Coworking is a type of work organization that combines two concepts: a shared workspace in a suitable physical space (connectivity , IT), and a network of workers couraging trade and openness. The idea behind is to allow self-employed workers not to remain isolated at home and be able to find in this place and through this network a space of socialization. The promoters of these places have some mythical references, like Mitteleuropa and Saint-Germain-des-Prés where artists, writers and intellectuals were supposed to meet for a coffee or a beer, in a creative mix between work and conviviality. Coworking spaces were born in San Francisco in 2005. These shared workspaces, third place between work and home work business is rapidly expanding. They bring the comfort of home work and wealth social work.
There are today nearly 1,800 coworking spaces across all 5 continents. In Europe there are now nearly 760. The development in European countries remains very supported with an annual increase (from August 2011 to August 2012) of 97%. The United States, which were the initiators, remain dynamic. But it is now the countries of Africa and South America that are creating this type of space. Collaborative work and networking is a fundamental shift driven by the expansion of new technologies and start-ups such as Offices Share (BAP) in France or 42 Floors in the United States. This new form of work fundamentally questions the ancient pyramid theories of work. Today, the work is done in an ad hoc network aggregation skills, more flexible than the very hierarchical corporate structures, potentially replacing the network company.
Coworking spaces create ecosystems in which people – enterprising and creative temperament – meet and where the values of innovation and openness prevail. This is a voluntary approach: thus the relationship to work is more individualized relative to normal working conditions. The opening of these places in different projects promotes meetings and mixing of ideas. The type of relationship is also less formal and less hierarchical. Therefore, there is a certain freedom of tone and initiative driven by natural curiosity. Regular presentations of different projects may also occur in coworking spaces.
The values in the field shared by co-working can be defined as follows:
– Cooperation over competition
– Community over agendas
– Participation over observation
– Doing over saying
– Friendship over formality
– Boldness over insurance
– Learning over expertise
– People over personalities
Proof of concept has been made. Those who tried coworking understood the immense value that resides there and those who observed the trend in ambush are ready to embark on the adventure. But at the same time, existing spaces are still trying to validate an economic model. The more established areas wonder about the next step.
Traditional businesses are struggling. They do not innovate fast enough, margins weaken, talent leave. They are left with surplus property. They know that coworking logic are carriers of innovation. They may therefore decide to allocate a portion of their local independent passage way free. Coworking can be a logical extension of a business and allow unite a community around the business and tap into a pool of passionate young talents.
Change work habits in a changing society. Enable and generate voluntary and motivated trade. The conditions for innovation facing new challenges.
Article by Gréta du Velay