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Purpose – The global coworking industry is currently growing at a rapid pace. Similarly, Prague is witnessing an influx of global coworking operators who entered the market since 2018 and are expanding significantly. The purpose of this paper is to investigate enabling factors for this growth. Design/methodology/approach – After a brief review of coworking and relevant typologies of its various forms, the paper conducts a narrative review of the coworking industry in Prague and its socio-economic situation. This is subsequently linked in a discussion on growth factors that have facilitated the growth of the coworking industry of Prague. Findings – With global coworking brands expanding in Prague’s coworking industry by primarily targeting corporate teams, they benefit from favourable socio-economic conditions in Prague as an attractive destination for businesses, which increasingly opt for coworking spaces to reap its positive benefits. Research limitations/implications – Due to the conceptual approach and specific case of Prague, the discussions lack generalisability. Practical implications – The paper provides valuable insight into the enabling growth factors that can serve practitioners to better predict and react to potential future developments, as well as provide an additional perspective in evaluating corporate real estate. Originality/value – The paper contributes to the still under-researched field of coworking by investigated enabling growth factors in a macro-economic context. Keywords: Coworking, Prague, Growth Factors, Czech Republic, Flexible Workspace, Trends
Growth factors of the coworking industry: the case of Prague
Manuel Mayerhoffer
Department of Entrepreneurship, University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic
Suggested Citation
Mayerhoffer, M. (2020), "Growth factors of the coworking industry: the case of Prague",
Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 38 No. 3, pp. 203-212.
Structured Abstract
Purpose The global coworking industry is currently growing at a rapid pace. Similarly,
Prague is witnessing an influx of global coworking operators who entered the market since
2018 and are expanding significantly. The purpose of this paper is to investigate enabling
factors for this growth.
Design/methodology/approach After a brief review of coworking and relevant typologies
of its various forms, the paper conducts a narrative review of the coworking industry in Prague
and its socio-economic situation. This is subsequently linked in a discussion on growth factors
that have facilitated the growth of the coworking industry of Prague.
Findings With global coworking brands expanding in Prague’s coworking industry by
primarily targeting corporate teams, they benefit from favourable socio-economic conditions in
Prague as an attractive destination for businesses, which increasingly opt for coworking spaces
to reap its positive benefits.
Research limitations/implications Due to the conceptual approach and specific case of
Prague, the discussions lack generalisability.
Practical implications The paper provides valuable insight into the enabling growth factors
that can serve practitioners to better predict and react to potential future developments, as well
as provide an additional perspective in evaluating corporate real estate.
Originality/value The paper contributes to the still under-researched field of coworking by
investigated enabling growth factors in a macro-economic context.
Keywords: Coworking, Prague, Growth Factors, Czech Republic, Flexible Workspace,
Article Type: Conceptual Paper
Driven by changes in the nature of work (e.g., Myerson et al., 2016), there has been a shift
towards open-plan offices in organizations to achieve cost reduction and encourage
collaboration among workers. Yet, open-plan offices have been found to negatively affect
employee well-being (Bodin Danielsson and Bodin, 2008; Kim and de Dear, 2013), amongst
other outcome measures. Together with the rise of remote work of freelancers in project work
(Lund et al., 2012), the past years have witnessed a surge in coworking (Clifton et al., 2019) in
the global economy. Coworking spaces rent shared office space to freelancers, independent
professionals and other workers for a membership fee to co-locate as a way of circumventing
feelings of social isolation (Ross and Ressia, 2015) in an environment that follows the credo of
“working alone, together” (Spinuzzi, 2012).
Projections for the global coworking growth estimate 25,968 coworking spaces globally by
2022 (Hobson, 2019) as a 42% increase from 2019. The 2019 Global Coworking Survey
(Foertsch, 2019) estimates 26,300 coworking spaces globally already by 2020, with a very or
rather good outlook for the majority coworking spaces in Europe (65% very or rather good
outlook, 30% stable, 6% rather or bad outlook). Coworking seems to be largely successful in
high density urban areas (Green, 2014), and has risen to popularity also among corporate clients
providing flexibility in the co-location of remote teams, cost reduction, and increased outcome
measures of employees as a result of the office design (Orel and Alonso Almeida, 2019).
Similarly, with an increase of 150% of leased coworking offices since 2017
(, 2019), even more growth seems to manifest in Prague. Since the first
coworking space opened in 2009, the city has witnessed a rapid development of the coworking
community with now more than 33 coworking spaces (Šindelářová and Kubíková, 2018) and
new, global players entering the market. Why, however, does Prague have such high growth
rates of coworking spaces?
The aim of this paper is to explore answers to this emerging research question. With the industry
still growing at a tremendous pace, and an increasing influx of global players tapping into the
coworking market in Prague, insight into potentially enabling factors aid industry practitioners
in evaluating corporate real estate more carefully and adding further value through coworking
as a new office concept (Appel-Meulenbroek et al., 2015). Furthermore, it contributes to the
under-researched field of coworking in shedding light on macroeconomic factors related to this
The paper will first provide a narrative review of the concept of coworking and relevant
typologies capturing its development and allowing for the classification of new office space
providers. This is followed by an investigation of the recent developments of the coworking
industry in Prague, which is then linked to a discussion of the socio-economic situation of the
Czech Republic and Prague in particular, in order to investigate enabling factors for the growth
of Prague’s coworking industry. An outlook and conclusions are provided.
