BusinessWeek reports today about the community-building and networking benefits of CoWorking, as a natural evolution of the coworking concepts of the pioneer of technologies for collaborative work and play Bernard DeKoven. (CoWorking Archives)
Over the past few years, co-working facilities–both grassroots, co-op-like versions and for-profit models–have started popping up across the country and the world, from Seattle to Copenhagen.
A co-working wiki hosts pages for dozens of other cities with co-working initiatives in progress. And while the concept of shared office space is nothing new to entrepreneurs, an increasing number of them are signing on and finding that the community-building and networking benefits outweigh even the virtues of a shared fax machine.
Working out of a Wi-Fi-enabled java joint in the Mission district was infinitely more pleasant and productive for him than flying solo in a home office at his Oakland apartment. And it provided the opportunity to meet other developers he might even be able to hire one day, as his Web-based car-sharing company, DartCar, grew.
In a recent report on the future of small business, the Silicon-Valley based Institute for the Future pegged co-working as a trend to watch over the next decade (see BusinessWeek.com, 1/31/07, “The Face of Entrepreneurship“). After co-working first took off with clusters of free-agent programmers and writers, its flexibility and low cost have also proven a good match for startups unwilling to sign a long-term lease. Because many of these facilities operate on a gym-membership model that doesn’t assign workers to specific desks, co-working is cheaper than most subleasing arrangements. And unlike traditional business incubators, co-working isn’t just for startups with high-growth potential.
The study’s lead author, Steve King, says the increasing popularity of co-working facilities reflects the rise of one-person “personal businesses” as well as a broader fluidity between virtual and real-world communities.
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