Liz Elam, Entrepreneur and Curator of Link Coworking and Executive Producer of the Global Coworking Unconference Conference This month...
Sharing, trading and barter are the backbones of commerce and although it’s hard to imagine, the idea of money as the only medium for transferring value is a rather new concept. The resurgence of these trends in the exchange of goods and services should come as no surprise then, the only difference being that we now call it something different, collaborative consumption.
The Internet has turned the world into a bazaar, where we can convert our excess capacity into cash on virtually everything we own, from old power tools to office space. We recently shared a video with some of the hard numbers in the sharing economy, such as:
Affordable office space is the first step in helping those kids, or entrepreneurs-to-be, start up their companies. At ShareDesk, we make it easy for companies to rent out their idle workspaces to mobile professionals. You can advertise your underused real estate or access a network of over 1,400 collaborative workplaces in 65 countries.
If you are wondering why you would want to share something as private as a workspace, here are a few convincing financial incentives:
1. Lower expenses for mobile professionals – Real estate and hardware are often the largest expense items in a startup’s launch budget. Sharing office space means you could land your first client before signing your first office lease and that makes everyone, from the landlord to the investors, much more secure.
2. Professional environment for entrepreneurs – Many entrepreneurs end up doing their pre-launch work from home and in public spaces like coffee shops. A professional environment is much more efficient for getting your work done without distractions while it offers all the resources you need at your disposal.
3. The incalculable boon of conversation – Analysts point to the aspect of networking in business incubators as one of their most powerful features. A gathering of people facing the same challenges and working in close contact is a recipe for brainstorming innovation. Many of those who have tried office sharing find that it operates like a mini-incubator, bringing you in close contact with other entrepreneurs in your area. Even if they aren’t in your industry, the networking effect has substantial and measurable practical value.
4. Culture – Perhaps the most significant effect of sharing office space is joining a culture that revolves around people and experiences. Working in flexible workplaces allows you to work in places where you find the best cultural fit. You can look beyond the physical characteristics of a workplace, and join a workplace based on industry relevance and cultural fit. It also opens a window for you to see how much your own unused capacity is worth as a new revenue source, such as renting out part of your apartment to Airbnb or helping people in your community with tasks and errands on TaskRabbit. This allows you to be part of a community of likeminded people, that connect and share and embark on new experiences.
One thing is for certain, as more people take part in the sharing economy, the benefits will become clearer, and we will see ‘sharing’ as a powerful social and economic force. We are living in a different world now. We are connected more than ever thanks to mobile devices, and internet connectivity. You can exchange ideas, assets, and resources quickly, and at lower costs. On the same note, where we work makes a big difference on our productivity and lifestyle. We believe that the is a better way to work, a way that is more flexible and focused on the individual. We want to make work a better experience people by opening access to collaborative workplaces.