Coworking space is a membership-based work space that allows diverse groups of independent creative professionals and individuals that work remotely to work in a shared setting. Coworking spaces aim to help those with common values develop potential synergies. Expanding from its beginnings as an experimental office concept for entrepreneurs and technologists, co-working has quickly emerged as an effective workplace strategy for a growing number of corporate organisations. A range of off-site and on-site co-working environments are being explored by businesses to support their ongoing expansion and organisational requirements while accommodating the shifting work preferences and values of an increasingly diverse workforce.
The global co-working movement can trace its origins to the emergence of ‘hackerspaces’ in the mid-1990s. These open workplaces provided physical spaces where people with common digital technology interests could gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment and knowledge. Brian DeKoven, a game designer, coined the term ‘co-working’ in 1999, identifying a working style to facilitate collaboration and meetings. DeKoven’s goal was to introduce a non- competitive process that would foster greater collaboration and support among traditionally isolated and hierarchical businesses. A few years later, a broader concept of co-working emerged with the 2005 launch of the first official collaborative workspace: the San Francisco Coworking Space, located in the city’s Mission District. The brainchild of computer programmer Brad Neuberg, this non-profit cooperative offered an alternative work community which combined the freedom and flexibility of independent working with the structure and community of traditional offices. By 2008, there were 75 co-working spaces in operation across North America and Europe. By 2011, the movement had expanded into Asia, gaining significant popularity in Mumbai, Singapore, Hong Kong and other cities with limited office space and rapidly growing start-up communities. Co-working also took root on the African continent, particularly in South Africa.
The number of members using coworking spaces globally has been steadily increasing year on year and is predicted to reach one million by 2018. With four million new businesses being registered worldwide just in one year, coworking spaces are witnessing increased demand. As one of the fastest-growing workplace movements of the last decade, coworking enables people from diverse backgrounds to work together in a common space. A growing number of organisations are utilising coworking models to tap into innovative ideas, technology and to collaborate with start-ups. A collaborative work environment has long been linked to innovation, which is one of the key drivers of business growth. Coworking space can provide a positive atmosphere for creative thinking and access to new ideas, approaches, or technologies.
A study said that coworking space have an effect in social support, in this case describes an exchange of resources between two or more persons with the intention to help. Aspects of social support are direct support (instrumental support dand exchange of information), affective support (admiration and liking), or confirmation about actions and statements. Coworkers describe work-related conversations with other coworkers, but also their engagement in official networking activities in their coworking space. During lunchtime and coffee breaks, coworkers get to know the projects other coworkers are working on, talk about tech-related things (with other engineers) or whatever comes to mind. Coworkers also reported discussing potential collaborations or planning common activities (workshops). They also reported attending events or workshops organized in their coworking space. Coworkers reported asking for or providing help in terms of feedback, brainstorming, and coaching. Besides providing feedback, brainstorming, and coaching, coworkers also engage in collaborations with one another, both paid and unpaid. They reported working together on an idea or ask others to take over some tasks. One described recruiting someone in the space to do some paid work. With coworking space, working should be fun now.