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Regus: Coworking Spaces are a thing of the "past”

There are often discussions about what a coworking space is, and what it is not. Regus reiterates another message from a now somewhat repetitive and tired debate. They recently defined coworking spaces as something from the "past" when "like-minded individuals share common facilities and space", if they are "associated with (and) high tech start-ups" and only have a “limited number of locations (which are) not always where people want to work".

In contrast, Regus defines coworking as a "global network of places to work in a highly professional environment with a mix of work types to offer." The company, with its 1200 business centers worldwide, is referencing in particular, to themselves. However, a highly professional environment and a mix of work places also offer many of the 2000 coworking spaces of the "past", even if most don't operate under the same umbrella or the same brand.

Unfortunately, this assessment has at least three more errors:

First, "coworking" is not reduced to a location, or a number. It poses the question whether people can voluntarily work with one another. Coworking is based on trust and affection rather than on contracts and orders. 

Secondly, the reason why there are many "like-minded" people in coworking spaces is because they most likely have similar tastes when making a choice in regards to how they like to work and what they would like to have in their place of work. Would you voluntarily work alongside someone who you cannot stand? The result is a huge variety of coworking spaces in terms of communities, goals and styles. 

Regus provides a contrast, by mainly focusing on standardized work places that are mainly used by employees of companies that can rarely choose their own colleagues. Furthermore, like any other company, Regus needs to be attractive for their customers - which are mainly other companies, and less the employees of these companies. The bigger the company, the more working environments are shaped in a style which the top management and/or the mainstream likes.

This is why it can be misunderstood that "coworking is for corporates". Although there are interactions between these two worlds and also slight possiblities to mix them, at its core, a corporate, cannot operate on coworking. If it could, it would no longer be defined as corporate in its traditional understanding. For this, the majority of big companies had to change the role of their employees by giving them more freedom and equal rights, treating them more like shareholders.

Third, we reported a year ago that coworking spaces and business centers aren’t in any competition with each other. Their target groups overlap, but only marginally. Representatives of the two places of work can therefore rest easy. Members and customers are less interested with the terms, but more with the content and offerings. Coworking spaces and business centers must fill themselves terms and their promises with the appropriate life. 

Term accruals are no devaluation

Significant term deferrals only need scientific studies because they are impossible to define otherwise. Imagine that you examine the libraries in your city. Not only do libraries offer books, but also many bookstores, online stores, or just your friends. How will you investigate? By defining the  "library" by its limits to its real, tangible core as well.

This is why we often need to differentiate coworking spaces, cafes, libraries and business centers from each other. Thus this connects but does not disrespect or devalue the other facilities. Furthermore, there are good and bad coffee shops, good and bad libraries, and of course good and bad coworking spaces as well. Aside from this review, we only reflect on the opinion of individual users.

However, we definitely can agree with the Regus study in one case: "The thing I find worrying, is that nearly one in five of our subjects who work from home, have complained about poor posture due to unprofessional means," said the head of Regus Germany. Good, adjustable and comfy seats (and desks) are definitely an essential part of a good workspace!

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