WHAT IS CO-WORKING? | CO-WORKING SPACES
Over the past 30 years, three major changes have occurred in the sphere of arrangements for knowledge work. The first is that home computers and e-mail have created a group of freelancers, who are definitely more flexible than office workers. The second change occurred with the introduction of mobile technology and global teamwork: it made it possible for full-time employees to work anywhere and anytime. Now, a new change is coming: co-working spaces now give the benefit of both flexibility and social factors; people can feel free and not lonely without sacrificing any of these factors. Moreover, shared spaces help with users’ financial situation. Working in a shared work-space is a way of reducing individual risk: this approach to work arrangement brings flexibility and management innovation, and improves the financial situation of the workers while providing specific resources for sustaining freelancers and self-employed persons in a highly competitive job market .
Co-working refers to the practice of working alongside one another in flexible, shared work settings where desks can be rented on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Referring to data of the global co-working survey conducted in 2017, people are using 13,800 co-working spaces throughout the world. The new reality is that more and more independent workers are joining this type of workplace instead of a private office, among them are a huge proportion of entrepreneurs.
Of course, sometimes, private offices and assigned seating can increase individual productivity such as in deadline work, but an open environment and flexible seating increase creativity and innovation through cross-pollination. Therefore, a space and interior strategy is necessary for users’ diversity. In South Korea, this phenomenon of coworking space is definitely up to date.
According to the Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship Development, which has launched an in-person, creative company factual survey report, since 2009, one-person creative companies have increased by 13% every year, and there were 296,137 such companies in 2012. This leads to the thought that South Korea as a country should focus on the coworking space phenomenon, as it will guarantee entrepreneurial sustainability as well as a reduction in the costs of renting an office space and maintaining it; it will also help start-ups gain more experience, because a coworking space brings people from different spheres together.
Productivity can be defined as the ratio of outputs over inputs. A coworking space can increase start-ups’ productivity by reducing their inputs. In other words, joining a coworking space is an important way to increase the entrepreneurial sustainability of start-ups. According to the in-depth interview research of Seo et al., Korean users consider this an important benefit. The host of a Korean coworking space plays a leading role .
As the aim of the host’s activities is to create a unique cooperative atmosphere and build special relationships between the users of a co-working space , Korean co-working spaces should pay attention to the host concept, even though this concept has not been investigated adequately in a particular cultural range. Despite its importance, the running of a co-working space is rather fragile as a business model, with many hosts struggling to keep their spaces going because of the low-margin on monthly services . Therefore, in order to identify the important elements of efficient management, the perspectives of two groups should be considered: those of users and hosts.
In some cases, achieving the right balance between support and interference is a difficult judgment for hosts . This problem can be formulated to determine the perspectives of both the users and hosts of co-working spaces. As both users and hosts play a crucial role in the formation of a co-working space and related decision making, it is important to know their opinions on how to make this concept work better for both groups.
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