Apr 21, 2014
The world has witnessed a boom of diverse realms in the past two decades. Bitcoin, Facebook and smartphones being the leader. Another global phenomenon that we have observed in this tiny minuscule of time is the meteoric growth of coworking spaces. Its evolutionary path was an explosive one. Almost unimaginable 20 years ago, it hatched from a choice of smaller industries to a full-fledged and comprehensive option for an umbrella of universal businesses. It has indeed carved its way from an experimental strategy to a desirable alternative; for it brings about worthwhile and beneficial impact upon co-workers.
Necessity is the mother of all inventions. The global financial crisis made it mandatory for corporates to bring in efficiencies in space management. Supplemented by the needs and wants of the new generation, the budding popularity of such spaces is expected to only increase further. Moreover, the growing demand from freelancers, consultants and corporates led to co-working spaces growing like never. However, the rudimentary version of shared workspaces did not intend to crackle a carton of crackers by triggering an innovation that would drastically transform the world’s working system.
C-base, founded in 1995 in Berlin was the first in the first of its kind, but it was intended for computer engineers and software employees. it was a community-oriented hackerspace that gave a platform for IT enthusiasts to work under one roof, share ideas, interact and collaborate on projects. The term coworking was coined in 1999 by Bernard DeKoven. Another milestone in 1999 was the inception of 42 West 24 in New York City. Although it rented out desks and shared spaces to freelancers and teams, it lacked the community spirit which is the main essence of coworking.
The first official coworking space was inaugurated in 2005. Brad Neuberg is credited with opening the first coworking space in San Fransisco. Housed in a feminist collective, Spiral Muse, it had its first coworker Ray Baxter. When it gradually became a hotspot, Brad had to relocate to a better version of coworking space, now named The Hat Factory. When the success story of this concept spread far and wide, many investors latched onto this idea. Many forerunners of the modern coworking spaces came into existence in the year 2005. The first Hub situated at the Angel station was the first in London and went on to snowball into a huge franchise it is today. St. Oberholz was a café in Germany that allowed free access to the internet, labeled as the forerunner of coworking spaces in Germany.
New York City’s first coworking space, Brooklyn Coworking, opened up in 2006. Jelly another flexible workspace encouraged remote workers to meet up in their space, was also founded that year and expanded to cities like Austin and Phoenix in 2007. Step by step, the trend of coworking spread from states to countries to continents. The Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC) is a global authority in the realm of coworking that came into existence in 2009. Today GCUC is an enormous coworking staple, with thousands attending events all across the globe. On 9th August 2009, the first International Coworking day was celebrated. It marks coworking as a major cornerstone in the world. By 2012, this trend galloped into a full-fledged industry with over 2000 coworking spaces all over the world. In 2017, nearly 1.1 million people worked at the 13,800 coworking spaces around the world.
Coworking spaces, today, are not confined to small businesses or start-ups. Even large organizations are taking advantage of coworking spaces. Organizations like HSBC and Microsoft are gung-ho about the concept. Millennials constitute a majority of India’s workforce and are adaptive but want variety and color in their profession. Coworking space brings a drastic change in the way people work. Agile workplaces and a vibrant ambiance help the new workforce deliver better, be productive, establish contacts and also enhance one’s social skills.
It is a better alternative even for the employer’s side. lessened overhead costs, reduced management and diminished risk of taking care of everything singlehandedly. It diverts the employer’s attention from irrelevant affairs and readjusts their focus on major, profit-bearing matters. This has resulted in a huge jump in the coworking share in total office leasing which increased from 5% in 2017 to 8% in 2018. In 1Q 2019, it increased further to 12% with the trend moving only upwards. It is inevitable that by 2030, flexible workspaces could comprise a major share of corporate commercial property portfolios worldwide and carve for itself a firm holding.