Coworking Europe 2010 - Survey


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Regard panoramique sur l'état du développement du phénomène de coworking en Europe en 2010

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Coworking Europe 2010 - Survey

  1. 1. CoworkingEurope 2010 Surveycoworking europe 2010 . let’s work together
  2. 2. 02Introduction”If we are around interesting people, interesting things usually happen.”Chris Messina | co-founder of Citizen Space - San FranciscoAccording to a definition available on Wikipedia, Coworking is the social gathering of agroup of people who, while still working independently, share the same values and areinterested in the synergy coming out of a shared working environment.Coworking is in tune with the spirit of our time. Nowadays, anyone with a laptop, anInternet connection and 100 Euros can start his/her own activity. It has never beeneasier to interconnect with other entrepreneurs and skilled people, no matter whattheir background or their location.So it is no coincidence that coworking spaces are emerging all around the globe, redefiningthe way people used to consider a working environment.Coworking spaces such as The Hub in London, or Citizen Space in San Francisco haveopened in all major cities. In Europe, more than 150 coworking spaces have opened incities such as Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Milan, Warsaw, Lisbon, Dublin, Budapest,Riga and many more.This survey and the Coworking Europe 2010 conference are a first step to map thistrend and understand its potential impact in Europe.As our survey of coworking spaces showed, coworking is a bottom-up sustained movementthat is accelerating. The concept has already taken off in a number of countries. Thenumber of coworking entrepreneurs, freelancers or even teleworkers is increasing alongwith the steady growth of coworking capacities. Furthermore, the interactions betweencoworking spaces would create a useful international network of entrepreneurs andskilled professionals around Europe and beyond.Even some traditional office centres or incubators are now considering coworking as anew approach to running their facilities.Nevertheless, as our survey confirms, coworking is not only about sharing a physicalspace. Coworking, most and foremost, is about establishing a community of likemindedpeople in order to build dynamic networks. People are there to speak with each other,share knowledge, network and sometimes even co-create new projects.Along with other initiatives, we believe coworking could inject a new entrepreneurial,innovative and sustainable energy into the European economy.Coworking Europe 2010 | Survey
  3. 3. 03Coworking spaces inEurope – a snapshotThe labour market trends show a are less common in Europe, but also thecontinuing shift toward freelance and out- conditions for SMEs and start-up companiesof-office contracted employment. Never- are much less favourable in the EU as theytheless, the European data demonstrate are in the US.a rather strong reluctance of Europeansto start their own business. According to Finally, conditions for start-up companiesthe Eurobarometer 316 only 13% of those vary widely across Europe. Nevertheless,who are currently working in the event of in the UK between 2001 and 2009, thebeing laid off would consider starting their number of home-based businesses (self-own business. employed and mainly working from home) rose by 22% (2.3 million people in 2009)1.Moreover, regardless of the EU effortsto boost the entrepreneurship spirit in Coworking spaces seem to be an innovativeEurope with the launch of the Action way of fostering entrepreneurship andPlan on Entrepreneurship (2004), still just changing the way we work. Their fast take-under a tenth (8%) of the Europeans are up shows an existing market and socialself-employed (Special Eurobarometer on niche. The Data Coworking Europe SurveyEuropean Employment and Social Policy carried out in November 20102 strives to[Spring 2009]). Not only the entrepre- give a snapshot of this rapidly growing andneurial mindset and risk-taking approaches dynamically changing phenomenon.1 The online survey (surveymonkey) link was sent to 120 cowoking spaces in Europe and resulted in 40% return rate (47 responses). Coworking Europe 2010 | Survey
  4. 4. 04RAPIDLy gRoWINgMost of the coworking spaces were created in the lasttwo years, less than one fifth of those surveyed wascreated before 2008.Coworking is spreading out in all Europe. For instance,see the map below to locate the coworking spaces thatanswered to the survey.   Figure 1 Number of coworking spaces in Europe - extrapolation from the survey sampleCoworking Europe 2010 | Survey  
