Pop-up coworking is the latest buzzword to hit the flexible workspace industry. So what is it all about?
We’re all familiar with the coworking concept. Here at Officing Today we have been keeping tabs on various aspects of this popular workplace trend over the past year. We’ve looked at the people who fill coworking spaces, the importance of coworking communities, the strength of individual coworking communities like Indy Hall, and we also reported on the trends that came out of 2012’s Coworking Europe conference in 2012, through the eyes of ABCN’s John Milhado.
We’ve even dealt with the delicate issue of how to handle annoying coworkers.
Now one of the latest buzzwords to hit the world of flexible workspace is that of pop-up coworking. So what is pop-up coworking, how does it work, and what does it mean for the business centre industry?
Think of a pop-up concept like flat-pack furniture. It’s quickly or easily assembled (unless you’re dangerous with power tools like me), it can be mobile, and it’s usually temporary too. The idea can apply to many different entities – events, shops, restaurants, clubs, even art galleries. They usually take place in a disused space, like a warehouse or on wasteland, and literally ‘pop up’ for a little while before they’re packed away again.
A pop-up coworking space is a lot like a Jelly. The idea is that freelancers or nomadic workers get together with a number of friends or fellow freelancers, and gather en masse in a work-friendly public space. The idea is to work – not necessarily on the same project, but just to work alongside each other and enjoy some like-minded company.
It’s like coworking, but there’s no membership model, and no pressure to use up your subscription quota. It’s free (almost) – save for any travelling costs, donations to the host, or cups of coffee bought throughout the day.
This trend is gathering speed and it’s not hard to see why. There’s currently a huge focus on the ‘third place’ – a place to work that’s somewhere between work and home, somewhere that lets workers get their head down and satisfy their requirements – be it a professional meeting space, a place to print documents, or just somewhere that’s not the lonely home office. The growth of mobile technology and the ability to work anywhere is fuelling demand for new and innovative workplaces, and pop-up coworking space is one of them.
This is an exciting time for the flexible workspace industry, and it’s opening up new opportunities for the business community to satisfy their workspace requirements, however diverse they might be. Business centres should be aware of this trend and how it might impact demand for their space in the future. But they should also embrace it. Advances in technology mean that our work and lifestyles are changing at a rapid pace – and this latest coworking style is yet another example of how businesses are adapting to that change.
Could you invite your local freelancing community into your space for a day of pop-up coworking? Perhaps for a nominal fee, say the price of a cup of coffee per person? Or could you host a Jelly meet-up once a month? Think of the short and long-term benefits. It might just help get the word out about your business centre, and those same freelancers might come back to your centre once their fledgling business expands later down the line.
Image – Jelly UK