International Coworking Day
Also known as
Global Coworking Day
annually on August 9th (since 2010)
Cadu de Castro Alves on August 7th, 2010
Coworking provides an opportunity for people who otherwise would be working alone, or at home or in areas not well-suited for work, to come together in a shared space and work independently or collaborate. The concept of coworking has its origins in the late 1990s. In 1999, Bernard DeKoven came up with the term "coworking," but he defined it as having to do with collaboration, not with going to a shared space. That same year, 42 West 24 was opened in New York City, providing a shared space to work. But there wasn't any community aspect to it; networking or events were not part of it. Another precursor to coworking came in 2002, with the opening of Schraubenfabrik, an "entrepreneurial center" in Vienna, Austria. It was a place besides home where entrepreneurs could work and collaborate—a coworking space in all but name.
On August 9, 2005, the first coworking space, San Francisco Coworking Space, was set up by Brad Neuberg at the Spiral Muse, a feminist collective in San Francisco's Mission District. Neuberg blogged about his new idea upon starting it, saying, "This week is the first week of coworking, something I am setting up." For the first month, only Neuberg showed up. But after startup developer and athlete Ray Baxter arrived at the space, coworking was officially born.
The following year, when about ten coworkers were at the San Francisco Coworking Space, it became the Hat Factory, the first full-time location referred to as a coworking space. One of its coworkers, Chris Messina, the inventor of the hashtag, created Coworking Wiki to help people find other coworking spaces. Around the same time, coworking began skyrocketing. The number of coworking spaces and coworkers began doubling every year and what became known as the "coworking revolution" was on!
On August 9, 2010, exactly five years after Neuberg opened the first official coworking space, the first Coworking Day was held. Cadu de Castro Alves, the owner of BeesOffice, a coworking space in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, created the day. In a Coworking Google Group forum post on August 7th, he wrote: "Next monday will be 5 years since Brad Neuberg talk about coworking for the first time...I think that that date should be the official Coworking Day. What do you think about blogging something special to celebrate that and tweeting using the #CoworkingDay hashtag?" As its celebration spread, it eventually became more known as International Coworking Day. It became a day to cowork and collaborate, and many coworkers and coworking spaces celebrate it today!
How to Observe International Coworking Day
True to how the day started, you could celebrate by blogging something special in the day's honor and accompanying it with the hashtag #CoworkingDay. The best way to celebrate may be to find a coworking space and do some coworking. Some coworking spaces even mark the day, and some have even offered free coworking space for it! You could also read what Brad Neuberg wrote about the start of coworking or make plans to attend a Global Coworking Unconference Conference event.