The modern concept of coworking has emerged in 2005 when Brad Neuberg (2005) opened
Spiral Muse in San Francisco, where developers could work together in a shared space. From
that point onwards, the concept of coworking has increasingly been popularised and developed
based on the values of “collaboration, openness, community, accessibility and sustainability”
(, n.d.), as published on the first publicly available online platform for
coworking. Apart from simply providing a space for work, coworking spaces have gained
traction largely for the way that coworking space members build a community of work (Rus
and Orel, 2015) where location independent knowledge-workers (e.g., Spinuzzi et al., 2019)
engage and collaborate with one another in the pursuit of a shared vision (Garrett et al., 2017)
for their coworking space, benefitting from the value created as a result of the physical
proximity (Parrino, 2015) and social interaction.
The rise of coworking can be attributed to various factors. After the internet had grown into a
major driver of the global economy from the 2000s onwards, as well as the fragmentation of
the value chain of global organisations (Valenduc, 2019) as a result in making use of the
possibility to offshore business functions to seize advantages, the economy has changed into a
global and connected world. This has also presented new opportunities to both entrepreneurs
and businesses regarding the then newly emerging online networks and platforms. Such online-
based work using “computers, smartphones, cloud services, the Internet and mail in the course
of their professional activity” (Valenduc, 2019, p. 68) has enabled the growth of digital
nomadism (Orel, 2019), where location independent professionals (Spinuzzi, 2012) can flexibly
schedule their working time and freely choose their work location such as their home, cafés,
hotels, or coworking spaces.
The development of new opportunities for flexible work still continues, with the number of
independent workers (King, 2017a) steadily increasing as well, and younger generations such
as Generation Y pushing for new approaches to work and the office (Gillen and Cheshire, 2015)
as a crucial contributing factor to health, happiness and productivity. Meanwhile, as the
corporate world has started to embrace the concept of coworking (Clifton et al., 2019),
coworking spaces have become parts of major business hubs (Hobson, 2019; Moriset, 2013),
and have become increasingly more international with a diverse mix of members. Nevertheless,
due to the increasing diversification and resulting complexity of the coworking model, it is
necessary to differentiate among various types of coworking. Various studies brought forward
typologies in trying to resolve issues from conceptual vagueness.
As one of such, Bouncken et al. (2018) find four distinct types of coworking spaces from
conducting qualitative research in a sample of twelve German coworking spaces. They indicate
that coworking spaces largely differ in their degree of openness and discuss the various
challenges they face regarding creation and appropriation tensions. On the lower end of the
openness scale, the Corporate Coworking is part of only one organisation and aims at increased
levels of collaboration among employees. These “corpo-working” (Schopfel et al., 2015, p. 70)
spaces can also be opened to customers and serve as a showroom for their brands. The second
type identified by Bouncken et al. (2018) is the Open-Corporate Coworking which is more
open in the hopes of enhancing value creation from the engagement with externals and can also
serve as an office for employees who are usually working from home. The Consultancy
Coworking is a specific corm of coworking largely focusing on project-based work for flexible
collaboration of consultancies with other firms and clients. Lastly, the Independent Coworking
is a coworking space in the more traditional sense of the notion of coworking, hosting
individuals, freelancers, start-ups and other smaller firms or teams to benefit from collaboration
mediated by active community managers.
Due to the changing nature of coworking and its application in organisational settings, Orel and
Bennis (2019) developed a more comprehensive typology of coworking spaces, where they first
differentiate between types of coworking and types of non-coworking shared offices. The
former includes Community-Washing Shared Workspaces, as office space providers which
utilize the label of coworking, but where there is no support or only limited support to certain
individuals, groups or projects under the same umbrella of an institution. This applies also to
Community-Facilitating Single-Entity Workspaces where members are part of the same entity
only. The last type of non-coworking shared offices includes Authentic Shared Workspaces
without the promotion of social interaction such as hotel lobbies or cafés.
In regard to coworking spaces, Orel and Bennis (2019) distinguish between four types, of which
each support social connectivity among individuals and/or involved groups, as well as connect
otherwise unassociated entities. First, the Individual-Purposed Coworking Spaces are in line
with the traditional notion of coworking, focusing mostly on individuals and community-
building among them, therefore mostly focusing on open-space offices with individual work
desks The Creation-Purposed Coworking Spaces are similar but differ in the nature of the work
that is being carried out. Instead of office work, these coworking spaces focus on their members’
specific, often only part-time, professions such as creative artists or hobbyists who can also
share otherwise expensive tools and machinery. The third kind of coworking spaces are Group-
Purposed Coworking Spaces which primarily target companies and teams by mostly providing
closed private offices, but in contrast to the Community-Washing Shared Workspaces, social
interaction is encouraged in addition to the provided flexibility with access to shared open-
space areas. This is in line with the aforementioned concept of “corpo-working”
(Schopfel et al., 2015, p. 70), which, despite its focus on corporate clients and groups, is still
based on coworking in its traditional sense. The fourth type of coworking spaces is described
as Startup-Purposed Coworking Spaces, specifically focusing on launching new businesses,
such as accelerators or incubators.
Analysis Method
In order to investigate the reasons for the rapid development of the coworking industry for the
case of Prague, the paper conducts a narrative review based on publicly available secondary
data to identify development patterns in the industry and their linkage to socio-economic
factors. As a first source, particularly focused on the economic situation of the Czech Republic,
data was taken from the Czech Statistical Office (2019a) databases. Furthermore, findings from
the 2019 Global Coworking Survey (Foertsch, 2019) as well as the Coworking in the Czech
Republic research report by BNP Paribas Real Estate (Šindelářová and Kubíková, 2018) were
used to enrich the data. This was complemented by press releases, news articles and other
relevant studies, in order to build arguments on the enabling factors for the growth of the
coworking industry and provide an outlook for its development.
