using coworking spaces.
- Motivation: There’s just an energy of productivity in the air when you’re in a room full of driven people. It’s nearly impossible to slack off. You will get a lot done.
- Community: There’s a sense of community. In places with regulars and familiar faces, it’s amazing how far above and beyond the community will go to help one another succeed.
- Flexibility: Rather than signing a long-term lease, you can get much more flexible deals with coworking spaces. It’s great for startups with small bootstrap budgets, and even independent freelancers can find affordable options.
- Getting Outside of the Home: Working from home is great, but it’s easy to fall into a rut, too. Being around other people is good for your spirits, it can keep you sharp and is great for creativity.
- Networking: When you have so many people with so much in common, it’s only a matter of time until you start to network and new opportunities start to flow organically.
Who Uses Coworking Spaces?
Coworking spaces are popular in the startup and freelancing worlds. When coworking spaces came about, it was typical to think “startup” and picture some (over the top) office building where everyone rides around on unicycles and sits in giant bean bag chairs. However, its not just budget-conscious startups that take advantage of coworking. So who uses coworking spaces?
Freelancers or Remote Workers
Since freelancers and other 1099’s work for themselves, having a pay-as-go type of arrangement can save a fortune.
Not only that, but a coworking space is a great way to meet other entrepreneurs and freelancers. It’s an excellent place to network.
Whether you’re a digital publisher, a creative freelancer, a programmer, or more of a Jack/Jill of all trades, there’s a very high likelihood you’ll meet people at a coworking space that are working on similar things that you are.
Beyond that, you may even have a chance to chat with people that can help out with some of the areas that are not your strengths. When you have so many people in one space, with such a diversity of talents, it’s incredible what you can come up with – even if everyone’s kind of doing their own thing.
Don’t get the wrong idea, it’s not like everyone is just sitting around talking to everybody about their projects, but there’s definitely a bit of downtime and areas you can chat while taking a break.
But the real appeal is the raw, unadulterated focus and motivation you’ll encounter in most good coworking spaces. There’s truly a special energy when you’ve got a room filled with motivated people who are all working towards building their dreams.
Small businesses that don’t want the same overhead as a traditional lease, have flocked to 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.
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.
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.