Every year, August 9th for the last 15 years has been an incredibly special day for us. Better known as International Coworking Day, this day was called to life to celebrate the concept of coworking and to promote it
International Coworking Day is a day worth celebrating. But, if we are being completely honest, and probably worked form Nairobi Garage, every day at any of our coworking Spaces is an international coworking day.
With three locations in Nairobi and so many community members from all over the world in these spaces, it’s hard to find and have a more international vibe.
Combine this with the climate of entrepreneurship, productivity, and positivity, and you’ve got a place that allows you to extend your boundaries every single day, no matter which day the calendar says it is.
Fifteen years on, the industry has grown in leaps and bounds and just like any industry has had a fair share of its own challenges, one notable one being the WeWork debacle. This year, we take you down the memory lane to look at a few facts on coworking that you might have missed out over the period. Enjoy!
// Coworking, as we experience it today, is dated back in 1995 and was preceded by European hacker spaces of the 1990s, where programmers would exchange skills and best practices. Some coworking places were developed by nomadic Internet entrepreneurs seeking an alternative to working in coffee shops and cafes, or to isolation in independent or home offices.
// The word “coworking” is alleged to have been first used by Bernard DeKoven, who described it as “working together as equals.” Individuals who are self-employed or working for different employers but, can share ideas with tools and coordinated meetings through a computer network.
// The first coworking space opened in Schraubenfabrik, Vienna, in an old renovated factory, which began as a community centre for enterprises. It expanded to include freelancers and other professionals working with cell phones and laptops. The spaces continued to grow and function under the name of Konnex Communities in 2004 – the commencement to the local network of coworking spaces.
// San Francisco hosts its first coworking space in August by Brad Neuberg – he believed that home offices and business centres were unsocial and unproductive. Space offered desks, free wifi, shared lunches, bike tours, meditation and massages fun fact, by then, the space closed at 5:45 PM sharp. It closed after a year and replaced in 2006 under the name of the Hat Factory.
// In 2007, The first time the word “coworking” is seen on Google’s database. The searches have increased tremendously. The term coworking becomes a megamedia name and“Coworking” got into the English version of Wikipedia.
// The first #CoworkingDay was celebrated after Software engineer Brad Neuberg blogged about the idea on 9th August 2005. The first European coworking conference also took place in Brussels. At this time, there were at least 600 coworking spaces worldwide, with more than half located in North America.
// As of 2013, there were as many as 100,000 members working from coworking spaces. Mid-year, the 3,000th coworking space was founded. Most of the coworking spaces run independently of networks.
//In 2016, WeWork offered residential coliving in New York City, named WeLive. The units were mostly studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom – all have a private kitchen and at least one private bathroom. They are typically furnished, decorated and set up with cable, also internet move-in ready.
// In 2017, WeWork which one of the biggest coworking spaces globally raised funding and became the most highly valued US private tech companies and its company is Uber and Airbnb. Valued at $20 Billion. 1.2 million people worldwide would have worked at a coworking space.
// Prior to the pandemic, co-working spaces were the fastest-growing type of office space in commercial real estate. While they currently comprise less than 5% of the market, they’re expected to make up 30% by 2030
// According to AllWorker there are approximately over 35,000 flexible workspaces worldwide, which represents 521 million square feet of flexible space. The amount of coworking space leased and its share of total office space rose by almost half in only 18 months, from the end of 2016 through mid-2018
// 40 per cent of flexible workspace demand is estimated to come from large and corporate companies and 14 per cent of employees at large companies use coworking spaces.
// Today, the 10 largest providers of coworking and flexible office space comprise 36% of the market New York and London are the world’s leading cities when it comes to new spaces opening-up
// In Africa, the number of co-working spaces is increasing. As of 2013, there were only 24 co-working spaces in Africa, as of 2016 there were about 295 places. And according to 2019 data by Wee Tracker, Africa’s tech hubs have grown to 643 across the continent, with some 39 per cent of them offering coworking spaces. Looking at the number of co-working spaces by country, three countries stand out specifically – Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa. They are then followed by Kenya, Tunisia and Morocco.
// The global market value of flexible workspaces is estimated to be approximately USD 26 Bn. Up until 2022, the number of coworking spaces is expected to grow at an annual rate of 6 per cent in the U.S. (even with the widely-publicized WeWork debacle), and 13 per cent elsewhere. This is according to data from AllWork.
Just like most industries and players in the Real Estate, the coworking space has also been hit by COVID 19 with some companies opting to close down their spaces, however, some like Nairobi Garage chose to remain open during the period. Over time, the spaces are slowly putting in place measures and re-opening their doors to their communities.
By 2020 the number of coworking spaces worldwide had been projected to reach almost 20,000 and cross over 40,000 by 2024. While the industry is set to grow at a slower pace in 2020, we expect growth to rebound and develop even more rapidly from 2021 onwards, with a yearly growth rate of 21.3%. But as the coworking spaces re-open, we are just grateful that we get to yet mark this day, 15 years on! To all coworkers, we say Happy International Coworking day