At the confluence of a newly mobile, freelance workforce and the massive growth of the sharing economy, coworking spaces are exploding in popularity—coworking spaces now number 2,500 globally, with 83% growth occurring between 2012 and 2013 alone. In fact, it’s estimated that new coworking spaces are opening at a clip of 4.5 per day. With the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating that by 2020 40% of the total workforce (to the tune of 65 million Americans) will exist as ‘freelancers, temps, independent contractors and solopreneurs’, it’s a safe bet that flexible workspaces with all the amenities (and none of the cubicles) of traditional offices are going to continue to pop up to address this vast and rapidly expanding market.

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But while coworking venues and the coworking workforce (or coworkforce, if you will) have come a long way, the software that venue managers use to control and operate workspaces have not—most still employ a klugey setup consisting of Excel, Outlook, Gmail, or even Hotmail (gas!p), and an invoicing system. This most often leads to double-bookings of meeting rooms, desks, and amenities—much to the chagrin of members, and with a detrimental effect on your member retention. What if there was a better way?

Surprise! There is. A new breed of solutions offer holistic platforms focused on addressing the very specific needs of workspaces. By incorporating online booking, billing, payments, plan management and calendaring within one modernized, cloud-based solution, workspace management software can make a complex task like managing a coworking office a seamless experience from booking to billing. Here’s how it can help:

Online Booking

Email is so 2000. Don’t get me started on phones. Never mind the fact that for both you have to employ someone (or invest your own time) to manage every booking request, check for scheduling conflicts, and plug it into the calendar. If you’re using a webform for bookings and you’re not responsive enough, your member may have already moved on to another location by the time you get back to them.

With a workspace management system, availability is updated on your website in real time (no accidental double-booking!), and members can book effortlessly from either web or mobile, reducing abandoned bookings.

Billing and Payments

Throw your cash register away.

Go paperless (with both invoices and money) and take your billing and payment system digital. Quickly and easily invoice your members for their automatically tracked bookings and let them pay via PayPal. Set up automatic recurring bills for your regulars—all with no more effort than a few clicks of a button.

Data and Analytics

Do you have the insights necessary to optimize your business and space?

You do now. Managing a coworking space is more involved than just putting people in desks and rooms—and a good workspace management app should provide your members and staff a new experience, and tools they will actually use. A more engaged community will give you the information to help you to tailor your offerings and drive more business.

Modern coworking spaces demand modern solutions that are as flexible and multifaceted as their client base. We designed and built ShareDesk Optix with this specifically in mind—so that workspace managers can unify all the features they need under one umbrella and give their space a competitive edge as the coworking space continues to heat up

Looking for a solution that helps you manage your members and space?

Give ShareDesk Optix® a try for 30-days, for free.

 

Try Optix

Say hello to Optix

ShareDesk —  January 15, 2015

We’re excited to announce the launch of Sharedesk Optix®! ShareDesk Optix is a cloud-based flexible workspace management solution that will power our global network of coworking spaces and serviced offices.

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This launch brings us a step closer to our mission of evolving how people and companies work by making workspaces more flexible.

“We are in midst of a major shift in the way people work. The workplace of the future will be designed around the individual, to allow professionals to work from anywhere, anytime.” says Kia Rahmani, ShareDesk’s on-the-go CEO. “With this shift comes greater flexibility, access to information and improved productivity for both people and spaces.”

ShareDesk now offers two fully integrated applications: ShareDesk Marketplace and ShareDesk Optix®. We are continuing to provide our users with a vast selection of available work and meeting spaces on our marketplace and now helping simplify shared space management for our venue partners.

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ShareDesk Optix® features include:

  • Real-time venue availability and instant booking to simplify transactions and make coordinating member activity a breeze
  • Automated invoicing and payments to offer a seamless solution to billing
  • A built-in CRM system that facilitates tailored services to impress your clients
  • Data and analytics tracking on venue usage activities to help you to gain insights into your business so that you can strategize and maximize growth opportunities

If your coworking venue is likened to a household, then Optix® is your most trustworthy butler. In a sensible and stewardly fashion, Optix® simplifies the logistics of managing your serviced office space by helping you remove spreadsheets, paper-based check-ins, and other complex CRM tools, keeping your work headache-free. The result? You will be free to channel your energy on the more important aspects of your business – enriching your coworking community, nurturing collaboration, and expanding your space into a more dynamic and productive working environment.

Give ShareDesk Optix® a try for 30-days, for free.

