The History of Coworking

How and when did the coworking spaces started?

Coworking spaces, such as Work&Share, are becoming increasingly popular. Recent trends indicate that shared spaces are not only enduring but also experiencing growing demand. It has been almost 20 years since the first official coworking space opened, and today, we will take a journey back in time to explore the major milestones in the history of coworking spaces.

1995 – The “Hackerspace”

In 1995, a group of computer engineers in Germany launched the “hackerspace” in Berlin. The concept aimed to bring together computer enthusiasts to work collaboratively and exchange ideas.

1999 – First Use of the Term “Coworking”

Bernard DeKoven, a game designer, first introduced the term “coworking” in 1999. He envisioned a new collaborative way of working and coined the term to describe this innovative approach to work relationships, rather than the places known today as “coworking spaces”.

2002 – The “Entrepreneurial Center”

In 2002, two entrepreneurs in Austria repurposed an old factory in Vienna into an entrepreneurial hub. Though not officially a coworking space, it laid the foundation for collaborative work environments.

2005 – Opening of the First Official Coworking Space

On August 9th, Brad Neuberg established the first-ever official coworking space. Located in a district of San Francisco, Neuberg had the agreement that for a rent of $300 a month he could use the space for two days a week, keeping any profits past that to him. In the first month no one showed up and legends say that Neuberg even had to take money from his parents to keep up with the rent. But in the second month Ray Baxter, a startup developer, and an athlete, became his first coworker and since then the idea of coworking spaces skyrocketed.

2006 – Expansion to Full-Time Coworking Space

Neuberg transitioned to the Hat Factory in 2006, creating the first full-time coworking space with around 10 members.

2006 – The Start of the “Coworking Revolution”

Following Neuberg’s example, coworking spaces began to emerge worldwide. Marseille, Barcelona, and Switzerland were among the early adopters, leading to a rapid increase in coworking spaces and memberships.

2007 – Introduction of Coworking Visas and Google Trends

The coworking world is getting shaped. The so called “coworking visas” are introduced, meaning that members of specific coworking spaces can access other such offices from all around the world without extra cost. 2007 is also the first time that “coworking” appeared as a trend on Google’s database. Since that time, search queries have increased by 20 times.

2009 – Inaugural Global Coworking Unconference Conference

The first edition of the annual Global Coworking Unconference Conference was held. Nowadays hosting over 30 conferences around the world every year and promote the idea of coworking spaces.

2010 – Establishment of International Coworking Day

August 9th was designated as International Coworking Day, a tradition that continues to be celebrated annually.

2013 – Health Insurance and Surpassing 100k Coworkers

The 100k mark was broken as more than 100,000 people worldwide are working from coworking spaces. 2013 is also the year when Coworking Ontario became the first coworking space to offer health insurance plan for its customers. For the first time, freelancers, and similar workers without the backing of a company are given securities by their workplace provider.

2017 – Launch of Work&Share and One Million Coworkers

Work&Share opened its first location in Sofia, Bulgaria, coinciding with coworking’s milestone of reaching one million coworkers worldwide.

2018 – Capital: London

London emerged as the coworking capital, boasting more spaces than New York, San Francisco, and Berlin, occupying over 10.7 million square feet of office space in Central London alone.

2024 – Growth to 40,000 Coworking Spaces

Predictions suggest that by the end of 2024, there will be over 41,000 coworking spaces worldwide, accommodating over 5 million people.

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