Where Does Coworking Industry Come and Go During this Pandemic
Where does the coworking space come from and where does it go?
Original Article: Mr Robert Li Ruiwu, Professor Chu Junhong, National University of Singapore Business School
Before the Industrial Revolution, the first administrative buildings appeared to manage state affairs. Uffizi Gallery, the oldest office in history is nearly 500 years old.
▲The appearance of the Uffizi Art Museum in Italy
Between the Year 1760 to 1840, the first industrial revolution to promote labor from a “small workshop“ to produce a more focused “big factory“ and people began to go out to work.
In the early 19th century, telephones, telegraphs, typewriters, and public electricity were born and innovated, which brought about the first change in the modern office in the United States.
At the beginning of 1940, chemical synthetic materials that are easy to shape, rich in color, and low in price have been increasingly used in interior decoration. VOC and other volatile organic compound pollution have become more and more common, which is more harmful to closed office rooms.
After World War II, a more casual office layout became popular in Europe. People can walk around, chat, and use screens and green plants to separate private spaces. This kind of design called “office landscape“ has become popular.
In 1968, a designer Robert Propst redesign the “ office landscape“ based on the design of a cubicle, which fully demonstrated its position within the company, grade, reflecting the effective management and control of consciousness, which until today is still the mainstream design. Blocks of partitions not only limit the physical and mental freedom of employees but also block communication and collaboration between departments.
In 1973, former NASA engineer Jack Nilles proposed that telecommuting is an innovative way to solve the problems of urban expansion, traffic congestion, and lack of non-renewable resources. At this time, telecommuting refers to working at home, and today’s telecommuting refers to working in spaces outside the office, including residences, coffee shops, and shared office spaces.
With the advent of the digital age and the widespread coverage of networks and communication signals, there are more than 3 billion netizens in the world, and home office work has not taken the world by storm. With the widespread use of WIFI, Starbucks and IWG (formerly REGUS) are expanding rapidly around the world. Why? Because people are social animals, they need to stay with people, even strangers.
In 1987, Howard Schultz bought Starbucks shop, bakery factories, and its branding. He believes the core values of Starbucks which is the “third space“ meaning Starbucks not only provides customers with a place to drink coffee but also gives spiritual enjoyment and satisfaction while making people feel fun in this atmosphere and thus winning the trust of customers.
In 1989, the originator of serviced office operators was born in Belgium – IWG. At present, it has launched shared office brand SPACES. Some serviced office spaces will be closed after the contract expires. Members are invited to settle in the new shared office space.
In 2009, WeWork, the originator of a shared office, was born in New York USA. Its community concept and community activity model was a breakthrough in-office functions.
Today, although Wework is in financial woes, however under Neumann’s crazy promoting of the shared office model, it has become a common practice. Freelancers, innovative entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises, and multinational companies have all realized and experienced the flexibility, economical, and community value of the shared office.
Choosing a shared office can not only save time, effort, and money in the process of property screening, decoration, and use, but also reduce logistics staff.
At present, the shared office market has entered a bottleneck period, and it is difficult to follow the trend and simple imitation. The cruel survival of the fittest has caused operators to reflect on the nature of the format of the shared office? What kind of office environment do various companies and organizations need?
No matter what kind of setting is an office, its essence is always “the place where people work“.
For a long time, the “person“ here refers to the boss. That is, the location of the office, renovation, functional configuration, etc. are all determined by the boss, and then the boss appoints a trustworthy person to be responsible for the renovation project, and in the end, it is often done by someone not professional. It is hard for people to do something that is difficult to do well and it is difficult to have the opportunity to do it again, one can imagine what the result will be.
It will become a trend to entrust the office site selection, design, decoration, and environmental ecological optimization to professional companies, and enjoy the convenience of just carrying a bag and check in to work in a relaxed, comfortable and healthy environment.
Of course, different cultural backgrounds, different ages, different industries, and occupations have different requirements and preferences for the office environment. The traditional office needs to continuously optimize the indoor environment, but the situation of having an unoptimized air indoor environment will still exist for a long time down the road.
To a coworking space, “person” refers to every professional freelancer and every innovative entrepreneur who chooses their own work stations. The bosses of SME(Small Medium Enterprise) will also undergo the choosing of office spaces and workstations selections with their partners and employees together. For huge multinational companies that choose coworking space as their service providers, they tend to cancel their own private office rooms or workstations. What they just need is the flexibility of using meeting rooms and phone booths.
The “ person “ here refers to almost every member. Not only do they have the right to choose space, but they can also choose which office to sit in, sit out of the office, sit in a shared workstation or leisure area and they can also choose to sit or stand.
What is most important to most people? Of course, it is a person’s health!
A high-end office should be an indoor environment that is beneficial to people’s physical and mental health, not just high-end luxury renovation. The exterior beauty is necessary, but it must be based on the physical and mental health of people.
How can we create an indoor environment that is beneficial to people’s physical and mental health? Some coworking companies have already carried out active explorations.
For example, the air quality in the indoor environment is very important. The dust, microorganisms, oxygen enrichment, and humidity in the air are all related to plants.
Build a suitable plant community indoors, and customize ecological products and ecological equipment to create an ecological optimization system, absorb carbon dioxide, ionizing radiation, absorb dust, microorganisms, degrade organic pollutants, and release negative oxygen known as “air vitamins“ Ions, purifies the air and regulates temperature and humidity.
At the same time, natural light is also essential, not only for plants but also for people. Sunlight not only makes the human body form vitamin D, calcium, etc., but more importantly, it makes people cheerful, avoids depression, reduces the risk of dementia, can also regulate the biological clock, strengthen the immune system, and disinfect.
In order to solve the problem of VOC pollution, all renovations, materials, and furniture must use green label certified products.
The coworking space must be the place for “work“. Although it is necessary to take into consideration of the lifestyle needs of members, to be equipped with coffee machines, tea, fresh juice, and other healthy drinks, nuts and dried fruits, healthy food, table tennis table, table football, and other leisure facilities. However, a co-working space must not be a gym or a casino, or a cafe or bar. Co-working space must not be made unlike of office settings, the practice of grandstanding is difficult to sustain.
At present, various forms of coworking office space are still in rudiments, and operators need to use their respective advantages to continuously optimize and upgrade according to market and customers’ needs.
However, it is always necessary to design, decorate, and configure functions closely around the nature of the “place where people work”. Otherwise, it will be neglecting the fundamentals and concentrate on details causing things to turn out contrary to the way one wishes.