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When Did Coworking Spaces Start - Woman working

When Did Coworking Spaces Start? [The History of Coworking]

When did coworking spaces start? Are you curious about the origins of coworking spaces?

From the creation of the first hackerspace in Berlin to the establishment of the first official coworking space in San Francisco, we’ll unravel the key milestones that shaped this revolutionary concept.

Get ready to discover the pioneers and visionaries who paved the way for this global phenomenon.

Matthew Francis in WeWork coworking space in Medellin

Key Takeaways

  • The concept of coworking spaces started to emerge in the late 1990s with the creation of C-Base, one of the first hackerspaces, in Berlin, Germany, and the establishment of 42 West 24 in New York City, providing flexible desk space.
  • The first official coworking space, San Francisco Coworking Space, was set up in 2005 by Brad Neuberg, and The Hat Factory later replaced it as the first full-time coworking space in 2006.
  • The Coworking Wiki, created in 2006 by Chris Messina, became an online resource for connecting coworkers and spaces, contributing to the growth of the coworking movement.
  • The rise of coworking giants, such as WeWork, has had a significant impact on the industry, with WeWork becoming the second-largest private office tenant in Manhattan in 2018 and having over 250,000 members in 431 offices across 80 cities.

The Origin of Coworking

The name ‘coworking’ was first used in 1999 by Bernard DeKoven.

The first official coworking space was opened in 2002.

These early developments laid the foundation for the coworking movement that would grow globally and revolutionize how people work.

When Did Coworking Spaces Start?

Did you know that the origin of coworking can be traced back to the late 1990s and early 2000s? The concept of coworking began to take shape during this time, leading to the establishment of the first official coworking space.

Here is a brief history of the early development of coworking:

  • In 1995, C-Base, one of the first hackerspaces, was created in Berlin, Germany.
  • In 1999, Bernard DeKoven coined the term’ coworking.’
  • In 2005, the first official coworking space, San Francisco Coworking Space, was set up by Brad Neuberg.

These early milestones paved the way for the growth of the coworking industry and the establishment of numerous coworking spaces worldwide.

The history of coworking spaces continues to evolve, with innovation and collaboration driving the future of flexible workspaces.

The Name “Coworking” Was First Used in 1999

The origin of coworking can be traced back to 1999 when the name ‘coworking’ was first used by Bernard DeKoven. This marked the beginning of a new era in workspace innovation.

Coworking spaces emerged, providing a collaborative and flexible environment for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote workers. The concept quickly gained popularity as it offered a refreshing departure from traditional office settings.

Coworking spaces became hubs of creativity, fostering a sense of community and encouraging collaboration among like-minded individuals.

Since then, the coworking movement has grown exponentially, doubling the number of spaces and members yearly for the next seven years.

Coworking continues revolutionizing how people work today, offering a dynamic and inspiring alternative to the traditional office setup.

The First Coworking Space Was Opened in 2002

The first coworking space was opened in 2002. This pivotal historical moment marked the beginning of a new era in how people work and collaborate.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • Brad Neuberg, a software engineer, opened the San Francisco Coworking Space in 2005, recognized as the first official coworking space.
  • However, the precursors to coworking spaces can be traced back to 1999, when Bernard DeKoven coined the term’ coworking,’ and 2002, when an old factory in Vienna, Austria, called Schraubenfabrik, became an entrepreneurial center.
  • These early initiatives laid the foundation for the modern coworking movement, emphasizing community, flexibility, and collaboration.
  • The opening of the San Francisco Coworking Space by Brad Neuberg was a significant milestone that propelled the concept of coworking into the mainstream.

The first coworking space was in 2002, and the efforts of visionaries like Brad Neuberg and Bernard DeKoven set the stage for the rapid growth and global impact of coworking that we see today.

The Evolution of Coworking Spaces

Now, let’s look at the growth and popularity of coworking spaces and some of the most well-known coworking companies.

You’ll discover how these spaces have evolved over time, attracting freelancers, startups, and large corporations.

From the rise of WeWork to the global impact of coworking, this discussion will give you insights into the expanding industry and its future trends.

The Growth and Popularity of Coworking Spaces

Coworking spaces have experienced significant growth and popularity since their inception, evolving into vibrant communities that foster collaboration and flexibility. This growth can be seen in the increasing number of coworking spaces around the world and the growing membership of these spaces.

The brief history of coworking can be traced back to the establishment of the first official coworking space, San Francisco Coworking Space, in 2005. Since then, the concept has spread globally, with spaces popping up in various cities worldwide. The first full-time workspace, The Hat Factory, replaced San Francisco Coworking Space in 2006, further fueling the growth of coworking.

