Coworking is a workplace trend that Web Worker Daily has been following closely of late and one which seems to be experiencing an emerging global acceptance – indeed, myself and Aliza Sherman here at WWD have directly (though separately) been involved in developing coworking spaces and communities.
A confluence of technology, culture, a faltering global economy and fuel costs are helping this fringe working pattern move closer to the mainstream. So here’s a roundup of recent developments in coworking…
Will the Recession Drive Coworking Demand?
The global coworking mailing list has been discussing the impact of recent global turbulence in the economy and its implications for coworking. Commenters have concluded that freelancers and the demand for coworking will rise as the economy shrinks and people decide to take their careers into their own hands. Others go on to discuss that hotdesking isn’t enough, but a powerful and helpful support network of other coworkers is desirable. Interestingly, some predict that coworking spaces will see the arrival of non-digital workers, from realtors to financial professionals.
Jerusalem recently saw the launch of it’s first coworking community, backed by PresenTense, an organisation seeking to energize grassroots Jewish innovators.
FlyTheCoop: A Coworking Co-operative in Manchester
Manchester in the UK hosts one of the country’s thriving digital communities and a number of enterprising individuals have come together in the past to host coworking days sponsored by public bodies at various venues. Now, the nascent coworking community is close to securing its own premises and is promoting collective ownership of the economic risks and rewards by offering all residents the chance to invest in a cooperative structure – called FlyTheCoop. The venture’s ownership structure was no doubt inspired by the presence of Manchester’s Co-operative Group, the world’s largest consumer owned business.
Corporate Coworking in London
We’ve previously written about companies like Timbuk2 making spare desks available to coworkers as a means of bringing external creativity and influence into their corporate culture. Last week, Sun Microsystems’ Startup Essentials program announced a collaboration with London-based Huddle to offer free hotdesks to members of its program.
Decline of the American Commute?
A recently published study from the US Department of Transportation, shows that between August 2007 and August 2008, Americans drove fifteen billion fewer miles. An astonishing statistic implying a rise in telecommuting, but also signaling that the development of public transport alternatives – funded by gas taxes – may be under threat.
Coworking resides at an interesting nexus of technology commerce, politics and civic development. Though increasingly mainstream in the technology sector, its remains a concept which many find baffling to grasp outside the creative and digital industries – here’s where all of us involved in using or operating coworking communities and spaces need to think more broadly about the applicability of this lifestyle beyond our immediate horizons.