History of Coworking Space: The Complete Timeline for New Startups

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History of CoWorking Spaces
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The coworking concept is a developing phenomenon that is catching on and expanding. Office work as we know it is changing faces and adopting a whole new concept. All the while, companies are trying to save money and employees are opting for freelance positions. 

Working from home may be convenient, but it is far from the best place for doing business. With distractions here and there, it’s no wonder more people are turning to other options. The history of coworking Spaces make it a viable option. 

But, where did coworking spaces originate as an idea and how have they developed throughout the years? Read on as we share a brief history of coworking spaces. 

Coworking Space: The Initial Idea Behind it

The modern idea of coworking is bringing small businesses, freelancers, and other workers together in one place to collaborate. With high costs for rent and utilities, more companies are opting for this type of arrangement.

Coworking spaces allow cost savings by having employees share office space, equipment, and more. 

The idea behind coworking spaces is to provide office areas for employees who often work remotely, travel frequently, or wish to avoid the distractions of working from home.

The history of coworking spaces proves that it helps people come together and avoid feeling socially isolated. It’s not only about providing and sharing space to work, but also about establishing a like-minded community.

The initial history of coworking Spaces

Who Invented Coworking Spaces?

It is said that the idea for coworking spaces was initiated by a group of hackers in Berlin in 1995. This group came together to collaborate, exchange knowledge and skills, and encourage cooperation in a rented space known under the name of C-Base.

This was actually a hackerspace and somewhat a pre-model of coworking spaces. This is true for the idea of the modern concept, but if we look at the history of coworking spaces it goes back as far as the beginning of the 20th century.

Alfred Boucher, a sculptor, created La Ruche where young artists worked together. It differed from today’s concept of coworking, yet the main idea matched.

Another attempt at providing coworking space happened in 1929 when professionals of different fields shared office space during the US financial crisis.

Even so, it is writer and game designer Bernard DeKoven who is the mind behind the coined term “coworking.” In 1999, he used this term for the first time as it was his dream to create a space where a collaborative and creative community can work as equals. 

How Flexible Office Spaces Have Evolved 

Around the same time as Bernard DeKoven’s invention, 42 West 24 was opened. Although not imagined as a community, this flexible office space offered a pleasant working atmosphere and allowed renting space for a short period.

These flexible desks for teams and individuals became the blueprint for flexible workspaces in the industry. 

In 2002, Vienna was the home of Schraubenfabrik, an entrepreneurial center where freelancers could feel the benefits of meeting and working in the same space with other professionals.

Joined by Hutfabrik and Rochuspark, these flexible office spaces operate as the first local coworking space network under the name of Konnex Communities.

Opening the First Coworking Space

Coworking: Opening the First Coworking Space

San Francisco had the pleasure of opening the doors to the first official coworking space in 2005. Started by Bradley Neuberg, an IT engineer, the San Francisco Coworking Center allowed the freedom to work independently, yet still belong to a community. Located in Spiral Muse, the space offered up to eight desks, to be used two days a week. 

Neuberg’s idea of coworking space was recognized and widely accepted. In 2006, the coworking space had to be relocated and was renamed Hat Factor. As such, it paved the path of modern coworking by becoming the first full-time coworking space.

It seems that 2005 and 2006 were revolutionary years for the coworking movement. Berlin marked the opening of the first café that allowed its guests to use free internet access for work. The idea itself inspired the book “We Call It Work,” which then encouraged the coworking movement. 

From 2007 onwards, coworking became a smashing hit. The term coworking was the most searched word in the Google database. This may be the reason for the avalanche of coworking spaces opening all around the globe. 

In 2009 Germany became the first European country to use the word coworking when they opened the first official coworking space Bethaus.

It was around 2011 when big companies started experimenting with coworking spaces which is the time when Modul 57 was created. It was founded by TUI, the largest European tourism company. 

A Day for Coworkers

The revolutionizing concept was recognized by many and in 2010, August 9 became recognized as International Coworking Day. Magazines, books, conferences, discussions, and meetings were dedicated to coworking, turning it into a large-scale movement.

More coworking spaces nowadays are offering programs and options promoting a healthy lifestyle. Owners are working on creating spaces that are accessible for all.
The history of coworking spaces proves that it fulfill the initial idea of being places that offer a welcoming and diverse environment, where one can collaborate with other link-minded individuals. 

Here, the sharing aspect of a community is nurtured while saving valuable resources and promoting an eco-friendly working space.

A Day for Coworkers

How Big is the Coworking Space Industry Today? (2022)

Estimations suggest there are currently around 28,552 coworking spaces operating around the globe, a number expected to double by 2024. The history of coworking spaces at moment is proving to be larger than the industries themselves.

The growing interest in coworking is simple to grasp. People are seeing many of the advantages it has to offer, especially in terms of flexibility in choosing one’s wanted lifestyle and the ability to work just about anywhere.

The Perfect Coworking Space for the Ultimate Peace of Mind

Choose one of the many coworking space locations around the globe to create the best working space for you.

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