The concept of co-working is elastic but at its broadest means working alongside, and often collaborating with, people you wouldn’t normally. Users book a space in a co-working office, plonk themselves down where they can and start beavering away.
Their rise is fuelled by several things, including technologies such as cloud computing; more women and freelancers in the workforce, which means greater demand for flexible work arrangements; and economic pressure on firms’ property costs.
Some co-working spaces are dedicated facilities, others are set up within business incubators or company offices. Campbell McKellar, who runs a website called Loosecubes where people can find spaces to work, says that 65% of the 2,800 workplaces available are inside small, private companies with desks to spare. Creative and media businesses with a culture of bringing lots of people together to work on specific projects are heavily represented among both users and space providers.