 

Try Optix

 

Philipp Hentschel, Co-founder of welance

Philipp Hentschel is the co-founder of welance, one of Berlin’s well-known coworking spaces located in the heart of the Kreuzberg neighbourhood. Having freelanced himself for over 12 years, Philipp has always understood the benefits of working alongside others in the same space. However, it wasn’t until four years ago when he teamed up with four other freelancers, that welance was born.

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“Welance stands for we, the collective, and freelancers. We believe that when competence, confidence and the belief in common goals come together, the combined forces can unfold their knowledge and expertise.”

Welance recently expanded to Barcelona where the collective is running a remote-work-flat, aiming to provide the best space for Barcelona freelancers to work and hoping to be influenced by the creative capital that exists there. With an emphasis on supporting freelancers, welance not only offers space but also services such as design and web development. Philipp believes that it’s not always about the size of the space, and more about creating a unique community. He is selective with the professionals he welcomes into the space and strives to create a platform for exchange with like-minded people.

After recently returning from the Coworking Europe Conference in Lisbon, where he spoke on a panel titled “Independent workers and nomadic employees: Will coworking spaces be the “exoskeleton” of the new workforce generation?”, Philipp shared with us his thoughts on the future of work.

“There were two concepts that stood out for me. One being that coworking is the future of work and as the market continues to grow, we will see the rise of different types of coworkers, one of them being the “proworker” or the so-called office nomads, who are regularly changing workplaces based on their needs and locations.

Second, established coworking spaces should focus on adding value to their communities and ensuring that they are supporting alternative ways of work for young professionals. That’s what makes us unique and it can’t be copied by any corporate.”

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Welance has been a part of the ShareDesk community since 2012. Philipp shared his experience with us, on what is has been like being a ShareDesk venue partner.

“ShareDesk is the number one source for looking for flexible office space. I have met many international clients through ShareDesk, individuals with different backgrounds, ideas and ways of working. The platform gives me exposure to an international audience, and it’s important for them to get access. “

Interested in collaborating with the freelancers at welance? Book a work or meeting space at welance

 

About the ShareDesk Blog Series ‘The Future of Work With…’

‘The Future of Work With…’ is a blog series profiling members of the ShareDesk community. We are speaking with our diverse network of entrepreneurs, business travellers, industry thought leaders, freelancers, and flexible workplace operators, and sharing their stories and experiences on how they dream up a more flexible future for work.

Do you want to share your perspective? Contact us.

Do you live and work in Barcelona? If you don’t, you probably wish you did… sunny and 15°C (59°F) in December, need I say more?

Learn about real-time market prices for desks, offices, and meeting spaces. With the average price of a hot desk for a day being €24.00, compared to €13.00 in Berlin, and £22.00 in London, Barcelona is on the more expensive side. However, Barcelona ranks most affordable in monthly private office rentals.

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Since 2010, Barcelona’s flexible work movement has been expanding, with many architectural firms in particular, offering their studios as coworking spaces. Barcelona coworking has gone mainstream, despite the fact that the city does not display the environmental factors that foster activity-based work in many other cities such London and New York: low vacancy and high rental rates. In 2013, Barcelona put itself on the map by hosting the 4th Conference, inviting over 300 participants from 30 countries to attend. Barcelona is rapidly evolving to become a city that fully embraces the mobile work model.

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Read More

 

About the ShareDesk Flexible Workspace Index

The ShareDesk Flexible Workspace Index is the first-ever global price index for flexible office space. Real-time prices adjust as venues add their spaces to the ShareDesk Marketplace.

Have questions or like this information to be available in your city? Contact us.

Do you live and work in Berlin? Have you ever wondered if you are over-paying for your space?

This week, Berlin is our city. Learn about real-time market prices for desks, offices, and meeting spaces. With the average price of a desk for a day being €14.00, compared to US$36.00 in New York, and £31.00 in London, Berlin is an affordable place to grab a desk in a shared office.

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Are you a partner venue? Make the best pricing decisions in order to stay competitive.
Are you a user? Learn more about the cost and qualities for flexible work and meeting space rentals in Berlin.

Learn more about flexible work, commercial real estate and what it is like to work and live in Berlin here: Flexible Workspace Index for Berlin

Guest Blog written by Jeremy Neuner & Ryan Coonerty, Co-Founders of NextSpace and Authors of The Rise of the Naked Economy

Ready to give up your cubicle, your commute, and your daily grind? Tired of trading your freedom and flexibility for the “security” that comes from a “real job.” Frustrated by the “either/or” choice between having a career and having a family? Ready to find a way to make a living and make a life on your own terms? Then you’re ready for the Naked Economy.

