Written by: Gugu Mthimkhulu

It is crucial for people in the coworking industry to understand the history of coworking. Not only does it serve as a reference and comparison point, but it can help predict the future of work as well.

Founder and CEO of Multi Cowork, Director of Founder Institute Warsaw, and a Coworking Expert, Piotr Boulangé delves deeper into how coworking’s history can be used to predict its future.

It’s important that when defining new coworking trends and ideas, we try to figure out how we came to them and where they started. In coworking specifically, it is key to remember that it started as an answer to creative people’s problem when they were working at home.

Key elements of coworking

Socialisation is a key aspect of coworking. You can say that the byproduct of that is the serendipity effect, or just getting your creativity blossoming. Coworking pre-pandemic fostered a high level of socialisation which is not as visible now as it was before.

Coworking pre-pandemic vs coworking today

Old coworking looked like an open space where you just met other people, drank coffee, and heard the coffee machine noises around you. This was the core of basic coworking spaces. What has changed with the bigger companies coming in is that they have introduced flexible offices.

Coworking today looks like a reception area with an open space, surrounded by the closed offices. And this is the biggest difference right now because you don’t have that many freelancers in the entire coworking space. 

What distinguishes the coworking spaces from before to the current coworking spaces is that the creatives owned the space by habit, by the way that they worked, by their routines. And today’s coworking spaces are more like business offices than coworking spaces.

Looking to the past to predict the future of coworking

In the past we knew that coworking was created by freelancers for other freelancers. Currently, you’ll see that more spaces are being taken over by the corporations who are using them for their employees. Coworking is losing its creativity. But it doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. We have to cope with the changes that are coming. 

Coworking spaces are an effective HR strategy for most businesses since individuals have learned over the last two years that they do not need to travel to work for the firm to succeed. This strategy could be effective, especially for people who are recovering after COVID isolation. A lot of them could use a nice, environmentally social space where they could tiptoe around the official business strain.

The future of coworking will be figuring out how to combine the corporate and creative sectors without making it tough.

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