Development of Coworking Spaces in Prague
The report on “Coworking in the Czech Republic” (Šindelářová and Kubíková, 2018) from
September 2018 by BNP Paribas Real Estate provides more detailed information on the Czech
coworking market. They find that from 80 coworking spaces in the Czech Republic, 33 are
located in Prague as the capital of the Czech Republic with approximately 1.3m inhabitants
(Czech Statistical Office, 2019b). The second-largest hub for coworking is Brno with nine
spaces, which is at the same time the second-largest city in the country with a population of
about 380,000 inhabitants (Czech Statistical Office, 2019b).
The coworking scene of Prague currently witnesses an influx especially of larger, international
coworking brands (Šindelářová and Kubíková, 2018). To assess this further, the following
section provides an overview of some of the most important recent developments on the market
of the coworking industry in Prague. Major coworking space providers are listed in table 1.
This will then be viewed through the various typological frameworks to identify trends and
patterns, which can then be further contextualised through a discussion of enabling socio-
economic factors that have contributed to the observable growth within the industry.
[Table 1 about here]
Most recently, Spaces (2019) as part of the International Workspace Group (IWG) has entered
the market with a new coworking space (Holzman, 2019a) offering 400 desks in their
coworking space of 3,500 m² in the centre of Prague. As a large international office space
operator, Spaces already runs or is soon to open about 400 spaces globally (Spaces, 2019), and
is planning on launching three additional coworking locations by April 2020 in Prague, totalling
15,000 m². In doing so, they communicate their intentions to further diversify their range of
office space solutions in particular for corporate users.
In addition to Spaces, WeWork (2019), the largest coworking space operator globally with
currently about 850 locations running or soon to be opened, has entered the Czech market
(Ptáček, 2019) in 2019 offering both private offices and shared office spaces on about 6,000 m².
Similar in size, HubHub (2019), a coworking space operator under the HB Reavis Group, has
opened their second coworking space (Holzman, 2019b) in 2019 after their market entrance in
2018, offering office space of about 6,200 m². The Polish brand Business Link is part of the
Czech market since late 2018 (Ptáček, 2018) and provides a location of about 4,500 m². In a
merger of the coworking locations of Impact Hub and K10 in 2018 (Holzman, 2018),
Hub Ventures offers coworking opportunities to the industry on 7,700 m². New Work (2019)
has also expanded since their market entry in 2018 with the launch of their third location in the
third quarter of 2019 offering additional space of 3,000 m² providing mostly smaller offices for
corporate clients.
In line with the coworking taxonomy proposed by Orel and Bennis (2019), all of the above-
mentioned office space providers can be classified as coworking spaces, as they are all (i)
offering work-purposed environments, (ii) support social connectivity at both the individual
and the group level, and also (iii) allow for otherwise unassociated entities to engage in their
coworking premises.
In the typology of Bouncken et al. (2018) the described larger players would not fully fall under
the concept Corporate Coworking, due to their offering to various corporate customers at the
same time instead of being operated by one firm for its employees. In that regard, the outlined
office providers would fall more under Independent Coworking Spaces, for they are open to the
general public, too. Despite their primary focus on corporate clients and small businesses, they
still provide shared open space for individual use for unaffiliated professionals.
Given the classification under both Orel and Bennis’ (2019), as well as Bouncken et al.’s (2018)
typology as (independent) coworking spaces, the former taxonomy allows for further
differentiation regarding the orientation of the firms. The recent developments in the industry
display a clear development pattern towards a focus on corporate clientele to primarily rent
closed offices for groups and teams. Accordingly, this aligns with the classification as Group-
Purposed Coworking Spaces (Orel and Bennis, 2019), which entails a target audience from the
corporate world, whilst incorporating the original values of coworking in supporting and
facilitating social interaction of members, as well as in between the entities which are part of
the coworking spaces. For businesses, renting out office space from such providers is
advantageous for both their gained flexibility, as well as the achieved cost reduction. Despite
the primarily group-focused approach towards corporate clients, Group-Purposed Coworking
Spaces still offer shared open space areas for individuals. Facilitating elements of this can be
observed for instance through the organisation of events at the locations (e.g., HubHub, 2019),
shared kitchens (e.g., New Work, 2019), networking areas (e.g., WeWork, 2019), shared digital
platforms for member interaction (e.g., Spaces, 2019) and active community management and
administrative support.
The offer from the new players in the coworking industry in Prague is, apart from their focus
on corporates, also similar regarding their multiple location strategy. The premises are primarily
located in the city centre of Prague (district Prague 1) (Šindelářová and Kubíková, 2018) and
other more popular areas (Prague 5 and Prague 2) close to the centre. In addition, the newly
evolving coworking spaces offer separate meeting and conference rooms, as well as event space
to further cater to the needs of customers (Šindelářová and Kubíková, 2018).
Despite such overlap, the industry also witnessed increasing levels of diversity in the way the
coworking space providers differ in their intended target audience. This applies to both the
larger players, as well as to smaller coworking spaces and their focus on niche markets
(Coworkies Magazine, 2018) as Individual-Purposed Coworking Spaces (Orel and Bennis,
2019) such as Animika Hub as an event and coworking space for corporate clients, Opero for
seasoned entrepreneurs, and Node5 focusing on IT-based professionals.
What, however, are the reasons for these developments especially of larger players in Prague’s
coworking industry?
The Economic Situation and the Labour Market of Prague and the Czech
Answers to this might be found in the socio-economic situation that Prague finds itself in.
Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and is with just over 1.3m people
(Czech Statistical Office, 2019a) the largest city of the country. The Czech Republic is a strong
market in the CEE region (JLL, 2019) with consistent growth rates above EU averages
(European Commission, 2019). The population of Prague includes 206,000 foreigners (Czech
Statistical Office, 2019c), and hence over one-third of the foreigners located in the Czech
Republic. The foreigners with citizenship in Prague were mostly from Ukraine (51,000),
Slovakia (31,500), Russia (24,000) Vietnam (13,000) and the USA (6,500). Prague is also
growing as a city, with consistent net migration of more than 11,000 people in 2018 (Czech
Statistical Office, 2019a). A total of 226,000 foreigners were employed in Prague in 2018
(Czech Statistical Office, 2019a), with 34,500 holding a valid trade license.
The European Commission (2019) describes Prague to be “among the most economically
developed regions within the EU”. In 2018 (European Commission, 2019), Prague generated
just short of a quarter of the national GDP with 187% GDP per capita in comparison to the EU
average and therefore significantly high productivity. The economy is based strongly in the
service industry, with about 75% of Pragueners employed in it. GDP has continued to grow in
2018 at 2.9% (Deloitte, 2019) in comparison to 2017, with now expected GDP growth rates
estimated to slightly decline but remain above 2%, due to the impact of external risks such as
Brexit and the US trade with China.
Prague also obtains exceptionally low unemployment rates, which have since the third quarter
of 2017 been constantly below 2% (Czech Statistical Office, 2019d). The most recently
available data from the second quarter of 2019 indicates an unemployment rate of just 1.5% for
the city. This also caused job vacancies in 2018 to outnumber job seekers by 92,500 (Ministry
of Labour and Social Affairs, 2019) for the first time in more than 25 years.
Average monthly wages and salaries in Prague for Q1-Q3 2019 were just below 40,000 CZK
(1,570€) (Czech Statistical Office, 2019e). The average monthly nominal wage for the Czech
Republic as a whole amounted to just below 32,000 CZK (1,260€) and saw an annual increase
of 7,5% (Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, 2019). Despite the significantly higher rates
without exceptions in comparison to the rest of the Czech Republic, Prague still ranks low in
comparison to other European countries. For the Czech Republic as a whole, the minimum
wage in 2019 was just above 500€ monthly (Eurostat, 2019). In comparison to other members
EU members such as Germany (1,560€) or the UK (1,525€) as major economies, the attractivity
for taking advantage of the affordability of labour becomes evident.
Of the 707,000 people employed in Prague in 2018 (Czech Statistical Office, 2019a), about
46% graduated from university, and another 36% completed high school. The remaining 18%
graduated without A-levels (86%) or completed none or only primary education (14%). The
most represented age group employed in 2018 was 30-44 years, making up 43% of the total
Household incomes have increased nominally in 2018 by 8,7% (Ministry of Labour and Social
Affairs, 2019) in comparison to the previous year. When comparing gross minimum wages in
purchasing power standards (Eurostat, 2019), however, the Czech Republic is in the lowest
ranking group, scoring at just below 750 Purchasing Power Standard (PPS), with the highest-
scoring group including Germany (1,500 PPS), the UK (1,320 PPS) and the highest scoring
country Luxembourg (1,630 PPS) consistently above 1000 PPS.
The economic situation of the Czech Republic is further characterised by a record high of
fundraising for Czech-based firms (Deloitte, 2019) of 191m €. The total investment in 2018
amounted to 767m €. The Private Equity Report (Deloitte, 2019) indicates that “there is ample
fresh capital to deploy for growing businesses” (p. 8). Yet, possibly linked to the looming
economic slowdown, divestments increased from 122.5m € in 2017 to 182m € in 2018.
Growth Factors of the Coworking Industry
Viewing the development of the coworking industry in Prague in its previously discussed socio-
economic context allows for the identification of some of the key enabling factors for the
growth of coworking as part of the rising CEE market (JLL, 2019) for flexible office space in
becoming “the coworking hub of Europe” (, 2019).
With the low wage levels in comparison to larger and stronger EU member state economies,
the Czech market and that of Prague, in particular, pose an attractive environment for large
businesses to either set up remote teams or locate whole units of their business to Prague. This
is further strengthened by the high share of workers with tertiary education as an indication of
elevated skill levels. With the local economy’s primary activity in the service industry, Prague
further represents significant opportunities to offshore functions to exploit the comparative
advantage through the cost reduction of labour costs, as well as take advantage of the expertise
of local labour.
As a result, the demand for office space by corporate users is steadily increasing. Coworking
as an alternative to traditional real estate acquisition or lease still allows for more flexibility
with organisations being able to variate team sizes and rented office space through short-term
and demand-oriented planning. Furthermore, by locating teams in Group-Purposes
Coworking Spaces (Orel and Bennis, 2019), essentially as a form of Corpoworking (Schopfel
et al., 2015), they provide employees with the opportunity to boost innovative potential as a
result of “positive tensions of collaboration and competition” (Bouncken et al., 2018, p. 405)
with other teams and/or individuals located in the coworking space, as well as knowledge
exchange (Parrino, 2015) through the co-location.
The productivity accumulated by the strong performance of the labour market of Prague also
plays a key role as a driving force for the economic development of the national economy as a
whole. With the steady GDP growth, low unemployment rates, and the industry generating
interest for investments, Prague manifests as an international business hub which further
bolsters its attractiveness for corporations.
