a new way of working
Gone are the days of sticking with one company for life, remaining in a fixed location. Freedom, mobility and flexibility are the key-words today: the current generation celebrates their independence like no other. These modern-day pioneers live a nomadic lifestyle, also when it comes to work.
Around the world, more and more of these nomad workers flock to co-working spaces: these almost physical social networks give the ideal answer to changing needs in our professional lives. Freelancers, start-ups and entrepreneurs are leaving their home-offices and cafes to settle into flexible, shared spaces to work. They look for the amenities and atmosphere of their apartments and cafe – wifi, comfortable furniture, printers, good coffee, a physical space to meet – but then without being home or in that coffeeshop. A space like this solves the problem of isolation and losing human interaction, a feeling many of the new nomads experience. At the same time this physical space offers them an escape from the many distractions of home. A place where they can concentrate, but also communicate and mingle.
Shared office space offers an affordable and flexible alternative to traditional working space and gains popularity. The number of worldwide co-working spaces grew 300% compared to 2010: worldwide there are roughly 2500 co-working places in 80 countries. In start-up metropolis Berlin one can find already 68 co-working spaces: only London and New York outnumber the German capital.
Berlin’s amazing variety shows again: the relatively low cost of living, cheap rents and oversupply of industrial buildings created the perfect playground for creating innovative co-working spaces. Institutions vary from The Factory – a high-tech space financed by Google, to more artistic, experimental spaces such as the Agora Collective. Besides co-working, The Factory offers events, training programs and accelerator classes for rising start-ups in a state-of-the art building. Laid-back Agora hosts people and collaborative projects in a former metal workshop based on a philosophy that reflects the values of its community: diversity, self-organisation and social ties. Currently, Agora works on a second space for creatives and innovators in a former brewery where art, innovation and the circular economy will be combined.
What all co-working spaces have in common: they are increasingly important for the local economy and manage to create a community in a natural way. This new way of working and its values – innovation, openness, sustainability, collaboration, entrepreneurship – will create positive social, economical and cultural spill-over effects in all the layers our professional lives.
A Guy Named Arturo, the alias of Amsterdam/Berlin-based creative consultant Arthur Groeneveld (1986), is an interdisciplinary one-man-show offering brand support, communications, art direction, trend forecasting, and creative research. Also, he forms part of creative duo Arturo Bamboo.