Coworking Evolution: Coworking goes „Free Coworking“

Veröffentlicht am 6. Januar 2012 von Felix Schürholz in Kategorie: CoWorking Basics, Konzeptionelles, CoWorking Kultur, CoWorking News International, Featured Article, Meinung, Videos | Trackback URL | Zur Diskussion

Yes it is true. 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“ [Update Link: Ref. Article 13th of February 2012]

If you look at the enthusiasm for the upcoming Jellyweek (16th to 22nd of January) you get a good indication that the time for „Free Coworking“ has definitely come. If you want to lend your support to „Free Coworking“ beyond the Jellyweek join our Facebook Group „Free Coworking„. The aim of the Facebook Group is to raise in excess of 15.000.000 € in Social Capital which equates in my calculation to more than 10.000 committed members to this cause. Join and spread the word for „Free Coworking“!!!

If you are still in doubt whether this might work get inspiration from the video below.



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32 Kommentare
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  1. The system of free coworking is there already, check http://www.seats2meet.com The system works as you discribes it, already on 15 location with over 1500 seats!

  2. Dear Ronald, I see that your are the Co-Founder of Seats2meet. Welcome!!! I just visited the site and I was very impressed. Unfortunately not all the content is in English so I could not understand everything. I would be very happy if you would join our Facebook Group http://on.fb.me/zR61nB to clarify and share your experience, Greetings Felix

  3. It will be my pleasure, but in the meantime this site gives more English info: http://www.myowns2m.com

  4. […] clarify some points about “Free Coworking” we start this series: “Free Coworking” explained. Today I like to look at one of […]

  5. […] Coworking Evolution: Coworking goes “Free Coworking” […]

  6. […] that are practical, are easy to explain. To explain why “Free Coworking” gathers “Social Capital” is not quite as easy to explain. Therefore I like to […]

  7. […] The “Free Coworking” Evolution requires a clear statement from everybody involved. If you want something for free, you have to unite and say so!!! The good news is: Now there is a simple tool to do so. If you want “Free Coworking” globally or in your city, all you have to do is enter your name, skills/projects in our tool . The tool is completely open and free. By voting for “Free Coworking” in this way you perform a multitude of things. First of all you unite with everybody already listed in the tool. Secondly you make a clear statement that you want coworking for free!!! Thirdly you “advertise” your projects and skills!!! Fourthly you enable the coworking space operators to start “Free Coworking” in their space. (Only if there are enough people in your community or city voting for “Free Coworking” will Space Operators react and start. They and you, need the critical mass of people (Social Capital) to attract the (Financial Capital) to operate “Free Coworking” in a sustainable mode.) […]

  8. This is an interesting idea however it’ll probably catch on in Europe before it does in the U.S.. I run a co-working facility and believe its very easy to shout „Free Coworking“ if you’ve never worn my shoes. Your concept has legs but its also missing a few toes to completely run how you envision it. First, lets talk about „Capital“, the only way companies would give us money to offset our members cost would be if the members met certain skills & qualifications. Now if you put those barriers in place, were in essence becoming a group temp agency. Our job as Coworking owners shouldn’t be to find work for our members, its to provide a productive/cost efficient solution to individuals & companies who need to get things done.

    To your point of Social Capital to attract Financial Capital is ok, but then we become a recruiting company. Honestly, what is the problem with paying for access? You „pay“ to live in your home correct? If you have a traditional 9-5 you go to work & then your paid, they provide a workspace and you do your job. If you freelance or are starting a company, you client pays you and you usually work from home. Pay a fair rate to work in a productive environment with like minded individuals who can help you with your project, is valuable and the venue allowed that to happen.

    All in All, I think your undervaluing our role in the co-working community. Simply because you’ve never built one from from up. However, I do respect the idea. I just think it needs to be further developed.

    Keep thinking and keep up the good work!

    I welcome your response.

    Jay Thomas

  9. Hi Jay, thank you very much for your contribution!!! I answered your comment in detail in this blog posting: http://www.coworking-news.de/2012/02/free-coworking-reply-to-jay-thomas-coworking-space-operator/
    Greetings, Felix

  10. this avoids the problem
    that money pulls and pushes with much greater momentuum than free or altruistic ideals

    money needs to be tamed directly

    happy to invite you to eco^2
    you sound like your heart and mind are aligned well :)

    be well

  11. […] de la gratuité des espaces de coworking Un groupe Facebook a même été créé pour soutenir les projets de coworking gratuit. Nous avons eu envie de prolonger cette discussion passionnante, en français, après plusieurs […]

  12. […] I predicted in January, a little more than three months ago, that we would see a “marked increase in “Free […]