Future Outlook
With the recent influx of global coworking brands with strong expertise, the established
industry players can expect pressure regarding their professionalism (Šindelářová and
Kubíková, 2018) in keeping up with the standards of the large international corporates. The
latter has also displayed rapid expansion moves in opening new locations, in line with the
findings of the 2019 Global Coworking Survey (Foertsch, 2019).
In competing with global brands, further attention should be paid to effective community
management to enhance collaboration among coworking space members (Cabral and Winden,
2016). This also allows coworking space operators to direct their primary aim towards more
specific professional groups, which is already taking place on the Czech market (Šindelářová
and Kubíková, 2018) with coworking spaces targeting certain professions, or niche markets
such as mothers with children.
The key development emerging from the analysis, however, is the rise of corpoworking
(Schopfel et al., 2015) with increasingly corporate clients frequenting coworking spaces and
renting out private offices. This can be observed specifically in the increasing size of coworking
spaces, with newer players commonly offering about 3,000m² or more of office space, in
contrast to the average size of coworking spaces in the Czech Republic of 350 m² (Šindelářová
and Kubíková, 2018). In addition, the estimated growth rates of annually 24.2% (King, 2017b)
from 1.74m members in 2017 to 5.1m members in 2022, far outweigh annual growth rates of
coworking spaces with 16.1%, alluding to larger communities in the future.
Given the unanimously positive estimates for the future growth of coworking (Foertsch, 2019;
Hobson, 2019; King, 2017b) and the “coworking industry [being] at an all time high” (Hobson,
2019), the industry can expect further popularisation of the coworking model. Furthermore,
with coworking as a highly profitable business model with annual profit margins ranging from
15 to 19 % (Foertsch, 2019), and approximately 90% of coworking generating profits, strong
further development of the coworking industry can be expected.
The paper has linked the observed growth to favourable socio-economic factors by investigating
the specific case of Prague, which has witnessed a rapid expansion of its coworking industry.
Due to its flourishing economy, with skilled labour, low unemployment rates, strong
affordability of labour in comparison to other EU member states, as well as its status as a
business hub attracting venture capital, Prague displays ideal conditions for businesses, which,
in turn, increase the demand for office space. With businesses opting more frequently towards
coworking space solutions, this results in new growth opportunities for coworking spaces in
catering to the needs of these increasingly corporate clients.
It should be noted that this paper focuses primarily on the more recent developments in the
industry with global office space providers tapping into the Czech market. It would, hence, be
beneficial for both practitioners and the field of research to further look into the developments
of Individual-Purposed Coworking Spaces (Orel and Bennis, 2019) also, and to expand
analyses beyond the Czech market. Moreover, the collection of primary data on growth factors
for coworking industries is suggested to more closely capture interdependencies to be able to
predict future growth opportunities and trends.
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... As coworking environments have emerged in response to the global economic transformation over the past two decades (Orel & Dvouletý 2020), two versions of the flexible office arrangement have begun to appear (Tremblay & Scaillerez 2020). Studies indicate that the generally smaller, independently owned coworking spaces tend to focus on developing internal networks, creating a supportive community of peers who shape the identity of the environment together (Bouncken et al. 2018;Mayerhoffer 2020). In contrast, franchised or multi-location coworking spaces are typically larger, and their footprint spans multiple locations. ...
... Interviews were conducted with managers and workspace operators in coworking spaces that are located in Central and Eastern Europe, set across the four countries of the Visegrád region -The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. The setting of the socalled "Visegrád Four" has been selected due to the thriving economic landscape (Ivanová et al. 2018;Gubik & Farkas 2019) and a rapidly growing flexible office space market that results in a varied landscape of coworking environments (Kovács & Zoltán 2017;Šebestová et al. 2017;Isac 2019;Mayerhoffer 2020). ...
Full-text available
Coworking spaces are flexible and shared work environments that make a significant effort to connect users with supportive networks that commonly result in efficient work outputs, a high level of collaboration and knowledge transfer. Recent years have seen swift growth and popularisation of the coworking model, making these spaces an integral part of local entrepreneurial ecosystems and transforming them into the localised pools of specialised talent. However, little research has been conducted to understand the role of human talent in coworking spaces, indicating a knowledge gap in human resource management and the role of contemporary coworking environments. Therefore, the purpose of the following paper is to contextualize coworking spaces as (local) talent hubs by investigating how they tend to build their identity on their userbase. The manuscript explores the managerial practices and mediation techniques by presenting empirical evidence and subsequent analysis of talent attraction and retention mechanisms commonly used in coworking environments. The study shows that by facilitating interaction and collaboration between users, coworking spaces offer support throughout the business life cycle and identify themselves as local accelerators of entrepreneurship and talent development within their local environments.
... Introducing the spaces The CWS we studied are located in Prague, which is currently targeting niche markets for family-oriented spaces (Mayerhoffer, 2020). The rationale behind selecting Prague is the rise of community-oriented spaces with social entrepreneurship led by local communities as a contrast to coworking spaces organised by global providers (Bednář et al., 2021). ...
... Introducing the spaces The CWS we studied are located in Prague, which is currently targeting niche markets for family-oriented spaces (Mayerhoffer, 2020). The rationale behind selecting Prague is the rise of community-oriented spaces with social entrepreneurship led by local communities as a contrast to coworking spaces organised by global providers (Bednář et al., 2021). ...
... Secondly, we employ quantitative social media analysis, which is not common when analyzing CS operations. Thirdly, despite a few cases (Mayerhofer, 2020;Belvončíková & Némethová, 2021), the CSs in the selected study area (capital cities of Central and Eastern Europe) have not been explored in depth. ...