Today, there are countless coworking spaces in the world catering to the needs of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote workers. With its emphasis on collaboration and flexibility, the coworking movement shows no signs of slowing down.

Most Well-known Coworking Companies

Often overlooked but highly influential, some of the most well-known coworking companies have played a significant role in the evolution of coworking spaces. These companies have not only provided flexible workspaces, but they have also fostered a sense of community and collaboration among their members.

Here are a few of the most well-known coworking companies that have helped shape the coworking industry:

CompanyYear FoundedLocationsMembers
WeWork2010119 cities590,000
Regus1989150 countries2.5 million
Impact Hub2005100 cities15,500
Industrious201265+ citiesUnknown

These companies have not only provided a physical space for individuals and businesses to work but also created vibrant communities where innovation and collaboration thrive. With their global reach and focus on creating a better work-life balance, these well-known coworking companies continue to lead the way in shaping the future of work.

The Future of Coworking

As a professional in the coworking industry, you may be wondering what the future holds for coworking spaces. The future of coworking is promising, with the movement showing no signs of slowing down. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Continued growth and expansion: Coworking spaces have become famous for professionals seeking flexible office space. The number of coworking offices and members doubles yearly.
  2. Global collaboration: The global coworking movement has gained momentum since the first coworking conference was held, leading to the establishment of the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC). This international collaboration fosters innovation and sharing best practices among coworking spaces worldwide.
  3. Evolving work culture: The future of coworking will see a shift in work culture, with an emphasis on collaboration, networking, community, and work-life balance.

The Benefits of Working in a Coworking Space

Working in a coworking space can provide numerous benefits if you want to boost your productivity and expand your professional network. Coworking spaces have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the rise of remote work and the need for flexible and collaborative work environments. Here are some key benefits:

Increased ProductivityThey can help increase your productivity by providing a dedicated workspace away from distractions. You can stay motivated and accomplish your tasks more efficiently in a professional and focused environment.
Expanded Professional NetworkThey are filled with professionals from various industries and backgrounds. This presents an excellent opportunity to network, collaborate, and learn from others. You can make valuable connections, find potential clients or partners, and exchange ideas to foster innovation.
Flexibility and Cost SavingsThey offer flexible membership options, allowing you to choose the plan that suits your needs. Whether you need a dedicated desk or just a few hours a week, you can find a membership that fits your work style and budget. Additionally, you can avoid the overhead costs of setting up and maintaining your own office.

Working in these spaces can provide you with the environment and resources you need to thrive professionally. The benefits extend beyond just a workspace, offering a supportive community, networking opportunities, and cost savings.

As more professionals and companies embrace this flexible and collaborative work environment, you can expect continued growth and innovation in the coworking industry.

Here are some trends and predictions for the future:

  • Integration of Technology: Coworking spaces will continue incorporating advanced technology to enhance productivity and connectivity. This may include smart office solutions, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence to create more efficient and interactive workspaces.
  • Expansion of Specialized Spaces: As the demand for coworking spaces grows, specialized areas will rise, catering to specific industries or communities. This trend will provide professionals with tailored environments that foster collaboration and networking opportunities.
  • Sustainability and Wellness: Coworking spaces will prioritize sustainability and wellness initiatives to attract environmentally conscious professionals. This may involve incorporating green technologies, promoting eco-friendly practices, and providing wellness amenities like fitness centers and meditation rooms.

These trends indicate that the future of coworking spaces will be centered around innovation, customization, and creating work environments that promote productivity and well-being. Coworking spaces must adapt to professionals’ and companies’ changing needs and expectations as the industry continues to evolve.


What is the history of coworking?

The history of coworking can be traced back to the first official coworker, Ray Baxter, who started using a flexible office space in San Francisco in 2005.

Who opened the first coworking space?

The first coworking space was opened in 2005 by Brad Neuberg in San Francisco.

How did coworking become popular?

Coworking became popular as more people recognized the benefits of working in a collaborative and community-oriented office space.

How many square feet of office space did the first coworking space have?

The first coworking space had about 2,500 square feet of office space.

What is the role of Ray Baxter in coworking?

Ray Baxter was the first official coworker and played a significant role in popularizing the concept.

How often can a coworker use the space?

A coworker can typically use the space on a part-time basis, such as two days a week.

Can You Take Calls in a Coworking Space?

A: Yes, you can take calls in a coworking space, but when taking phone calls in a coworking space, remember the golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.

Matt Francis
Matt Francis

Hi, I'm Matt Francis. A digital nomad, blogger, web developer and all-around good egg! I am the brains (and brawn) behind Everyday Ape. My website features a wide range of topics, with a focus on travelling and working online.