A coworking (or co-working) space provides individuals or groups with desk space, meeting rooms and offices.
According to wikipedia (8/2017), “Coworking is a style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation.”
For Gandini (2015) “Coworking spaces are shared workplaces utilised by different sorts of knowledge professionals, mostly freelancers, working in various degrees of specialisation in the vast domain of the knowledge industry. Practically conceived as office-renting facilities where workers hire a desk and a wi-fi connection these are, more importantly, places where independent professionals live their daily routines side-by-side with professional peers, largely working in the same sector – a circumstance which has huge implications on the nature of their job, the relevance of social relations across their own professional networks and – ultimately – their existence as productive workers in the knowledge economy.”
Coworking spaces are different from incubators, accelerators, colliders or executive suites, although there can be overlap. For example the impact hub network are part of innovation lab, part business incubator, and part community center.
For Spinuzzi (2012:433) “coworking is a superclass that encompasses the good-neighbors and good-partners configurations as well as other possible configurations that similarly attempt to network activities within a given space.”. He identified two major configurations or coworking:
- Good neighbors: "unoffice metaphor", work is parallel and collaboration happens as neighbors who want to stay neighbors.
- Good partners: "federated workspace", collaboration as partners.
Gandini (2015) points out a difference between coworking, i.e. a "third way" or working halfway between a standard workplace and a freelancer, and co-working, i.e. working together on a project.
- fab lab, a specific form for makers.
Coworking space can offer some or all of the following:
- Shared large rooms with tables
- Workplaces (where you could leave your stuff)
- Conference rooms
- A café / social space
- Events and workshops that target specific groups
Often, a coworking spaces promote some specific social values.
In addition, coworking spaces may offer
- Match making services with investors and clients
- Other incubator and accelerator services
- Between 5 and several hundred, depending on time and the space required
Coworking does have to seem a positive impact on both outcomes and motivational factors and is particularly attractive to people who normally would work out of home.
It attracts freelancers and requires a self-entrepreneurial ethos. According to Gandini (2015), “some of the most influential and recent studies in the context of urban economies and creative industries (Gill and Pratt, 2008; Pratt, 2008; Grugulis and Stoyanova 2011, 2012) have shown how knowledge workers are largely freelance, precarious professionals characterised by a necessity to entertain relationships and manage social capital across their professional network as a decisive source for incoming jobs.”
On the flip side, these spaces can be catch basins for precarious workers, i.e. a new form knowledge proletarians.
- Coworking (Wikipedia)
4.2 Coworking organizations
- DeGuzman, Genevieve V.; Tang, Andrew I. (August 2011). Working in the UnOffice: A Guide to Coworking for Indie Workers, Small Businesses, and Nonprofits. Night Owls Press. ISBN 978-1-937-64501-4.
- Parrino, L. (2015). Coworking: assessing the role of proximity in knowledge exchange. Knowledge Management Research & Practice, 13(3), 261-271. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/kmrp.2013.47 (Access restricted)
- Fost, D. (2008). They’re working on their own, just side by side. New York Times, 20. They're working on their own, just side by side
- Gandini, A. (2015). The rise of coworking spaces: A literature review. ephemera, 15(1), 193. http://www.ephemerajournal.org/contribution/rise-coworking-spaces-literature-review
- Jones, Drew; Sundsted, Todd; Bacigalupo, Tony (2009-10-27). I'm Outta Here: how co-working is making the office obsolete. NotanMBA Press. ISBN 978-0982306703.
- Schuermann, Mathias (2014-02-19). Coworking Space: A Potent Business Model for Plug 'n Play and Indie Workers. epubli GmbH.
- Spinuzzi, C. (2012). Working alone together: Coworking as emergent collaborative activity. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 26(4), 399-441. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1050651912444070