For those who freelance, work remotely or run startups, today, co-working seems to be a regular part of life, but this wasn’t always the case...
When/where did co-working start?
The idea of shared-office spaces has been around for longer than some may think, first coming to life in 1995. C-Base (an association of engineers) created a ‘hackerspace’ in Berlin for computer hackers to meet and work together. The hackerspace was intended as a not-for-profit space which brings together computer enthusiasts, offering them facilities, as well as an opportunity to collaborate, share knowledge and equipment. Thanks to the internet, computer engineers no longer needed a fixed place to work, so the space was set up to give them a place to work alongside others in their field.
Four years later, in 1999, the term ‘co-working’ was coined by Bernard De Koven to describe the phenomenon of ‘working together as equals’. At this time, the term referred to something different than today's concept of co-working. De Koven used the term to refer to the way we work, not the space that we work in. He hoped to evolve ways of working that involved collaboration and a breakdown of hierarchy - seeing co-workers as equals.
On 9th August 2005, Brad Neuberg set up the first ever ‘official’ co-working space in San Francisco. The space was intended to promote the freedom of independent working whilst providing the structure and community of working with others. And the idea took off! That year, a total of 3 co-working spaces officially existed.
By 2007, there were 75 co-working spaces, followed by 1,130 in 2011.
In 2012, 93,000 tweets were sent with the hashtag #coworking, and in 2013, there were more than 2,000 co-working spaces available.
In 2018, there was an estimated 18,900 co-working spaces worldwide, according to Statista, and GCUC.co estimates that by 2022, there will be 30,432 spaces around the world, with more than 5.1 million members between them.
Today, London is the heart of the co-working world with the largest number of spaces.
The future of co-working
The concept of co-working is empowering more and more people to start their own businesses. With increases in self-employment, remote working and technology changing the way we work, the future of co-working spaces looks bright and will likely continue to grow substantially.
Not only can this flexible way of working improve productivity levels, cut costs and enable you to network more efficiently, it helps with that all important work/life balance, and isn’t that what it’s all about?
We welcome all to our co-working space in Exeter, giving people a space where they can connect, share and succeed in their business ventures.