Written by Tony Bacigalupo.
I just returned from the Coworking Europe conference in Milan, where I had the good fortune of meeting people from over a dozen different countries who are passionate about coworking and the good it can do for the people in their regions.
It was, as always, an inspiration to be around so many awesome folks, but I couldn’t help but come way feeling hungry for something more. I got this feeling like a lot of people care about this coworking thing, but so few feel like they fully understand it and fewer still feel comfortable talking about it with pride and fervor.
This movement deserves celebration. We know how awesome it is, how impactful it is, how much good it can do for the people who get to be a part of it. But that story’s not out there, not nearly enough. People talk about coworking like it’s a slightly different way to share office space, and that doesn’t do this thing justice. Not even close.
This isn’t just about renting desks, dammit. I want to shift that story. The people who have been a part of this movement have been proud of coworking, but I think we can go further to be not just proud but vocally, visibly, forcefully proud.
I want to see us inspiring others not just to start a coworking space in their community, but to join a movement that is changing things for the better.
Coworking helps independent workers battle isolation. Coworking empowers peers to develop their own economies in environments where job opportunities might otherwise not exist. Coworking gives people ways to hire each other, to make more money, to make friends, to feel like they belong to something.
And I refuse to let anyone think of it as anything less.
Working with Open Coworking, I intend over the next year to raise the profile of coworking as a movement and not just a business trend. I intend to do that by continuing to develop better systems to rally volunteers to help us make improvements to the existing resources we have, so they’ll be things we’re proud to send people to. The wiki, the blog, all these things we have will only serve the next generation if we give them the love and care they deserve.
As we go, we’ll share our story of what we’re doing with others so they can feel invited to join. We’ll do a round of fundraising to help us get something we need but don’t yet have: a real budget to hire people to do actually focus on working on the movement.
Then, we’ll use our growing new platform to go further. We’ll create better resources to educate organizers. We’ll develop better ways to collect impact data that coworking spaces can use to prove the impact they have. And we’ll look for ways to advocate on behalf of the movement in conversations with institutions and governments who should be involved.
A few things to ask of you:
- Send us a few photos (or links to photos) of your community and space. Anything you’re proud of will do; of course pictures with people in them are preferred 🙂 (Email tony [at] opencoworking.org!)
- Let me know if you know any great up-and-coming designers who would be willing to do a little bit of volunteer or low-pay work for us, with the prospect of some paid work down the line? I’m looking for someone who’d be game to do some graphics as well as some web design.
- Submit a story to the Global Coworking Blog. A story of an experience you’ve had that gives you insight or inspiration. (Email us: info [at] opencoworking.org)
- Join for an upcoming volunteer event. We’ll be updating the Coworking Wiki, developing best practices, discussing improvements to the Coworking Visa and more. Join one of our upcoming events here.
- Become a supporter. We’re looking for folks to kick in $100/year so we can hire people to focus on growing this movement. Learn more here.
Lastly, perhaps you’d like to help me see if we can get a little trend started. I’d like to get some propaganda rolling for coworking, starting with some very simple imagery.
I’ve drafted some materials here:
We are coworking.
It’s an act, it’s an identity, and it’s ours.
If you like it, let me know. I’m happy to produce different shapes/sizes/versions if you want to embed this with a link on your site.
Vive le coworking!