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What is coworking and where did the concept come from?

Coworking is said to be the way of the future for the global workforce - but to get on board with this future, it's helpful to know a bit about what coworking is and where the concept came from. Coworking actually has interesting roots in the hacker community before it's benefits turned it into a mainstream way to work.

Computer Hackers Start Coworking

Back in 1995 a group of seventeen friends who shared a love for computers got together to rent a space and start working and collaborating together. They called their space C-Base and used it to work, learn from each other, and have the flexibility to share the costs of renting. Then in 1999, Bernard DeKoven coined the phrase “Coworking” for the vision of a creative open workplace where people could build community as they worked.

In 2002 the first formal "coworking space" opened in Austria It was called Schraubenfabrik, which translates in english to “screw factory.” It was a community for entrepreneurs to get out of the house, network and support each other.

Coworking Comes to America

The concept of coworking came to the US for the first time in San Francisco in 2005. Brad Neuberg, a computer programmer and entrepreneur, founded San Francisco Coworking Space. His space was all about providing a great place for fellow small business owners to work from and build community. The concept quickly gained traction across the US and more spaces popped up in cities from coast to coast.

Proof of Concept: WeWork's Rise

Like any new idea that gains traction, large companies began to form around the idea of coworking. Networks of spaces opened in cities around the country and world. WeWork is perhaps the best example of this rapid growth. Originally, the founders of WeWork owned an independent coworking space in Brooklyn called GreenDesk. They sold their space and formed WeWork in 2011 with a couple locations in NYC.

With the help of an investment from a real estate developer, WeWork quickly expanded over the next several years, eventually boasting a network of over 700 locations in 38 countries. In 2018 WeWork began to face various legal troubles, but their growth and expansion across the globe demonstrates the popularity and large-scale demand for collaborative flexible work spaces across the globe.

Coworking Moves Beyond Major Cities

Today, coworking spaces are moving beyond cities into smaller towns and rural communities across the country. They're bringing a range of benefits to community members, including high-speed internet, private offices & meeting rooms, and office amenities like printing and bottomless coffee. In addition, many become a community center as well, offering workshops, seminars, and private event rental.

Enter Lake City Coworking! Plattsburgh's first coworking space opened it's doors in September of 2022. Owner Lynne Reznick wanted to bring coworking to Plattsburgh after her own experiences building her photography business and network through coworking in Boston for years prior to moving to the North Country. Located in the heart of the city's walkable downtown, Lake City Coworking offers a shared office space - complete with private meeting rooms, kitchenette, and printing station - to members at a variety of affordable levels.

Click here to learn more about LCC's membership options or grab a day pass and give coworking a try for one day.

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