A year ago, we published our book, The Rise of the Naked Economy: How to Benefit From the Changing Workplace.  The book profiles a group of brave pioneers who are finding new ways to work: from Ben Gran, who traded a job that was literally killing him for the freedom and flexibility of being a freelance writer in his hometown in Iowa, to Heather Stephenson, who integrates being a successful entrepreneur with being an awesome mom.  Since the book came out, we’ve been inspired by hundreds of people—many of them members at NextSpace, the coworking company that we started in 2008—who are challenging the status quo of how, where, and why we work.

“We’ve been inspired by hundreds of people who are challenging the status quo of how, where, and why we work.”

What’s driving this shift in work? No surprise, the biggest driver is the rapid growth in mobile technology (fun fact: the mobile smart phone is the most rapidly adopted technology in the history of the human species).  Combine mobile technology with ubiquitous Internet connectivity, cloud-based applications, and new marketplaces for talent (think: Elance and oDesk) and, voila!, a revolution of work is born.

But it’s not just technology that’s causing our society fundamentally to re-think work. Instead, people like Ben and Heather are motivated by a deep, almost primal, desire to take control of their work, their lives, and their well-being.  As Danny Crichton wrote in a recent TechCrunch column, “Through labor marketplaces and mobile apps, we are creating a world where workers are fundamentally in control of their economic lives.”  By seizing this control, we can create an economy and a society that are happier, healthier, more productive, and more innovative.  That’s the essence of the Naked Economy.

“We can create an economy and a society that are happier, healthier, more productive, and more innovative.”

We love running a coworking company because we get to spend our days immersed in a community of people who are passionate about creating the Naked Economy.  In fact, we think this collective desire to make a living and make a life on our own terms—rather than on terms dictated by big companies—will drive the continued growth of the coworking industry.  Sure, coworking spaces provide mobile workers, telecommuters, and entrepreneurs with flexible, inexpensive alternatives to working at home or at the local coffee shop.  And the early rise of the coworking industry stemmed from meeting that need.  But flexible workspace is just the beginning.  The collective actions of the workers who see coworking not just as a workspace, but as a way to take control of their economic and social well-being, will be the force that propels the next wave of growth in the industry. We’re hopeful and confident that the impact will a happier, healthier, more productive, more innovative society.

Interested in joining the Naked Economy? Check out one of NextSpace’s locations!

NextSpace Union Square
NextSpace River North
NextSpace Berkeley
NextSpace San Francisco
NextSpace Los Angeles
NextSpace Santa Cruz
NextSpace Potrero Hill
NextSpace San Jose
NextSpace Venice Beach

About the ShareDesk Blog Series ‘The Future of Work With…’

‘The Future of Work With…’ is a blog series profiling members of the ShareDesk community. We are speaking with our diverse network of entrepreneurs, business travellers, industry thought leaders, freelancers, and flexible workplace operators, and sharing their stories and experiences on how they dream up a more flexible future for work.

Are you part of the ShareDesk community and have an interesting story to share? Contact us.

Cecilia Tham, Founder of Makers of Barcelona

Cecilia Tham is the founder of Makers of Barcelona, one of Barcelona’s first and largest coworking and maker spaces, hosting over 200 creative professionals and 35 companies. Housed in a former textile factory in the center of Barcelona’s bustling city center, Makers of Barcelona (MOB) claims to be “the platform for change”, both in and around the community.

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Known as the Mastermind behind the space, we reached out to Cecilia to learn more about MOB and her story. “Growing up as a Chinese American, I have always been the underdog, or the black sheep,” Cecilia shared, which she said happened all over again when she moved to Barcelona twelve years ago.

“I didn’t know the language. I felt like I didn’t have anywhere to go, and I was desperate to be connected.”

She decided to focus her energy and passion on opening MOB, the first maker space and one of the first large scale coworking spaces in Barcelona. “I wanted to be plugged into the the professional world, and be social as well”, Cecilia says.  Almost three years later, Cecilia can confidently say that she achieved this. She even refers to the space as ‘Monica’s House’ from the tv-show ‘Friends’, “a space with no boundaries or labels”.

When we asked Cecilia what her favourite part of running a coworking space was, she said the people. “I get to meet new people all the time and be introduced to new initiatives; it’s very fluid, like a river.”

Cecilia envision’s the future of work to be one of transforming thinkers into makers. She defines a maker as “a person that is self sufficient, passionately driven, fully capable and highly motivated.” Cecilia believes that for the first time in human history, we have the capability to do anything we want.

“I believe we are towards the end of the digital revolution, and we are now in the process of turning all of this information into something real. And we will do this through maker movement.”

Makers of Barcelona have been a part of the ShareDesk community since 2012. Here is what Cecila had to say when we asked her about her experience with ShareDesk.

