As more and more people join the freelancer community, coworking spaces continue to fulfil a growing need for collaborative and productive workspaces. The massive rise of coworking has been in part down to its ability to match the needs of a newly independent and flexible workforce. Signature Works is no different; offering freelancers space where they can collaborate, network, work in small groups or work privately at any time of the day, all for an affordable price.
FreeOfficeFinder recently delved into the history of coworking and we wanted to have a look at this history and consider how Signature Works continue to uphold the key tenants and, in the end, legacy of coworking.
During the 90’s, a number of offices begin to pop up which are clear precursors to the coworking spaces we know of today. Although elements of coworking spaces can be seen as far back as the beginning of the 20th century, this is clearly the decade in which workspaces begin to try and accommodate a new way of work and a new breed of worker.
American ad agency, Chiat/Day, for instance, try to create a space which promotes collaboration between workers by having no work furniture. A group of computer engineers set up a not-for-profit space in Berlin, with the intention of creating a workspace which offers computer engineers a space to work in, facilities and a chance to collaborate and share ideas. They call them ‘hackerspaces’. A software company in New York sets up 42 West 24, an impressive work environment with short-term flexible desk space.
Clearly, the need for a shift away from the traditional office is being recognised by office providers and elements of coworking spaces are developed throughout the decade. Some of these elements can be seen in Signature Works today. Just like 42 West 24, Signature Works offer freelancers the opportunity to work in a high-quality, beautifully designed space that would otherwise be unavailable to them. Signature Works, however, is unique from many coworking spaces because of its connection with other Signature companies. Coworking members are given free membership to Signature’s Fit Club and discounts across the whole portfolio of Signature hotels, spas, bars & restaurants. So, not only do members of Signature have access to impressive coworking spaces – as many coworking spaces are – but Signature Works go above and beyond by providing access to a wide range of premium facilities and entertainment.
The 00’s saw the birth and quite rapid expansion of coworking around the globe. This is made more impressive by the fact that the first official coworking space is not set up until the middle of the decade. At the beginning of the decade, there are still precursors to coworking setting up more flexible or collaborative workspaces. For instance, Schraubenfabrik offers space in a renovated factory for home-workers to work with like-minded people. The Austrian space is often referred to as the mother of coworking.In 2005, Brad Neuberg sets up the first-ever coworking space. The space runs twice a week in a feminist collective called Spiral Muse in San Francisco. For the first month, no one turns up to ‘San Francisco Coworking Space’. However, soon, the first member arrives and the next few years see coworking spaces popping up around the globe. In 2006, there are 30 coworking spaces but for the next seven years, that number will double year on year. As more people begin to work remotely, coworking clearly serves an ever-growing need amongst freelancers and similar workers.
Neuberg intended the first space to be a place where freelancers or remote workers could have the freedom of working independently, but also the structure and community of an office space. Spaces popping up around the globe over the following years continued with this same aim. Today, Signature Works considers its role to create and continually adapt an office space which suits the needs of today’s freelancers, entrepreneurs and startups. The aim of coworking from the beginning has been to mould around the needs of freelancers and Signature continues to uphold this ethos, offering incredibly flexible contracts along with their flexible workspaces, so members can get exactly what they need out of the space.
So far, this decade has seen an explosion of coworking spaces and coworking members all around the globe. This was the decade where the coworking phenomenon took hold. Today, we are closing in on two million coworkers worldwide, occupying tens-of-thousands of coworking spaces. Coworking has become truly mainstream.As coworking became massive, many spaces around the globe maintained the key ideas behind coworking of collaboration, community and often social development. For instance, whilst 2011 saw the first angel investment in a coworking company in California, thereby signalling the business opportunities around coworking, it also saw the birth of Hera Hub, a coworking space set up by Felena Hanson designed to support female freelancers and businesses; the first health insurance plan for a coworking space, implemented by Ashley Proctor at Coworking Ontario; and massive coworking conferences bringing providers and members together from all over the world.
One key notion behind coworking was cemented this century, with spaces focusing on helping their members’ businesses grow. Signature Works is no different. With the Business Advice facility, members are giving the opportunity to talk to a business leader every Friday in order to gain knowledge and skills to succeed in the world of business.
Key to the enormous growth of coworking has been its ability to consistently stick to the values which define it. Without these principles, freelancers, entrepreneurs, remote workers and startups would not continue to join coworking spaces. In 2017, Signature Works was set up and has succeeded as a result of this ethos. By focusing on the needs of their members, giving them the flexibility and a multitude of options to carve out their own perfect workspace, whilst also holding on to the core ideas of collaboration and community and doing so in impressive locations and workspaces, Signature Works show just why coworking has grown so big in such a short amount of time.