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Independently run NeWSps are the most vulnerable to leaving the NeWSp market due to COVID-19 pandemic measures because of their limited financial resources for enhancing their economic resilience to such unexpected events. Discussing the changes in NeWSp internal-personal, external-personal, and virtual activities in a space-time comparative perspective of Central European and Baltic capitals, the authors highlight differences in strategies for NeWSp activities, employing both quantitative and qualitative approaches. The differences are shown by both forced national restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and early 2021 and predominant types of activities before the COVID-19 pandemic.
... lease-holders of commercial property) offering on average 12% of their capacity as flexible space, with this expected to increase to 24% by 2024 (Cushman and Wakefield, 2022). Thus, pre-Covid, global brands were beginning to expand the coworking industry by targeting corporate teams (Mayerhoffer, 2020). This was partly because CWSs were regarded as 'micro-clusters' facilitating knowledge spill-overs and innovative outcomes (Capdevila, 2015). ...
Purpose Coworking (shared flexible working spaces) grew exponentially before the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis led to spaces closing but demand is likely to increase as homeworking/remote working levels remain permanently higher post-pandemic. Previous studies largely focused on ‘satisfied customers’ – freelancers and entrepreneurs in the urban core; but these are a poor guide to future preferences given an increasingly diverse set of potential users. Understanding these preferences is of significant value to future providers, investors and real estate operators. Design/methodology/approach The authors employ a mixed-methods approach, observing self-organised coworking sessions and online platforms, and a questionnaire of the coworking networks/groups. The authors address the research questions: i) how do individuals' make decisions about how and where to engage in shared working and ii) do they consider locational characteristics (beyond accessibility) and social and physical (environmental) aspects of coworking? Findings Proximity to home is a key result. Participants are mostly local and seek community, with a strong emphasis on effective work routines. Results stress the importance placed on social factors and in-space amenities, but affordability is also important. Coworkers experiencing both informal groups and organised spaces rate the informal experience as significantly more beneficial. Practical implications There are implications for the real estate element of future provision and funding models. Originality/value The authors contribute to the understanding of coworking preferences/motivations through addressing methodological limitations of previous studies. Rather than surveying individuals in coworking spaces, the authors study individuals who engage in coworking in various forms which will reflect the diverse (users, spaces, locations) demands for future coworking.
... There is done extensive analysis on socio-economic determinants of public expenditure by assessing the influence of population age structure (Azolibe, Nwadibe, Okeke, 2020), importance of social capital, labour market status and wages (Caparrós Ruiz, 2020) and having influence also on growth factors of the industry development aspects (Mayerhoffer, 2020). Age structure is mentioned as one of the most important aspects in job seeking process. ...
Conference Paper
Global pandemic COVID-19 has increased the level of digitalization which allows public and private sector organizations in the world to employ people remotely outside office premises and crossing borders of the world. Remote work is one of the new employment forms caused by the impact of digitalization, which keeps conquering and strengthening the positions on our daily professional lives. It means extended use of different new employment forms, including the digital transition of administration processes and business management, improvement of digital skills and competences, contributing to development of areas of services and products with higher benefit (Breaugh, Farabee, 2012). Research aims to study basic principles and tendencies of remote work organization based on theoretical aspects, draw conclusions and elaborate proposals for improvement of remote work. In order to achieve the goal, the tasks are as follows: 1) provide the explanation of remote work organization; 2) describe secondary data from a conducted survey by Milasi, S., Fernandez – Macias, E., Gonzalez-Vazquez, I. 2020, European Commission; 3) conduct survey about remote work
... There is done extensive analysis on socio-economic determinants of public expenditure by assessing the influence of population age structure (Azolibe, Nwadibe, Okeke, 2020), importance of social capital, labour market status and wages (Caparrós Ruiz, 2020) and having influence also on growth factors of the industry development aspects (Mayerhoffer, 2020). Age structure is mentioned as one of the most important aspects in job seeking process. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The rapid development of medical technologies maintains the relevance of the concept of innovation in healthcare. Healthcare innovations more often are perceived as 'disruptive innovations' and associated with technological innovation, artificial intelligence, biomedicine, precision medicine and other medical developments. At the same time, the proposed medical technology does not always correspond to the nature of ‘disruptive innovation', but receives support defined for this category of innovation in policy planning documents. The aim of this study is to investigate the relevance of the term 'disruptive innovation' used in healthcare to its original nature and to draw conclusions on most appropriate term. Within the framework of this research, the analysis of scientific literature and policy planning documents was performed. No specific medical technologies were analysed, however, one of the directions of medical development defined in policy planning documents was chosen, which is presented as ‘disruptive innovation’ - it is ‘precision medicine’. The analysis has shown that 'precision medicine' does not correspond to the initial nature of the term 'disruptive innovation', which implies that disruptive innovation describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors. It was concluded that precision medicine is mostly correspond with ‘sustaining innovation’ – both ‘continuous innovation (evolutionary)’ and ‘discontinuous innovation (revolutionary)’ – by improving existing products or services through technological developments or by creating entirely new exclusive expensive solutions, which are not intended for widespread use at the bottom of a market. Consequently, it is proposed to use a more appropriate term for innovations in medicine, for example by referring to 'precision medicine' as a 'sustaining innovation' and its evaluation as sustaining innovation and longitude significant investment.
... Zahrnt and Barthauer (2018) also show developments which can be observed in other large cities functioning as coworking hubs. These have witnessed an increasing influx of the major international coworking operators tapping into the local market (Mayerhoffer, 2020) by making use of the increased demand also by corporate users. ...
