The end of the year is a time to make balances, plans and predictions. These days we are bombarded with blog posts about the future of big data, the future of wearables, or the companies we should keep an eye on in the next year. I want to you to use your imagination to think about the future of coworking.
Rumours say coworking is here to stay. How will coworking spaces be like in 20 years? Will we have teletransportation platforms to attend workshops in other coworking spaces in the other part of the world? Will we move around in levitating bikes? It’s hard to guess, but one thing is sure: There will be more coworking spaces, with more members. If coworking keeps growing as it does these days, in a few years we’ll be able to find coworking spaces as easily as we can find Mcdonald’s today.
How will these spaces look like? How will working there be like? How will coworkers communicate? With more people to take care of, and more technologic innovations, coworking (and living in general) will move towards automated comfort, security and management, and more human interaction.
Coworking associations & networks
Coworking spaces will probably get together in regional and national associations. Coworking conferences will still be organized, but coworking space managers will have a direct link and build networks of like minded spaces on top of the other more geographically focused associations. Like minded spaces from far appart places will be able to stay in touch and together thanks to technology and thanks to exchange programs. Keep an eye on the growing nomad work force!
Thanks to this closer connections, spaces will get together in awareness campaigns – getting press, telling yet another person what coworking is about or getting the authorities and institutions to include coworking in their programs to impulse entrepreneurship.
The role of the space managers
More and more, thanks to the growth of coworking and thanks to the standardization and automation of routine tasks, the role of the coworking space manager will move towards a ‘advocate’ of freelancers and smb’s and a ‘facilitator’ that helps providing resources and connections to enable community members to grow their businesses.
The future is now
Why wait for the future? Find your closest coworking spaces, talk with their manager and coworkers and make an impact in your area. Attend the next conferences to learn about space management and community building; and read the growing number of books and whitepapers about coworking to catch up with the latest trends.
And because everyone of us can use a little help, here are 4 tools that you can already use to move your coworking space some years in the future.
Management – Cobot
Cobot is an online management application made specifically for coworking spaces. It provides an interface for managers and members to administer coworking plans, make bookings and interact with each other, and lets you do some more futuristic things like using touchscreens to show availability of your meeting rooms, take payments automatically or control who has access to your space using access cards or your wi-fi. Cobot has an open API – which means it can be extended in functionality as well as linked to other services.
Comfort – Nest
Nest is focused on addressing home-energy consumption with elegantly designed solutions (Nest is made by former Apple guys!), including the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Energy Services. Nest thermostats are installed in 80+ countries and have helped save more than 750,000,000 kWh of energy to date.
Security – Lockitron, August
Lockitron and August replace keys with your phone. You can instantly grant coworkers and guests access to your space from anywhere in the world using your internet enabled smartphone. Any internet enabled smartphone can use these devices, that can be activated for text-message access which turns any mobile phone into a virtual key or allows users to unlock or lock their door just by swiping it in front of a sensor.
Engagement – Socialwally
SocialWally is a social media wall used by companies, bars, restaurants, shops and events who are active on social media and want to involve their employees, team members, guests or other stakeholders. SocialWally merges the power of a Twitter wall, a Facebook wall, Foursquare checkins and many more social networks.
This is all for today – what are your ideas about the future of coworking? Is your coworking space futuristic in any way? Which are your wildest dreams about the future of coworking? As always, I’m looking forward to reading your comments.