- Thanks to Brad Neuberg’s post, August 9 is recognized as the day that “coworking” was born, both as a term and a movement.
- With the growth in audience, demand and geographic presence, International Coworking Day may be bigger this year than ever before.
- While there may not be tons of awareness of it or visible activity around it, there are many ways to celebrate it.
Happy International Coworking Day!
August 9 marks a special milestone in the evolution of flexible workspace. It’s International Coworking Day, which means it’s a day of coworking, collaborating, creating, and celebrating… well, what, exactly?
Like most national or international “Days,” its origins are a little obscure. Much as we love a great excuse to celebrate coworking, this got us thinking. What is Coworking Day? Where did it start? Who takes part? Why does it exist? How has it changed in recent years?
To find out, we dug a little deeper into the coworking history books. Here’s what we found out.
It all started with a coding blog
Software engineer Brad Neuberg is credited as the person who kicked off not just Coworking Day, but the whole coworking movement itself, when he blogged about the idea on August 9, 2005:
“This week is the first week of coworking, something I am setting up.”
In his blog post, he invited “free spirits” and creators to “come together in community” at the Spiral Muse Coworking Group, “sitting at tables or relaxing on couches as we do our work.”
Even today, the essence of coworking remains remarkably true to Brad’s 2005 vision:
“Even though each of us is doing separate work, perhaps programming or writing a novel, we can feel each other’s presence, run ideas by the community, or take breaks together at the watercooler.”
Unbeknown at the time, August 9 was to go down in history.
Thanks to Brad Neuberg’s post, August 9 has become recognized as the day that “coworking” was born, both as a term and a movement.
And in case you’re wondering, Brad’s not bashful when it comes to putting history straight.
In a separate blog post titled “The Start of Coworking (From the Guy that Started It),” he gets straight to the point:
“Yes I invented coworking.”
His post details the beginnings of his coworking movement at the Spiral Muse and seeks to put the record straight on what he claims are various inaccuracies — including Bernie De Koven’s involvement and a number of disputes posted on Wikipedia.
There were some other collaborative spaces around at the time.
DeskMag’s coworking timeline suggests that some other spaces “popped up” around the world prior to August 9, 2005, which provided shared workspaces to entrepreneurs and freelancers.
That said, it was Brad Neuberg’s community-centered definition and specific (non-hyphenated) use of the term “coworking” that effectively drew a line in the sand.
And Coworking Day was born.
It’s that vision of coworking that we are celebrating today. Of course, coworking’s official birthday wasn’t established until some years after the now-famous blog post.
Coworking Day celebrations are as diverse as the industry itself
Some coworking spaces mark the occasion, some ignore it, and others are unaware of it altogether.
For instance, San Diego-based coworking firm The Sandbox announced that it would be offering one free day of coworking at all of its California locations.
However, changes in the coworking industry could mean even more diversified celebrations.
Now, these spaces aren’t just dedicated to promising startups and entrepreneurs — enterprises have also become a significant portion of the coworking member population.
Along with the expansion of membership demographic, the coworking industry’s growth has also seen significant milestones. According to Ergonomic Trends, the number of coworking spaces worldwide is expected to double from 2021 to 2024.
With the growth in both audience, demand and geographic presence, International Coworking Day may be bigger this year than ever before.
But not every coworking space chooses to recognize it
“Some spaces and regional alliances get into it, but it’s not widely known,” said Cat Johnson, a content marketer for the coworking sector.
“International Coworking Day has been around since the early days of coworking. There’s not, however, tons of awareness of it or activity around it.”
Because of the mass volatility the coworking industry has experienced in the last several years due to the pandemic, it would make sense why an operator would choose to ignore this day.
However, coworking may be at its prime at the moment after years of ironing out kinks, introducing better business models, and landlords finally jumping aboard the flexibility train.
By celebrating International Coworking Day, coworking operators have the opportunity to introduce professionals and businesses to their offerings and spread the good word about why coworking works.
Where will you be working on August 9?
Whether or not you choose to mark Coworking Day on August 9, take a moment to consider how far the coworking industry has come since its beginnings.
A 2017 Coworking Survey by DeskMag suggests that more than 1 million people worldwide will work in a coworking space this year.
Follow the latest goings-on at #CoworkingDay and let us know @Allwork_Space how you’re celebrating Coworking Day at your workspace.