“We have been a ShareDesk Venue Partner for the past two years. ShareDesk has been a great source for generating quality leads and building our community.”

Interested in collaborating with the creative professionals at Makers of Barcelona? Book a work or meeting space at MOB now!

 

About the ShareDesk Blog Series ‘The Future of Work With…’

‘The Future of Work With…’ is a blog series profiling members of the ShareDesk community. We are speaking with our diverse network of entrepreneurs, business travellers, industry thought leaders, freelancers, and flexible workplace operators, and sharing their stories and experiences on how they dream up a more flexible future for work.

Are you part of the ShareDesk community and have an interesting story to share? Contact us.

A blog series profiling members of the ShareDesk community

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We are excited to announce the launch of our new blog series, ‘The Future of Work With…’. Over the coming months we will be speaking with our diverse network of entrepreneurs, business travellers, industry thought leaders, freelancers, and flexible workplace operators to share their stories and experiences on how they dream up a more flexible future for work.

Throughout this blog series, we will be highlighting different venues and companies, providing them with a platform for their thoughts, experiences, and ideas on flexible work and changes taking place in their workplace.

Keep an eye out for our first blog, featuring Cecilia Tham of Makers of Barcelona!

Know Your Space

ShareDesk —  July 21, 2014

We already know the benefits of working in a flexible workspace over a home office, but what about working from a coffee shop or a library? Are they good alternatives to working from home? We are here to outline a few reasons why a flexible workspace is better for you and your business.

Photo Credit: Gravity Coworking – ShareDesk.net

A Comparison of the Coffee Shop, Library and Flexible Workspace

When thinking about the reasons why we like working in a coffee shop, a few things come to mind such as the coffee (or tea, for the health conscious goers), the constant hum of chatter and noise, and overall, a nice change of scenery. When it comes to libraries, they are quite and free, and usually there is a corner or two that you can make feel your own. So, why chose a flexible workspace?

The People Running a successful business comes down to the people. Flexible workspaces attract a range of different people: freelancers, entrepreneurs, and mobile professionals, that are all investing in their productivity by joining a shared or serviced office environment. This allows for serendipitous moments and newly sparked opportunities. While you are grabbing coffee, you may just run into your next potential client or collaborator. You will be surrounded by not only your team, but your community, your mentors, and friends.

The Space Flexible workspaces provide you with, well… a productive environment, on flexible terms. If you are someone who can’t stay in one desk for more than a week, many coworking spaces provide you with the option to switch it up when you need to. Switch desks, book a meeting room for the day, go to a partner space. If you are looking for silence, you can book a meeting room or find a desk in your own quite corner.

The Value The value you can get from working at a service office space or coworking space, compared to what you pay, is well worth it. Instead of investing in an alternative that won’t provide you with exposure to a new potential network or any flexibility of how or where you work, consider a flexible workspace. If you still aren’t sold, think about it this way. You want a professional environment in which you can conduct your day to day, grow your business, and be surrounded by great people, right? Can you really do that in a coffee shop? Or a library?

Give it a try, and let us know what you think. Find your next space on ShareDesk

From a single collaborative workspace in San Francisco in 2005, coworking as a concept has ballooned into a popular movement, with over an estimated 3000 spaces around the world.

Coworking offers obvious benefits to freelancers and individuals, but as Tim Butcher and Julian Waters-Lynch explain, the principles of coworking have great potential for big businesses also.

We reached out to Julian Waters-Lynch to ask him why he thinks coworking has seen such remarkable growth? Here was his response:

“The technological story is straight forward. Ubiquitous wifi, cheap mobile devices, software’s great migration from the server to the cloud. All this adds up to a world where many people can work from anywhere, at least technically. No longer bound to the phone and computer on the desk, or the files on the server (let alone the paper in the filing cabinet), for many work has become more a case of something one does rather than somewhere one goes. Then there is the story of outsourcing and downsizing, the victory of the temporary contract and short term project over the increasingly elusive general employment agreement. Finally there are the work-life aspirations of the millennials – over half of which claim to be planning to work as freelancers or start their own businesses. The choices here appear different to the past, privileging freedom of mobility over fixed security. Working anywhere, anytime on projects of passion. From push to pull, this is the world the coworker inhabits and, arguably, the world of work that will become more and more widespread.”

Julian Waters-Lynch
Julian is a PhD Candidate at RMIT University. His research on the future of work explores the disruptive rifts in technology and social trends that are shaping the new economy. His thesis focusses on emerging skills and environments individuals and organizations require to support sustained collaboration and innovation in a rapidly world.

Learn more about Julian: Website | Twitter