The Future of Shared Work Spaces
Given the current economic climate, flexible and “alternative” staffing arrangements have – in many cases – proliferated. Rather than looking for full-time, permanent employment, many people are looking instead at multiple temporary jobs. These jobs have acquired new currency in this recession, especially among white-collar job seekers, as they cast about for work of any kind and companies remain cautious about permanent hiring.
While the current state of employment may be rendering job security obsolete, many people in the workforce don’t necessarily view that as a bad thing. Independent workers now comprise 30% of the workforce, and, as Gen Ys increasingly desire professional flexibility, co-working spaces are becoming much more popular and in-demand.
As a result, a number of new apps and sites that facilitate the “freelance lifestyle” are thriving:
Let’s Meet and Work: The “coffice” has become a common urban staple. Enter Let’s Meet and Work, an app which maps public venues (coffee shops, galleries, museums, book stores) that double as efficient work spaces. Anyone with knowledge of a space can suggest it for the respective city’s map by filling out a recommendation form.
Desktime: Desktime caters to a workforce without HR departments. The site partners up freelancers searching for a place to work with available co-working spaces. Listings include desks or entire offices, conference rooms, and other shared spaces that can be rented by the day, week or month.
Loosecubes: Loosecubes differentiates itself by emphasizing the valuable professional connections facilitated through co-working establishments—a distinction that’s made in the service’s self-identification as a “community marketplace.” However, in order to post and respond to listings on the site, users must first set up a profile identifying their primary profession, a description of their “work vibe” (options include titles such as “hacker,” “fratty” and “awesome”), whether or not they are accepting new work and location.
While this has been a growing trend for some time, there are now serious economic and technological reasons driving the arrangement. And perhaps this is indicative of a more basic human need, too — the need to be around other people. No matter how much we connect via mobile phones, email, texting, social media sites like Facebook or through webinars, many people still need to be around others for ideas, encouragement and conversation.