First published by the European Coworking Assembly
For people to have a better understanding of coworking it is important to understand its history. In this way it serves as a comparison and reference point, with that in mind it can then help us predict the future as well.
Piotr Boulangé, who is the Founder and CEO of Multi Cowork, Director of Founder Institute Warsaw, and a Coworking Expert provides more insight into how understanding the history of coworking can also help predict its future.
Coworking first started as a way to solve a problem creative individuals experienced when working at home. Understanding that this is the way coworking had first started can help people grasp how we come to and define new coworking trends and ideas.
What makes a coworking space?
One of the key aspects of coworking is socialisation. Some of the results of socialisation include a person’s creativity development or the serendipity effect. Before the pandemic had occurred there was a high level of socialisation in the coworking space, however, it is not as visible in today’s time.
Changes in the space
During a pre-pandemic time, the coworking space was where individuals met other people, drank coffee together, and heard the occasional noise of the coffee machine. However, this has changed with bigger companies now using the coworking space, in the sense that they have now introduced flexible offices.
One of the most prominent differences between the pre-pandemic coworking spaces and the current ones is that the space was mainly catered to creatives. In today’s landscape coworking spaces has a more business orientated appearance.
It looks more similar to a reception area with an open space, providing it with an atmosphere that resembles business offices. This has contributed to there being more company employees occupying the space than freelancers.
How the past can help predict the future
Originally the coworking space was created by freelancers for other freelancers to use. However, due to recent events, this has changed. Gradually corporations are taking over these spaces so that their employees can use them as they are effective HR strategies for them.
With the isolation, COVID brought many people are still recovering from this. Corporations realised that their employees need an environmentally social space where they can work away from home, but not in a strict office environment.
This change, however, does come at a cost as the coworking space is losing its creativity. That being said, this is not necessarily a bad thing. We need to learn to cope with this change and future changes.
Coworking spaces have to change and adapt in a way that combines the creative and corporate sectors, to make the process less difficult for corporate employees and freelancers.