Coworking and its History

The main problem faced by startups throughout the history is the narrow budget to rent an office and run its project. In the very beginning stage of their business, huge capital needed to buy or rent a private office disturbs the allocation among other aspects. The entrepreneurs and freelancers face isolation, which impacts their productivity and morale. Small groups too feel seclusion in their operations, leading to demotivation and reduced pace of work. All these problems have been solved by the progression of Coworking.

Despite being a relatively new and emerging industry, it is growing at an immensely fast rate all across the globe.

What actually is Coworking?

Coworking, in a generic sense, is used to define any situation in which two or more individuals are working in a common place, yet independently. This might occur in numerous settings, including casual gatherings and shared office spaces.

Wikipedia defines it as a style of work that involves a shared workplace, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization.

Coworking as we know it at present originated with a notion put forth by Brad Neuberg in 2005. He used the word to define a physical space where independent and nomadic workers came together to work in an informal environment. The present day use of the term and concept is in direct relation to Neuberg’s original concept. It has since evolved to center around the values of community and convenience. Each coworking has different set of core values as the ground it builds on, but the sense of community is present in most; it builds a community of like-minded individuals who support each other and share the same values. It embodies the new opinion on how one works, shares and grows.

What is a coworking space?

A coworking space is a physical embodiment of the coworking concept. It is a business service that provides shared workspace to different entities for an economically feasible rent. People opting for such spaces can work according to their will without the common hindrances they face while working in a traditional office space and the distractions they face while working at home. A coworking space is different from business centers and incubators as the latter lack the value of openness, which is an essential element of a coworking space. These spaces provide for all essentials of a workplace including the furniture, Wi-Fi, printing and scanning facilities, restrooms, conference rooms and meeting rooms, office stationary, housekeeping and more either free of cost or at a minimal charge. Most spaces are accessible to the members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They also provide flexible plans for renting ranging from single day access to plans on monthly and yearly basis all for the convenience of the members.

History of Coworking

This wildfire we know as coworking started in the United States, and within a decade, has spread all over the globe. It is completely changing the structure of work and idea of a workplace. This raises the question of its origin and what caused its upturn. The history of coworking is somewhat recent.

Coworking is an age-old term, used first in 1600s to praise the coworking power of god and its representatives. The concept hanged over time into what we know today. This timelines marks the turning stones.


  • C-base, world’s first hackerspace, founded in Berlin.


  • Bernie DeKoven introduced the term ‘coworking’ defining it as collaborative work and business meetings coordinated by computers.
  • 42 West 24, Space providing pleasant work environment with flexible desks, which could be discontinued on short notice, launched in New York.


  • Schraubenfabrik was opened in Vienna as a community center for entrepreneurs.


  • The first official coworking space opened by Brad Neuberg in San Francisco on August 9. Brad also used the term coworking to describe a physical space where independent and mobile workers come together to work in a casual environment.
  • The first Hub started at Angel Station in London.
  • St. Oberholz opened as the first café in Berlin offering free Internet access and allow the guests to work on their laptops.


  • Brad Neuberg, Chris Messina and Tara Hunt founded the Hat Factory and opened its first full time space called a ‘Citizen Space’.
  • The Change You Want To See Gallery, New York’s first dedicated coworking space, was started by Noel Hidalgo and Beka Economopoulos in Williamsburg.
  • Amit Gupta and Luke Crawford started Jelly in NYC promoting mobile workers to get together and work casually.


  • Coworking spaces count in the world reach 75, starting the trend of spaces doubling nearly every year.
  • ‘Coworking’ noticed as a trend on Google’s database.
  • Coworking gets its Wikipedia page in English.


  • First unofficial meet-up on coworking held during South By Southwest (SxSW).
  • Coworking Visa comes into being.
  • Coworking community has roots in most of the major cities in North America and Europe.
  • First coworking space including facilities of childcare opened by Cubes & Crayons.


  • The first book on coworking, I’m Outta Here!, is published.
  • Coworking spaces’ first chains start to emerge.


  • August 9 is declared as the ‘Coworking Day’.
  • The coworking community attains domain.
  • Coworking magazine, Deskmag, goes online.
  • The first Coworking Conference is held in Berlin at the Hub.


  • Loosecubes organized the first official Coworking Unconference in Austin.
  • European Jelly Week is formed and is later renamed Worldwide Jelly Week. It is an event to inspire collaborations worldwide.
  • NextSpace announced the first angel funding for a coworking space network.


  • The GCUC (Global Coworking Unconference Conference) surfaced.
  • A collaborative association between noticeable coworking spaces across USA, League of Extraordinary Coworking Spaces, is formed.
  • Alex Hillman launched Coworking Weekly, curated coworking news’ weekly e-mail subscription.
  • Coworking spaces across the globe reach over 2000 mark.


  • More than a lakh people worked at coworking spaces at the beginning of the year.
  • Nine networks of coworking spaces were there operating in more than five locations.
  • Coshare, an international coworking association, is launched.

With the growing years, history of coworking is growing too. By the end of 2017, the world had 14500 coworking spaces approximately. GCUC predicts the number to grow beyond 30000 by 2022. It is very clear from the trend that coworking is not going downhill anytime in the foreseeable future.



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