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File:Citizen Space, San Francisco, CA.jpg

Citizen Space in San Francisco, CA

Coworking is a style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization.[1] Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation.[2] Coworking is also the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values,[3] and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with like-minded talented people in the same space.[4][5]

Some coworking spaces [6] were developed by nomadic Internet entrepreneurs seeking an alternative to working in coffeeshops and cafes, or to isolation in independent or home offices.[7][8][9] A 2007 survey showed that many employees worry about feeling isolated and losing human interaction if they were to telecommute. Roughly a third of both private and public-sector workers also reported that they didn’t want to stay at home during work.[10] Coworking offers a solution to the problem of isolation that many freelancers experience while working at home, while at the same time letting them escape the distractions of home.[11][12]

Many misconceptions abound about what coworking encompasses and how it distinguishes itself from business accelerators, incubators and executive suites.[13] These spaces do not seem to fit into the coworking model because they often miss the social, collaborative, and informal[10] aspects of the process. In coworking, management practices are closer to that of a cooperative, including a focus on community[14] rather than profit.[15] Many of the coworking participants are also participants in BarCamp[16] and other related open-source participatory technology events.[10][17][18]

Coworking is not only about the physical space, but about establishing the coworking community first. Its benefits can already be experienced outside of its spaces, and it is recommended to start with building a coworking community first before considering opening a Coworking space.[19] However, some coworking spaces don't build a community: they just get a part of an existing one by combining their opening with an event which attracts their target group.[20]

A lot of coworking communities are formed by organizing casual coworking events (e.g. "Jellies" [21][22] ) that can take place in private living rooms or in public places such as suitable cafés, galleries or multi-functional spaces. During these events Coworkers can experience the benefits of Coworking and get to know each other which lowers the barriers to join a space later.

Demographics[edit | edit source]

A 2011 survey found most coworkers are currently in their late twenties to late thirties, with an average age of 34 years. Two-thirds are men, one third are women. Four in five coworkers started their career with a university education. The majority of coworkers work in creative industries or new media. Slightly more than half of all coworkers are freelancers.[1] However, the share of salaried employees increases since larger companies start to experiment with coworking, especially in the U.S., where 35 percent work as salaried employees.


Zonaspace in Saint Petersburg, Russia

History[edit | edit source]

The term "coworking" was coined by Bernie DeKoven in 1999,[23][citation needed] and in 2005 Brad Neuberg used it to describe a physical space which he originally called a "9 to 5 group".[24]

Neuberg organized a coworking site called the "Hat Factory" in San Francisco, a live-work loft that was home to three technology workers, and open to others during the day. Brad was also one of the founders of Citizen Space, the first "Work Only" coworking space, and the space that spawned a global movement. Now, coworking spaces exist worldwide, with over 700 locations in the United States alone.[25][26][27]

San Francisco continues to have a large presence in the coworking community, and is home to a growing number of coworking spaces including the pariSoma Innovation Loft, HubSoMa, and Citizen Space.[28] The San Francisco-based consulting firm Citizen Agency has actively promoted coworking, starting a space called Citizen Space which rents desks but also allows free drop-ins in its public spaces.[29] Coworking has also spread into many other metropolitan areas, with cities such as Portland, Oregon [30] and Wichita, Kansas [31] now offering several thriving coworking venues.

Several books have discussed the history, scope, and tenets of coworking, including: I'm Outta Here (October 2009) by Drew Jones, Todd Sundsted and Tony Bacigalupo;[32] Coworking: How Freelancers Escape the Coffee Shop Office (February 2011) by Angel Kwiatkowski and Beth Buczynski;[33] and most recently, Working in the UnOffice: A Guide to Coworking for Indie Workers, Small Businesses, and Nonprofits (August 2011) by Genevieve V. DeGuzman and Andrew I. Tang.[34]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Foertsch, Carsten (2011-01-13), The Coworker's Profile
  2. Butler, Kiera (2008-01-01), "Works Well With Others", Mother Jones (Mother Jones (magazine)), 
  3. DeBare, Ilana (2008-02-19), "Shared work spaces a wave of the future", San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco Chronicle), 
  4. Miller, Kerry (2007-02-26), "Where the Coffee Shop Meets the Cubicle", Business Week (BusinessWeek), 
  5. Farby, Julie (2007-03-13), "The Hive Hopes To Revolutionize Traditional Office Space By Creating Coworking Space", All Headline News, 
  6. 10 of the best co-working spaces in the UK
  7. Fost, Dan (2007-03-11), "WHERE NEO-NOMADS' IDEAS PERCOLATE: New 'bedouins' transform a laptop, cell phone and coffeehouse into their office", San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco Chronicle), 
  8. Von Bergen, Jane (2007-08-19), "A Step Up From Working In PJ's" (– Scholar search), Philadelphia Inquirer,  [dead link]
  9. Williamson, Kate (2007-10-02), "Shared offices growing in S.F., Peninsula", San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco Examiner), 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Reed, Brad (2007-10-23), "Co-working: the ultimate in teleworking flexibility", Network World, 
  11. LeClaire, Jennifer. Collective Turf Coworking Set to Open in Urbana. Office Space News. April 13th, 2009.
  12. DeGuzman, Genevieve and Tang, Andrew Working in the UnOffice: A Guide to Coworking for Indie Workers, Small Businesses, and Nonprofits. Night Owls Press. 28 August 2011.
  13. DeGuzman, Genevieve Five Big Myths About Coworking. Deskmag. 1 November 2011.
  14. Fost, Dan (2008-02-20), "Inspiration Strikes Only a Desk Away", New York Times (The New York Times), 
  15. Fost, Dan (2008-02-20), "They’re Working on Their Own, Just Side by Side", New York Times (The New York Times), 
  16. Clark, Jessica (2007-10-01), "Coworkers of the World, Unite!", American Prospect (The American Prospect), 
  17. Horowitz, Etan (2007-09-27), "Co-working can solve non-traditional office issues", Orlando Sentinel (Orlando Sentinel), Archived from the original on 2007-10-11,,0,4868019.story?coll=orl_tab03_layout 
  18. Berve, Anette (2008-04-25), "In Search of Colleagues" (– Scholar search), The Argentimes,  [dead link]
  19. How to start a Coworking Space
  20. How successful Coworking Spaces create their business
  21. Work at Jelly
  22. TheWorks Coworking and Jellies
  23. via the Wayback Machine – earliest archived use of the term coworking
  24. [1]
  25. [Coworking Directory]
  26. includeonly>Sinclair, Cameron. "Hub Culture Global Coworking Spaces", Huffington Post, 2009-04-09.|
  27. [The Economist]
  28. Tom Abate, "Shared work spaces new resource for solo worker", "SF Chronicle", June 4, 2010
  29. Dan Fost, "'Coworking,' a cooperative for the modern age", New York Times, Feb. 21, 2008.
  30. includeonly>McEwan, Bob. "Co-working: a room not of their own", The Oregonian, April 11, 2009.
  31. includeonly>Carrie, Rengers. "Labor Party to open in Old Town for collaborative creative office space Read more here:", Nov. 10, 2010.
  32. includeonly>Bacigalupo, Tony. "I'm Outta Here".
  33. includeonly>Kwiatkowski, Angel. "Coworking: How Freelancers Escape the Coffee Shop Office".
  34. includeonly>DeGuzman, Genevieve. "Working in the UnOffice: A Guide to Coworking for Indie Workers, Small Businesses, and Nonprofits".
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