  5. 5. 05SMALL AND SWARMINgMore than half of the coworking spacessurveyed are small, up to 19 seats spaces.Less than one fourth has 20 to 49 fifth has the capacity to fit 50 to 100members and only 6% are really largefacilities with more than 100 seatsavailable.Interestingly, the coworking capacity almost  exactly matches with the membershipdata, though some differences occur inthe biggest spaces where members moreoften share the same desk/seat space in Figure 2 Coworking spaces’ capacitydifferent time slots. overall, those resultsprove that the interest in the membershipis high and may indicate that the existingspaces are not that hard to fill (though thesample may be somewhat skewed by theresponses of more successful ones).Finally, the majority of the coworkingspaces do not focus on a specific marketsector be it design, web, art, IT, finance,sustainable development or finance (70%),  gathering a large variety of coworkers.Coworking fosters multidisciplinarity andcollaboration across sectors. Figure 3 Membership data Coworking Europe 2010 | Survey
  6. 6. 06 PRIvATELy-oWNED The vast majority of the coworking spaces surveyed are commercial companies (75%) and less than one fifth are non-profit organisations which reinforces the assumption of profitability even if in the long run of these services. The public bodies constitute only 2% of the sample, whereas one fourth of the spaces have a different legal entity (social enterprise or   else). Figure 4 Furthermore, only 25% of the surveyed Type of the legal entity coworking spaces said they have received the support from local public authorities to launch their project, while most of the coworking spaces were launched through a bottom-up initiative.   Figure 5 Support from local authoritiesCoworking Europe 2010 | Survey
  7. 7. 07SELF-SUSTAININgAlmost half of the coworking spaces basetheir business model on subscriptionfees, another half combines it with eventorganization or other services. Therewas no coworking space surveyed thatmentioned government subsidies as itsrevenue. This is another argument for astrong market value of these initiatives.WITH DIvERSE BUT   Figure 6CoMPLEMENTARy MEMBERS Coworking spaces’ business modelsMost of the coworking spaces host a goodmix of starting entrepreneurs, freelanceworkers and teleworkers (83%). only 13%focus on freelance and even less (4%) onstarting entrepreneurs.Another survey on coworking spaces inBerlin, carried out by a Berlin universitystudent, Lukas de Pellegrin, showed thatwhat the members look for and most  appreciate in the coworking space is theopportunity to interact with other self-employed people. What is more, accord- Figure 7ing to the same source, the amalgam of CW spaces members – type of professional activitydifferent profiles seems to be one of themost important added-value3. The resultsof the above-mention Berlin coworkingspaces survey showed also that women ac-counted for almost half of the sample (40%)and the majority of coworkers are between30 and 40 years old, which correspondswith the profile of an average Europeanentrepreneur.3 Coworking Europe 2010 | Survey
  8. 8. 08FoSTERINg SERENDIPIToUS INNovATIoNFor the majority of the survey respondents (66%), being incoworking space stimulates the creativity of the members to a greatextent. only one third was less enthusiastic and estimated that thecreativity of the members is stimulated only every now and then.Moreover, the vast majority of the coworking spaces surveyedconfirmed that the space generated at least one project started bycoworkers who met in the coworking space (87%).   Figure 8 Developing new projectsCoworking Europe 2010 | Survey
  9. 9. 09European dimensionand impactThe rapidly growing network of coworking spaces seems to provide a bottom-up answerto many of Europe’s social and economic challenges, as identified in the most recentstrategy documents (Eu2020 Strategy, Digital Agenda and Innovation Union) :NURTURINg The Hub Brussels premises, a modern and energetic coworking space, are locatedENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET in a former chocolate factory ‘La Chocola-The coworking spaces effectively attract terie Antoine’ in Ixelles.and encourage individuals, unemployed,laid-off or inactive citizens who want to DEvELoPINg NEW WoRKINgembark on a new professional career in acollaborative environment with low costs MoDELS AND ENCoURAgINgof start-up (users can choose from a variety TELEWoRKof part-time schemes) and virtually no Coworking spaces encourage changescosts of setback, while providing services in the working models as well as permitand peer support. even large companies to create alterna- tive workplaces to escape from routine ofSTIMULATINg INNovATIoN corporate work