If there where any doubts about the impact coworking is having, Google Trends shows us how coworking interest is growing in the world. Growth is accelerating and we are beginning to see the famous hockey stick shape that investors like so much and that may have helped some people raise a lot of money, in these searches and also in coworking usage stats.
The other things that stand out in this trends search are that:
- The biggest interest and growth is in continental Europe, with Spain crushing it. We all had anecdotal evidence of this at the coworking conferences (namely at Coworking Spain). This shows how the word has become a must in a country that started getting into coworking well after pioneering Germany.
- The standard spelling is clearly coworking, without a dash. With all the initiatives that have taken place to make sure that people understand that it is coworking that should be used for the industry, it is strange to see the spelling with a dash coming back every so often. This may be because some people are still trusting the auto correct features of their word processors too much (and journalists their antiquated style guides), or because most of the growth is happening in non-native English speaking countries. As you can see the co-working spelling is used mainly in the USA and the UK, but amazingly France leads the chart, which reinforces the interest on coworking in the country.
There’s a wealth of other information in Google Trends about coworking: go check it out!
I got tired of looking for links in my bookmarks and with Google and not having a central repository. I know that there are a lot of people having the same issues, so I decided to create and maintain these lists of coworking resources:
The link to the “list of lists” with these lists and all that may be included in the future is: http://coworkinghandbook.com/resources/
They have a lot of good links and references in them, but they are not perfect. If there’s anything that you think should be included please let me know :) If you think that they are useful, share them !
Coworkings emerged in major cities almost at the same time. They were places and new ways to work. In Moscow coworkings opened three years after Brad Newberg had tried mixing freelance and the office. The reason for that was corporate downsizing, great number of free high skilled workforce and empty commercial premises.
In the summer of 2013 we found ourselves somewhere between independent specialists and a company by having created our Serebro Lab, and decided to conduct research about coworking and freelancers in order to look at the market inside out. We looked for a chance to understand what place we take as the team and what prospects we really have. The results of our work turned out to be interesting findings and partly unexpected.
Only about 25 coworking spaces ‘serve’ 500 000 Russian freelancers and more than 2 million small and medium size businesses (figures dated october 2013). 11 coworking spaces are in Moscow, 4 in Saint Petersburg; the rest are in other major cities in Russia. According to the survey which included social networks and online freelancer sites 12% respondents said that they had been to coworking spaces, 45% knew the name and had never been to, 43% had never heard of it and had no idea of what they were.
Meanwhile the owners of coworking spaces being surveyed complained that their areas were ‘underloaded’ and how hard it was to attract freelancers because freelancers can’t guarantee regular payments and are generally not attached to their workplace. We decided to check that myth. One could reveal the simple fact that the Russian freelancer gets paid not much but a little higher than the office worker. Moreover, the considerable number of freelancers are satisfied with their life, think they are successful and have no intention to come back to offices. We were wondering: maybe, the point is not about freelancers, it’s all about the owners of coworking spaces who do not study the primary needs of their target audience and are unable to make a good offer? Our further analysis confirmed our conclusions. For example, most freelancers prefer to work in the evening and at night but coworkings usually work as normal offices 9/5. Crash of coworking spaces happens only if their heads neglect the needs of their clients and do not focus on the main market trends ignoring marketing/advertising tools. The same thing with high degree of certainty takes place on a global scale.
We do hope that our data will help to improve the situation around coworking. I suppose that all heads of coworking spaces especially those who consider coworking as the money making project would agree with me: freelancers and small businesses can be successful without coworking but coworking spaces won’t survive without freelancers and small businesses. So let’s help each other be successful.
Oksana Zheleznova, the founder and head of Serebro Lab intellectual laboratory, has been invited to write for the Coworking Handbook blog thanks to their presentation of this study at the Coworking Europe Conference. If you want to be featured in the blog, drop us a few lines or even better, a full article!