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The evolution of coworking spaces: from hip to corporate and the future of the flexible workplace

The evolution of coworking spaces: from hip to corporate and the future of the flexible workplace
By Alberto Lusoli • Issue #3 • View online
Hello and welcome everyone to the third issue of the Labora newsletter. If you are new here, welcome! If you want to help this newsletter to grow, feel free to forward this issue to friends and colleagues.
This week is all about coworking spaces, as I believe we are witnessing an interesting transformation in this industry.
In the past, coworking spaces were usually conceived as creative, convenient solutions for independent workers who could not afford a private office. Today, large corporations are taking advantage of coworking offices as a way to refresh their production processes and open up to external creative influences. It’s the case of Microsoft, that in 2016 moved 30% of its New York workforce into WeWork offices.
The diffusion of coworking spaces also jacked up their prices. In recent interviews I conducted in Vancouver, I discovered how coworking rates are not affordable to the majority of independent tech and creative workers I have spoken to. As a result, the alternatives for many of my interviewees are either noisy and unwelcoming coffee shops or working from home.
Interestingly, a plethora of new companies are developing in the liminal space between coffee shops and coworking spaces. It’s the new market of “smart coworking” (for lack of a better term). Companies which transform under-utilized commercial spaces into temporary coworking offices. In Vancouver we have 2 of these companies: City Hack and Free Space. The former gives you access to hotels meeting rooms at a flat monthly rate, the latter transforms restaurants and lounges into affordable coworking spaces.
The question is: can these solutions, collectively, guarantee access to office space to flexible workers? Which role, if any, should cities administrations play in this transformation of the workplace?
And now, our weekly selection of articles. Enjoy!

Are High-Design Hotels The New Coworking Space?
Coworking is not about workspace. 
It’s about feeling less lonely
WeWork cuts about 300 employees, ahead of a hiring ginge
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Alberto Lusoli

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Alberto Lusoli, Vancouver, CA. Canada