The World of Work Is Changing

Experts and people say the world of work is changing but is it?  In certain worlds it is, but if you are grinding it out in a corporate cubicle somewhere it probably doesn’t feel like it.

NextSpace: the next big thing?
(Photo credit: oxmour)

Although, you have better internet and more websites to surf on your company desktop, laptop, tablet and phone!

Right now I am in Austin, TX at the Global Coworking Conference.  Or, the “Juicy Conference”.  It’s a nascent movement that is gaining steam worldwide.  I have been researching this for over a year now and it’s very interesting to start seeing data trickle in.

Some other things from the conference struck me as sort of “gee whiz” given my past life as a trader.

People in the broader world are starting to go to shared office spaces around the country and co-work in locations.  Commodity trading pits were the original co-working locations.  If you were ever a trader in a pit-you have some sense of what the co-working movement is about.

People working on their own business, but sometimes finding serendipity in the collaborations that can randomly occur in co-working spaces.  Entrepreneurial microecosystems that come together, amoeba like to work on a project, then bust apart only to reform in different ways to do other things.

The growth in the co-working world is exponential.  It has ceased to become a blip and is now a massive trend.  There are different businesses that are attacking this trend in unique ways.

One thing is clear, most of the “suits” of the world don’t understand it, don’t know how to contemplate interacting and building a business in it, or don’t notice it.  When they do it will have passed them by and it will be too late.

One interesting discussion they had yesterday had to do with corporations and co-working.  IBM saved 20% on their fixed costs of real estate by embracing a co-working model-decreasing their real estate footprint world wide.

Developments like this in major companies make them more capital efficient.  On a more holistic note, it also makes them “greener” since they are using less real estate, less energy etc to conduct business.

Co-working is beneficial to business-employees are more productive and healthy.  Co-working can reduce costs to make business allocate capital for growth more easily.  But co-working can help save the planet too!  Win-win-win.

There are some true leaders in the co-working movement and they are all here.  Turnstone is the leader in the furniture industry.  They have actively figured out how to structure space to make it the most productive.  Nextspace is one of the largest network of linked co-working spaces.  Desktime is the universal cutting edge software application that anyone can use to power all the plumbing behind a co-working facility, independent or corporate.

If you are interested in co-working, setting up a space, or repurposing existing corporate office space into co-working space, click the links on any of the above companies and they can tell you how to do it.

On an academic level, co-working fits right into the academic theories of Adam Smith and Ronald Coase.  Smith first identified how division of labor made people more productive and raised the capacity for societies to increase their standards of living.  Coase identified how two independent parties can bargain efficiently-and also identified how individual firms can structure themselves for profit maximization.  Coase showed how all this contributes to a higher societal standard of living.

Co-working takes that to the next level, using physical and virtual to interact in ways we couldn’t have imagined before.  This isn’t just a movement that is responding to artificial stimuli.

Co-working is happening because it’s the best way to organize ourselves to take society to the next level.

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