Spare Desks Blog

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Coworking – Where Did it Come From?

Let me take you on a journey. A journey that will go back almost 20 years to a time when the World Wide Web had only just been invented, The Spice Girls were at the top of the charts, Illegal raves were happening in fields all over the country and neon was the colour of choice. It was at this time that coworking began its journey.

It started with a quiet whisper in Berlin in 1995 when one of the first hacker spaces in the World was founded. They provided free internet access to the public and although not formally called a coworking space, they offered a physical location where people could meet and work.

Many people claim that they invented the word ‘coworking’. One such person was a man called Brian Dekoven who in 1999 defined coworking as a way to identify a method that would facilitate collaborative work and business meetings.


Over the next ten years, coworking spaces started to slowly pop up all around the World, but it wasn’t until 2005 that the first official so-called ‘coworking space’ was opened in San Francisco. Founded by programmer Brad Neuberg, this space was a non-profit organisation. It had five to eight desks two days a week, and promoted group lunches, meditation, massages and a strict closing time of 5.45pm. The following year the first full-time coworking space was launched, and coworking was suddenly something that people actually did, and spoke about – this was reflected by the term ‘coworking’ starting to trend on Google .

Skip forward to today and coworking is booming. It is in almost every country on the planet and is regarded by many small businesses and entrepreneurs as the only way to work. There are now many different kinds of coworking spaces – from an office where you can have a desk in a shared area, to a full blown community where not only can you have a choice of bases to work from but you can also have full business support including funding.

So, why should you be interested? Imagine this; an office full of like-minded individuals networking, supporting and nurturing innovation, all going through (or have been through) exactly the same challenges as you. When you look at it this way perhaps the question should be re-worded to ‘Why aren’t you interested?’

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