The dream idea of a world in which we live 15 minutes from our most needed shopping, healthcare, lifestyle and working amenities would not be a sound one without also addressing some pitfalls that we should be mindful of in this “complete neighbourhood” town planning.
Speaking specifically on the points coworking spaces would need to be mindful of, and areas they would need to navigate through, Jean-Yves Huwart from Social Workplaces delivers some valuable food for thought.
A boom in the coworking industry means that a good business and pricing model, bottlenecks and necessities are addressed properly before welcoming the influx of remote workers.
The Boom of Rural Coworking
After the 2010 Economic Crisis in Spain, there was a boom of coworking spaces in small towns and rural areas, which drove the national number of spaces up. These were more informal rooms used as add-ons to existing businesses, as opposed to coworking in bigger cities that were self-supported and more business-oriented.
While coworking is very similar to the accommodation industry because of the short term and flexible offering it services, patrons come and go, many of varying in what they do and how they operate. One needs to be mindful of how the workforces differ both in operational needs, but also from a cultural perspective.
More remote areas don’t have the booming entrepreneurial scene, or the mass freelancer movement, or even the technological uptake that would make the demand for coworking spaces a viable option. And, although the drive for the remote workforce is growing, these workspace hubs need people to draw people in the space to encourage conviviality and social interaction.
A bottleneck that Jean-Yves foresees is the profitability of smaller spaces, especially in villages. Unless the establishment is run in a cooperative structure and owner-managed or receives support through a sponsor (public or private), it will not be sustainable and its future is not certain.
But, people are lacking buildings and appropriate infrastructure in the average city and suburbs too and this has seen a lot of pressures on the existing spaces in term of pricing and adequate spaces.
The Idyllic Vision
Readying the industry for the workforces will include adopting a business strategy, and pricing model that is fair, adequate furniture, automation, good security, and high safety standards as these spaces will be liable for the people they will be hosting.
The 15-minute City is a lifestyle that would mean businesses and individuals need to rethink how they run business and go about doing their business. While this is an idyllic vision we need to be open to scrutiny and adapting from the old ways into the new format of working.
To learn more about the 15-minute City and the challenges and opportunities it poses, join us September 21st at 1 PM, where Laëtitia Vitaud from Welcome to the Jungle, Antonin Yuji Maeno from Cutwork Studio and our own Bernie Mitchell will host an interactive discussion on the #FutureofWorkandLife in the 15-minute City.
Be sure to book your free virtual seat here.