and free employees fromAND CREATIvITy traditional office coercions. For example, at IBM 46,000 out of its 115,000 workersCoworking spaces create a highly in the US work at “alternative workplaces”3.stimulating environment for exchangingknowledge and fostering innovation byproviding collaborative, unconventional LIFE LoNg LEARNINg IN THEphysical spaces and facilitating business LEARNINg SoCIETypartners encounters. By gathering Coworking spaces bring people, knowl-innovative entrepreneurs together in one edge and skills together providingspace, they capitalise on Europe’s creative opportunities for formal and informalpotential and help to deliver good ideas to training. They help self-employed peoplemarket. To give just one example, The and small entrepreneurs get access toWerks in Hove (England), have had over 20 tailored training modules, e.g. the Hubcoworking space members who together Brussels organises workshops and trainingswon and later worked together on a one on a weekly basis, including formal training£90,000 contract3. and self-help groups.RENEWINg URBAN FLExICURITy IN ACTIoNLANDSCAPES The coworking spaces help womenCoworking spaces are an opportunity entrepreneurs to set up or come back toto renew previously desolated industrial work offering flexible office hours withspaces by transforming them into lively part-time subscription fees and in someand energetic working environments, locations children-friendly facilities. Therather than in purely residential areas. share of self-employed women still lags4 Coworking Europe 2010 | Survey
  10. 10. 10 behind man as women due to discontinuity that can eventually become the solution of their career or time constraints caused to many societal challenges pooling efforts by the combination of household and for breakthroughs. Social entrepreneurs work responsibilities. For all freelancers learn best from each other, and in relation and new entrepreneurs coworking spaces to their actual work. Shared workspace is enable to keep the work-family and private an effective way to build that social capital. life balance by getting with work out of How important it is, shows an example the private space. Cubes and Crayons of coworking spaces like The Centre for coworking space in California provides Social Innovation in Toronto aimed at cata- full-time childcare and office space as one lyzing social innovation in its premises and service6. around the globe7. ACTIvE AgEINg – WoRKINg HARNESSINg CLoUD AFTER THE RETIREMENT AgE CoMPUTINg More and more often newly retirees are Coworking spaces exist first and foremost looking for a new or the continuation of thanks to the rise of the cloud workspace their professional activity. Nevertheless, that does not enables collaboration any- this time they opt for flexible hours and where, anytime, and make state-of-the-art no strenuousness related to the traditional software available even to self-employed office environment. Coworking spaces people and small entrepreneurs. enable them to remain intellectually active and stimulated while the retirees offer to ENTICINg EURoPEAN coworkers their experience and a handful of time. Even if, the average member of AND INTERNATIoNAL the Hub network is 30-40 years old, there CoLLABoRATIoN are also several members who already Coworking spaces members constitute a reached their retirement age. colorful patchwork of nationalities that embodies the European spirit of Eras- FoSTERINg SoCIAL mus peregrinations. What is more, the INNovATIoN networks of coworking spaces enable European and international collaboration Coworking spaces are designed and spreading the benefits of innovation across managed to incubate, inspire stimulate, the Union. For example, recently launched facilitate and upscale social innovation by Coworking visa program allows members nurturing bottom-up innovative initiatives of different coworking locations access to emerged as solutions to local problems participating locations around the world7. In summary, coworking spaces are not just shared office spaces nor hippy communes: they provide new, bottom-up, collaborative, scalable solutions to Europe’s long standing problems. They help Europeans to make their dream come true. They are the “open innovation” equivalent of Silicon valleys garages. 6 7 8 Europe 2010 | Survey
  11. 11. 11AuthorsJean-yves HuwartFounderEconomic think tankEntreprise globalewww.entrepriseglobale.bizjeanyveshuwart@gmail.comKatarzyna SzkutaPolicy AnalystTech4i2www.tech4i2.comkatarzyna.szkuta@tech4i2.comDavid osimoDirectorTech4i2www.tech4i2.comdavid.osimo@tech4i2.comThis survey has been produced withthe support of the Creative Walloniaprogram of the Wallonia Region. Coworking Europe 2010 | Survey