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Purpose Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the German coworking industry has grown rapidly as one of the fastest-growing coworking markets globally. The pandemic, however, has brought the industry to an abrupt halt. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to explore the impact the pandemic has had so far on German coworking spaces. Design/methodology/approach Using an online questionnaire, quantitative data from 38 coworking space owners, operators and employees of a total of 77 spaces in Germany has been collected regarding their situation before, during and after the peak of the first wave of the pandemic from Spring until Summer 2020. The data has been analyzed using descriptive statistics. Findings The reported income losses significantly outweigh a decrease in costs of the spaces. Nevertheless, the member base seems rather unaffected, and coworking spaces are exploring adaptations to their businesses with a strong shift to the digital environment. Fear of re-imposed governmental restrictions is evident, as well as justified with a looming second infection wave. Research limitations/implications Due to the sample size, the data may lack generalizability. Therefore, recommendations for future research are provided. Originality/value Data on the impact of the pandemic on coworking spaces is scarce. This paper provides a first necessary overview for the industry as well as the academic field to allow for action to be taken.
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Coworking spaces have emerged in the mid-2000s as collaborative workplaces that actively supported teleworkers and self-employed knowledge workers who shared various (work) environments to interlace themselves in supportive networks, tackle isolation, positively influence well-being and collaboratively participate in knowledge sharing activities. However, with the swift popularisation of the coworking model by 2020, newly established flexible office spaces often referred to themselves as community-based workplaces even though they lacked the capacity to support their users' interactions and collaborative work. Therefore, the purpose of the paper is to explore how coworking spaces have transformed from community-based environments to a flexible place of work where establishing a collaborative community is not an organizational priority. The following exploratory research investigates a sample of 13 coworking spaces in Prague, the Czech Republic, and considers their capacity for supporting interactions and collaborative processes between their users. The results uncovered significant differences between coworking spaces, their spatial designs, the presence of mediation mechanisms, and the frequency of interactions between users and suggest that the handful of sampled coworking environments misuse the notion of community. In that context, the following study indicates that contemporary coworking spaces can revert to community washing to deliberately pursue economic self-interest rather than support decentralised peer-to-peer exchange that would lead to developing a coworking community.
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Co-working spaces (CWSs) have emerged as a distinctive phenomenon in the sharing economy. They are collaborative environments that feed innovation and creativity under the slogan “working alone together”. While policy makers and scholars were optimistic about their role in promoting entrepreneurial endeavours and fostering growth, the spread of the COVID-19 across the world has drastically changed the way we work, communicate, and navigate daily life. This study offers a comprehensive review of the existing literature on CWSs. To do so, a bibliometric analysis is proposed, combining the use of traditional bibliometric tools with science mapping techniques. A total of 118 documents are reviewed and the results are presented at two different levels: (1) descriptive analysis of the status of the research on a CWS and (2) its conceptual structure (topics and trends). The study concludes with some directions for future research. Specifically, based on the recurrent topics discussed up to date in the literature, it is possible to identify four key areas—i.e., geographical location, physical space, business models and inclusive communities—that are promising for research and that may bring useful insights for defining co-working’s place in a post-pandemic society.
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Purpose During the past decade, the coworking concept has expanded and evolved along with the industry associated with it, so that references to coworking often refer to notions quite distinct from the original conception. The purpose of this paper is to establish a classification of contemporary coworking environments and clarify the scholarly, as well as the industry usage of a coworking model. Design/methodology/approach The paper reviews popular and scientific literature and the authors’ field experience in the industry to derive three defining features of coworking and distinct categories that help clarify the concept and can be used to identify and evaluate coworking spaces. Findings The main finding behind the following paper is the taxonomy of contemporary coworking spaces that takes into account the broad spectrum of shared workspaces that commonly receive the coworking label, specifies the features required to warrant that label and provides a framework for understanding the defining factors of a coworking model. The taxonomy showcases four unalike types of coworking spaces and the three types of non-coworking shared offices that are repeatedly and somewhat mistakenly labeled as coworking environments. Originality/value Understanding the core differentiation between unalike models would enable scholars to guide and structure the study to evolve in coworking research. The taxonomy can be seen as a base for further research in the field of coworking that helps ensure scholars are sufficiently specific and distinctive in the shared subject of their research, suggests a roadmap for future coworking research and provides a tool to evaluate real-world examples of work environments concerning the degree they fit the coworking concept.
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The purpose of this paper is to take an explanatory role and analyse the development of workspace ambiences in coworking spaces which optimise the chance of interactivity between individual users and leading toward cooperation. The paper thus offers a discussion on how the ambience that is tailored to particular coworking space enhances the possibility of collaboration between two or more users of a selected workspace. Ethnographically guided observations of six coworking spaces and qualitative interviews with their managers were used in order to gain an understanding of the workspace ambiences in coworking spaces. As direct measurement of the frequency of collaboration would be logistically profound, this paper rather explores the conditions for spontaneous or moderated interactivity between workspace users which may be regulated by the creation of an optimal coworking space ambience. The following paper defines the coworking space ambience as the look and the feel of a work environment which can arouse certain moods toward a particular place and its users. Coworking spaces may impose various approaches that not only attract potential workspace users and form initial ties between them but also produce a certain ambience that leads to collaborative action between users. The factors of spatial design need to be adapted, and engagement strategies need to be constructed to maximise the preferential output. The research behind the following paper concludes that the factors of spatial comfortability are an essential predisposition for workspace users to engage in cooperation with each other. Various mechanisms are needed to customise these engagements into cooperative action. While the outcomes of sharing these environments have been periodically explored, no attempts have been made to investigate how coworking ambience is being created and implemented to optimise collaborative efforts of individuals who are sharing the workspace. For that reason, the audience of this paper should not only be limited to academics but may also be suitable for managers and office space operators seeking to understand dynamics of collaboration within new types of shared office spaces.
