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Trend of the Day: Free Coworking

photo of Franco Iacomella

Franco Iacomella
17th February 2012


Felix Schürholz:

“Coworking is going to evolve into “Free Coworking”. I predict that within the coming year you will see a marked increase in “Free Coworking” offers. What do I mean by “Free Coworking”? ”Free Coworking” means that as a coworking space user you do not pay for the use of the desk, chair etc. How is that possible? Someone else is going to pay :-) !!! Why would anyone want to pay for your coworking space usage? Because “this someone else” is benefiting from your work. This might be a customer or client, a member of your project team, an organisation, a small or large cooperation, a foundation, the state – in short “Financial Capital” will pay the bill.

How are the coworkers and the coworking spaces going to attract this “Financial Capital”? It is the “Social Capital” that attracts it! What is the “Social Capital” in terms of a coworking community? Coworkers love the work they do. They love the people they work with. They believe in cooperation, teamwork and last but not least they believe that there are more good people around than bad!!! Why is that important?

Because this touches a frame of mind that many people have. Many people believe that good intention is a scarce resource. The contrary is true. Check with yourself and adjust if necessary. Translated to work and work output we find the following: To produce and distribute excellent services and products you need a special quality of cooperation. Only people who love what they do and who can work with the people they love can provide this. Coworking spaces can provide these excellent services and products more often and with a higher likelihood the more widespread “Free Coworking” will become. The key is an evolution of every party involved in the process. Only trust, openness, dedication, patience, fairness, sweat, fun and love will lead to “Free Coworking”. And the great thing is that it will work!!! It will not only work in one or two places, it will grow and grow.

The number of coworking spaces is rapidly going to increase because people just want to work this way!!! “Going to work” will have a totally new, fresh and positive connotation. Whereas before people dreaded to go to work because they had to do something they did not really like in an environment they felt not particularly comfortable in, now in a coworking space it is just the opposite. You can choose the people you work with and the work you do. How is that possible?

“Free Coworking” means working in teams and a community you choose. To be productive and happy you have to be able to say yes to everyone in your team and environment from the bottom of your heart including yourself. In many instances this will require an evolution for everyone involved. But once the team starts to evolve it does not take very long for it to become a “dream team”. Imagine the experience of working in a “dream team” once! This is great, but imagine you can do it again. Another day another “dream team” is going to form and more people are going to learn what it takes. And this goes on and on and everyday the social capital grows.

Still in doubt whether this might work? At the moment the setting up of a coworking space is largely a process of “Pull”. You tell people how great coworking is and you hope to convince them to come along and try it. This can be quite trying at times and aims to fill your space nothing more. Imagine people could work for free in your space and a “Push” process would start. People would want to push into your space. For someone to enter the coworking space for free, he or she would have to go through a certain “registration” process. This process would involve setting up a profile for this new coworker. What are the skills, experiences, interests and projects of this person. What would be an ideal team for this coworker etc.

Thanks to an internet platform coworkers could indicate when and where they were available and interested to participate in a project. The client and/or the project representative would invite the coworkers in the coworking space or the area of the coworking space reserved for “Free Coworking”. The team building and the project could start.

This is how I see “Free Coworking” to develop in practical steps. There will be existing coworking spaces that will offer some areas of their operation for “Free Coworking”, while there will also be some new spaces that will start with “Free Coworking” from the word go. To support both types we will set up an additional coworking directory called the “Free CoWorking Directory”

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