Coworking spaces haven’t been around very long. Let’s take a look at how they started and what they’ve evolved into.
Coworking by Year 1995- Present
1995 – The first “coworking” space was actually founded by hackers in Berlin. The idea was to share thoughts, space, and information to complete tasks with those who joined the membership. Also, the word “coworking” was first used by Bernard DeKoven, who described it as “working together as equals.” A space opened up in New York that same year by a software company with a flexible desk setting.
2002 – The first coworking space opened up in Schraubenfabrik, Vienna, in an old renovated factory, which began as a community center for enterprises. It expanded to include freelancers and other professionals working with cell phones and laptops.
2004 – The space in Vienna continued to grow and function under the name of Konnex Communities creating a local network of coworking spaces.
2005 – San Francisco hosts the first coworking space in August by Brad Neuberg. The space offered desks, free wifi, shared lunches, bike tours, meditation, and massages. It closed after a year.
2006 – London opened up 40 coworking spaces by a franchise network on five different continents. In Germany, St. Oberholz opened up its first cafes in Berlin and offered free internet. Presently, St. Oberholz offers a true coworking space above its cafe. Coworking Wiki opens in San Francisco. Chris Messina, who created the Twitter hashtag, is one of the co-founders. The first full-time coworking space opens at the Hat Factory (opened in Neuberg’s old space). Co-founders are Brad Neuberg, Chris Messina, and Tara Hunt. At this time, it was one out of about 30 coworking spaces throughout the world.
2007 – The first time the word “coworking” is seen on Google’s database and was adopted into the English version of Wikipedia.
2008 – There were approximately 160 coworking spaces worldwide.
2009 – Germany opens Betahaus, the first official coworking space, and was noted in the largest new magazine, the Spiegel.
2010 – The first #CoworkingDay was celebrated by the movement. The first European coworking conference took place in Brussels. There were at least 600 coworking spaces worldwide, with more than half located in North America.
2011 – The first “Coworking Unconference” was located in Austin, Texas. Angel funding started for a network of spaces. Large companies began to explore the coworking idea and opened their own chain of coworking spaces specializing in corporate coworking.
2012 – Coworking spaces worldwide add up to more than 2,000 established. Media outlets such as Twitter have a huge increase of tweets (over 50%) with hashtag “coworking” – more than the prior year.
2013 – As many as 100,000 people worked in coworking spaces at the beginning of the year. Mid-year, the 3,000th coworking space was founded. An Ontario coworking space offered the first health insurance plan for coworkers.
2015 – The New York Times writes about a new idea that sees coworking mixing with the home office at a resort or hotel. The story is, “Co-Working on Vacation: A Desk in Paradise.” The main idea of the story is combining coworking and coliving on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands – a surfing destination. The Surf Office was born, originally opened two years earlier as an experiment, making it a place attractive to freelancers, surfers, and travelers.
2016 – The coworking and coliving idea broadened. WeWork offered residential coliving in New York City, named WeLive.
2017 – WeWork raises funding and becomes the most highly valued US private tech company. At this point, 1.2 million people worldwide are working at a coworking space.
2018– Coworking franchises such as Impact Hub, Venture X, and Serendipity were coming into play.
2019 – NuvoDesk joins the thousands of coworking spaces across the world.
2021 – With the need for new ways to work, coworking will be ever-expanding.