June 6th 2019 is National Co-working Day in the UK

From co-working space to hospitality hub: a brief history

Here we mark the occasion with a look at how this way of working has evolved over the last 20 years.

As we help to celebrate #NationalCoworkingDay today on Thursday 6th June 2019, we take a look at how it all started, and how co-working has evolved into a way of life for many of the workforce across the globe today.

It’s the community that brings value…not the resources or type of desk…People are here to work. If you’re around 20 other people who are working, there’s a buzz, an energy that inspires you, observed John McGann, founder of Nutopia, one of the first-ever “working clubs”.

That was back in 1998, although previous to this, initiatives such as “hackerspaces” (physical workspaces for people with similar interests to collaborate and socialise) were already being introduced in Berlin as early as 1995.

The traditional co-working space

In 1999, after realising that business structures were too hierarchical and isolated for employees to viably work together as equals,Bernard DeKoven first coined the term “co-working” to refer to the concept of individuals working together in the same space, but on separate projects, and therefore within a non-competitive environment.
Throughout the noughties, several co-working hubs emerged throughout Europe (Vienna, Berlin, London, Madrid, Barcelona) and the US (San Francisco, Philadelphia) in an attempt to combat issues such as isolation and productivity levels for the rising number of homeworkers at the time.

In 2004, the UK caught onto the idea that otherwise isolated individuals could be far more productive and inspired to be creative if they had the opportunity to work in a more socially stimulating environment, and thus opened its doors to its first ever co-working hub in London’s Angel Station (today, a vibrant, state-of-the-art co-working space can be found in Angel Square).
Around this time, internet cafes had also grown in popularity – and informal, semi-regular meetings between local businesspeople, known as “Jellies”, had also arrived on the scene – both of which provided publicly available space in which to work. By 2007, co-working was recognised as a global movement.

Fast forward to 2010“ now with 600 co-working spaces worldwide – and the movement celebrated its first #CoworkingDay, as well as an annual Coworking Europe Conference, both of which are still going strong today.

The modern hospitality hub

Our working culture has evolved significantly over the past couple of decades, and with 4.2 million people working from home in the UK today, demand for co-working opportunities is higher than ever. As a result, for co-working venues, the focus is beginning to shift from basic hot desking facilities to providing a more extensive range of services and social opportunities for local businesspeople to feel part of a community.
At The Hive, we recognise this shifting focus and have created a full-service hospitality hub offering hot desking plus so much more besides. In fact, The Hive is a completely new concept, being one of the first hubs to offer a combination of corporate and community services – including a deli bar serving local produce complete with community dining space, various conferencing facilities and dedicated areas where users can promote their services to others, exhibitions of local arts and crafts, social and business networking events, charity fundraisers and even access to funding for local businesses.
If you’re self-employed, a home worker, or simply looking for a fresh approach to hot desking, find out more about co-working opportunities in your area by visiting www.nationalcoworkingday.com. Or even better, if you’re local to The Weald, come and visit us at “The Hive“ launch date to be announced very soon.

Happy National Co-working Day everyone!

Emma Wood