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 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.