Along with the growth of creative industry, co-working concept arises and proliferates in the recent years as a new kind of modern working place. “Co-working is a style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those co-working are usually not employed by the same organization.” (Carsten, 2011). You can either work in a small team or work on your own project individually, but everyone in the same space will have the same opportunity to make a contact and socialize with the others.
Co-working concept looks to be a very attractive option to most of people who are generally mobile and works flexibly at casual hours, such as freelancers in creative industries, solo entrepreneurs, independent contractors, social innovators, work-at-home professionals, or working travellers. They do not constantly need a lot of working space, but to some degree they will also need working amenities and meeting spaces that usually provided in a conventional office environment but cannot be found in casual places such as cafes. As a solution, one can only rent an individual spot in a flexible co-working space at an economical rate, but be able to access the whole facilities that are shared together with the other co-workers. Not only a desk and a chair, you can enjoy unlimited internet, meetings, pantry with free snacks and drinks, electricity with power backup, printers and scanners, storage, as well as cleaning services. Co-working concept is indeed beneficial for young professionals and start-up entrepreneurs, because it only requires low-cost investment. The sharing concept of this working lifestyle is highly sustainable due to the efficient use of shared resources, space, energy, and building infrastructures.
Besides economical consideration of sharing principle, the most essential uniqueness of co-working space is actually the principle of community network. To a certain degree, people who choose the same co-working space have the same professional interest, same work ethics, same intention or working purposes. The idea is to form a professional cluster or labor pooling, where people can face a trade-off between the benefits of casual networking, cultural and information exchange, brainstorming, and new collaborations. In this way, you can still have a freedom and flexibility to work alone, but always open to new knowledge and other opportunities, so your productivity and creativity will be enhanced. One can locally embed oneself, but globally connected. But co-working is different from a business incubator, because it focuses on connected community rather than profit-oriented think-tanks (Dan, 2008).
Co-working is more of social tools rather than business engagement. In a communal working situation, people would have engaging events that will encourage more interactions, more serendipities, and inspire creativity among the members. People can choose to work side-by-side either on a temporary or long-term basis, and will never feel lonely at all. “Co-working spaces are melting pots of creativity,” said Beau Button. “They generate a level of synergy that results from the proximity and collaboration of like-minded people. New relationships are developed. Ideas are challenged. Problems are solved.”
Nowadays, co-working concept is very popular in start-up hubs cities. “Currently, over 160,000 people worldwide are members of more than 3,000 co-working spaces, according to research from DeskMag.com. In 2010, there were just 500 spaces, accommodating around 20,000 workers. WeWork, a co-working space provider which dubs itself the Uber of the industry, plans to grow to over 50 locations this year and has recently been valued at $5 billion by investors (up from $1.5 billion earlier in 2014).” (Quartz)
“In an annual survey conducted by Deskmag, people who work in co-working spaces reported to be more productive, confident, and creative. Reports showed that 71% of people surveyed were more creative, 62% reported that their measure of work improved significantly, and 90% said they felt more confident when co-working. Additionally, 70% reported that they felt healthier than they did working in a traditional office setting. The statistics are the result of being part of a supportive and expanding network that offers flexibility in when you choose to work and whom you choose to work with. Aspects such as reduced stress also become a factor, as most people were able to minimize their commute time and were less likely to become victims of office politics.”
“Now that co-working is a fairly well understood, some folks are going one step further by establishing collaborative spaces at home with what’s called co-living. Like co-working, co-living is more than sharing space. Ideas and intentions, projects and purpose all come together in a true co-living environment” (McCartney, 2014). Many co-working community either in cities or countrysides are trying to integrate full living accommodation as one of their services with additional costs that are, however, still relatively cheaper than live and rent a work space individually in the same neighborhood. Here are six selected unique co-working communities (co-living also provided in some of them) from all over the world that offer very interesting ambiance within their co-op premises:
Betahaus, Barcelona, Spain
Talent Garden, Barcelona, Spain
Hubud (Hub-In-Ubud), Bali, Indonesia
B-Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Punspace, Chiang Mai
Vuka, Austin, Texas