[Tagging] Coworking space: amenity vs. office ?

Greg Troxel gdt at lexort.com
Thu Jan 5 12:58:52 UTC 2017

Warin <61sundowner at gmail.com> writes:

>> Arguably, if the coworking space intened to accomodate professional
>> carpenters who worked for different companies, maybe that would be
>> coworking.  But really coworking is about something that feels like an
>> office with coworkers and support services, but is shared by poeple that
>> work for different companies or are perhaps self-employed.   To me, a
>> core part of coworking space is that most(?) of the people using it view
>> it as the physical location of their main employment.
> So cowork can only be done in an office?

Not strictly, but so far all places that I would call coworking are
offices.  And, there is a notion that one can do random computer stuff
with wifi/coffee/printer/conference room in a coworkin facility.  So a
place with 4 garage bays where independent car mechanics can sign up for
them could be coworking, but only if they are then doing this as a major
source of employment, vs hobby or occcasional extra thing.  Usually when
there is a spare bay and another mechanic works there, it's by
arrangement/invitation, and not anyone who asks, and there aren't posted

> From wikipedia "a style ofwork
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employment> that involves a shared
> working environment, often anoffice
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office>, and independent activity."
> " is also the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently"
> That would indicate it is not solely an office activity? And no
> necessarily work ... but a 'social gathering'?! Wikipedia!

What they are trying to say is that when you have a job in an office
with others, you go there to do your programming or whatever, and to be
able to talk to the other people who work for your company about work
things.  But you also talk to them about other things, and some of them
end up being your friends.  When you telecommute, you sit at home and
talk to your coworkers about work, but you don't run into them at the
coffee machine.  In a coworking space, you have people that don't work
for your company, but you all are in the office together. So it replace
the work-associated social connection that's missing; the fact that the
people work for other companies doesn't matter that much.

> cowork is not in my dictionary ..
> but on the oxford dic. website I find co-work
> "The use of an office or other working environment by people who are
> self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to
> share equipment, ideas, and knowledge:  /‘the whole idea of co-working
> is to bring bright, creative people together and let the ideas
> collide’"/

I find that overly specific about purpose.  Often, as others have said,
it's about having shared networking, printers, a conference room you can
use when you need it, maybe a receptionist.  Stuff your company would do
if there were 20 of you, but is crazy for 1 or a few.

There is also the cross-fertilization notion, but I find most US
companies too paranoid for that.

> Note the "other working environment"//and no 'social gathering'.

Right - this is consistent with social being secondary, and being
work-social, not social-social :-)

> Work is done for payment.
> Hobbies are done for enjoyment, usually with no payment.
> I think that is the difference here .. is the word 'work'.
> I think the 'cowork' (or 'co-work') is too new and unfamiliar for me
> to comment further.

It's only in the last 10 years or so that it's sprung up in the US.
Typically in cities that have lots of startups and small companies.
I'd expect them in Boston, NY, San Francisco, Austin, and places like
that.  (I know we have them in Boston.)
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