  13. […] 5 weeks after starting the “Free Coworking” Campaign we are very happy to present the first “Free Coworking Directory“. Thanks to your […]

  14. […] neue Coworking Space, Sobaexa und das Kombinat Süd, welche sogar schon nach dem neuen Konzept des free coworking […]

  15. […] this transparency because  when something is for free it is only ethical to explain and show who has got to pay the bill and why. What are your thoughts on the Loosecubes shut […]

  16. Upon the exit of Loosecubes to the coworking world, SoTechie initiated FREE Coworking.
    An awesome welcome for every startup, entrepreneurs, businesses!
    Join!
    28 W 39 St Suite 401 NY, NY 10018
    3477629110
    @SoTechie

  17. […] Please spread the word for free coworking so that more and more social capital will attract more financial capital!!! […]

  18. […] Please spread the word for free coworking so that more and more social capital will attract more financial capital!!! […]

  19. […] little less than 2 years ago, I predicted that we would see an evolution towards “Free Coworking“. Now in October 2013, it is quite normal to read a headline like “Free co-working […]

  20. […] Please spread the word for free coworking so that more and more social capital will attract more financial capital!!! […]

  21. Very interesting article. This was written in back in 2012, I am curious to know what the developments have been on free coworking spaces. My partner and I are currently working on a project to launch a Pay-What-You-Can coworking camp and would like to get some feedback. If anyone out there can chime in, I’d like to give more details to our project. Is there anyone out there that would be interested in providing feedback on our model?

  22. Hi Lola,

    your project sounds fantastic, I would be careful though with the „Pay (or trade)-What-You-Can model“. It may work in some instances with products but even than you have to take various aspects into account: (see pay what you want)

    „In a large scale experiment conducted in a large amusement park, Ayelet Gneezy, Uri Gneezy, Leif D. Nelson, and Amber Brown tested the effectiveness of PWYW by selling roller coaster photos to park visitors. Their results show that, although many more people buy the photo when it is offered under PWYW, the average price paid is very low ($.92), resulting in no income increase to the firm. However, when PWYW was coupled with a charitable cause (buyers were informed they could pay what they wanted AND that half of the amount they pay would be donated to a patient support organization) the average amount paid increased substantially (to $6.50), resulting in a significant income increase to the firm in addition to generating substantial charitable contribution. In a follow-up research paper, Gneezy and colleagues (2012) found that PWYW may deter some customers from purchasing. Their results show that this is because, „individuals feel bad when they pay less than the ‚appropriate‘ price, causing them to pass on the opportunity to purchase the product altogether“.

    Regarding coworking the important aspect for the system to work is that, everybody needs to give a little more than they receive.

    Monetary systems do not tend to work this way. Gift systems like „Free Coworking“ seem to work much better in that respect because they are based on reciprocity http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocity_(social_psychology) and gratitude.

    Have a look at the short film about Sacred Economics (Charles Eisenstein), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEZkQv25uEs, maybe you find some inspiration there how to make your project work.

    Looking forward to hear how your project is developing and how your system is working.

    Greetings,
    Felix
    http://www.free-coworking.org

  23. […] The book “The Fifth Age of Work: How Companies Can Redesign Work to Become More Innovative in a Cloud Economy” by Andrew M. Jones is out now. Thanks to an advance copy provided by Genevieve DeGuzman of Night Owls Press, I am able to write a short review and put the book into perspective with regards to the most important trend I see in Coworking at the moment: Free Coworking […]

  24. […] Please spread the word for free coworking so that more and more social capital will attract more financial capital!!! […]

  25. […] at the beginning of last year, I wrote “Coworking Evolution: Coworking goes ‘Free Coworking‘” many people had already started some form of free coworking offer for themselves and […]

  26. […] we started last year with our forecast that coworking would evolve more and more into free coworking, we based our view largely on implicit factors  and assumptions. Now with the success of Linux and […]

  27. […] Please spread the word for free coworking so that more and more social capital will attract more financial capital!!! […]

  28. […] Join the free coworking movement so that more and more social capital will attract more financial capital!!! […]

  29. […] Please spread the word for free coworking and the International Coworking Day so that more and more social capital will attract more financial capital!!! […]

  30. […] first publishing about free coworking in January 2012, I noticed again and again, that there is an important element missing. This element is necessary […]

  31. Thanks for sharing your info. I trully appreciate your efforts and I am
    waiting forr your further write ups thanks once again.

  32. […] I have been asked this question many times before, since writing my first article on Free Coworking in 2012, I like to give another answer which goes beyond what I wrote in 2012. (Only trust, openness, […]

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