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Individuals in the creative sector often pursue the idea of the location-independent style of living and working (Müller, 2016). Digital nomads represent a modern ‘knowmad’ society (Moravec, 2013), whose boundaries between leisure, travel, and work appear blurred (Reichenberger, 2018). This new type of fluid workforce tends to merge itself with the selected geographic area or environment for a brief period of time, and by that utilising its logistic and digital infrastructure to maintain an individualised lifestyle (Richards, 2015). Digital nomadism has brought upon a new form of creative tourism (Putra & Agirachman, 2016) that emancipates the involvement of individuals in the creative life of the destination and interaction with local communities by exchanging skill sets and ideas in a synergetic way (Richards & Marques, 2012) by frequently using local coworking spaces. However, the motivational factors behind the usage of local coworking spaces remain unclear, as do the benefits offered by these flexible office environments. This paper thus investigates the popularisation of digital nomadism and the influence of the digital nomad lifestyle on the work-leisure balance that appears to be affected by the use of coworking spaces.
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Coworking spaces are shared working environments in which independent knowledge workers gather. Coworking is consistently described in terms of community and collaboration—yet these terms are defined inconsistently in the coworking literature. This study reviews the literature on coworking to better examine how community relates to collaboration. To anchor a more systematic analysis of community in coworking, the authors introduce Adler and Heckscher’s typology of communities; apply it to a study of six coworking spaces in the United States, Italy, and Serbia; and develop the typology to better understand coworking.
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Coopetition has the potential to improve entrepreneurship and innovation. It will be prevalent in coworking-spaces building a growing field for individual and corporate entrepreneurship. The individuals’ physical closeness in the professional and social space of the coworking-space eases multifaceted transfers of explicit and implicit knowledge, stimulating their creation, transfer, overhaul, and implementation of entrepreneurial ideas. While entrepreneurs in these coworking-spaces collaborate on sharing knowledge and resources and on finding creative ideas from which can breed new venture concepts, they simultaneously compete on the appropriation of values. Thus, entrepreneurs in coworking-spaces face coopetitive tensions of creating and appropriating the values. Based on interview data and secondary sources, this paper explains four different prototype institutions of coworking-spaces: the corporate coworking-space, the open corporate coworking-space, the consultancy coworking-space, and the independent coworking-space. Our study explains different tensions of value creation and appropriation that occur within the coopetition in the different forms of coworking-spaces.
The number of self-employed, freelancers, and remote workers has risen steadily; simultaneously a range of collaborative shared workspaces – coworking spaces – has emerged rapidly in which these individuals ‘work alone together’. However, existing research is skewed towards the community aspect of coworking, treated largely as an end in itself and investigated by qualitative approaches only. We argue that this represents only a partial account of coworking. Thus in addressing the basic research question of why people who no longer need to work together apparently choose to do so (for at least part of their working lives), we delineate inputs (social and environmental factors), outputs (community, interaction and knowledge sharing) and outcomes (innovation, growth) of coworking and investigate these quantitatively for the first time. Data was collected via a questionnaire survey of coworkers across two coworking spaces in South East Wales, UK. We find that coworkers report enhanced levels of innovation, despite this typically not being an explicit motivation. Finally we discuss potential limitations of the study, possible policy implications, and fruitful areas of further research such counterfactual surveys of those presently not using coworking spaces, multivariate and longitudinal methods to further explore the causal relationships between inputs, outputs and outcomes. Keywords: Coworking Remote working Knowledge economy Innovation Proximity
To what extent does the accelerated development of the digital economy contribute to the political process of deconstruction of employment and reformulation of the category of ‘worker’? This paper considers some recent innovations in the digitalisation of the economy, which are intertwined with new forms of work and employment: Internet-based virtual work, on-demand work through online platforms, crowd working, and ‘prosumer’ work. Several dimensions of the employment relationship are called into question by these trends: concept of workplace (and its aspects related to working conditions); formation of wages; meaning and measurement of working time; blurring of reporting lines; representation of workers’ interests; and more generally the meaning of work and solidarity.
As more individuals are working remotely, many feel increasingly isolated and socially adrift. To address this challenge, many independent workers are choosing to work in coworking spaces – shared spaces where individuals do their own work but in the presence of others with the express purpose of being part of a community. In this qualitative, single case study, we analyze how members of a coworking space work together to co-construct a sense of community through their day-to-day interactions in the space. We apply a relational constructionist lens to unpack the processes of ‘community work’ as an interactive, agentic process. We identify three types of collective actions, or interacts, that contribute to a sense of community: endorsing, encountering, and engaging. These interacts represent different forms of community work that members interactively accomplish to maintain a desired community experience. The rapidly growing coworking movement offers insights, as uncovered in this study, on how to integrate a sense of community into the world of work.
This paper analyses how managed coworking spaces affect the innovation process of their members. Managed coworking spaces are working environments for independent professionals, with an active role of the manager of the space to foster collaboration and interaction. It is often taken for granted that coworking contributes to innovation, yet, it is not fully understood how coworking spaces can be effective in fostering innovation, and what role management could play. This paper presents a mix of strategic management tools applied by two coworking spaces in Amsterdam. Qualitative research techniques were applied to shed light on their effectiveness for interaction and innovation. We analyse policy implications for owners/managers of coworking spaces to enhance collaboration, knowledge transfer and promoting new business opportunities.