I was so happy reading this article as it underlines the role of office sharing and co-working as an innovation buster. However, if popup offices, co-working and workspace sharing are the answer to high cost office rental why isn’t this thing it flying off?

Where are the office people?

Although we’ve accepted workplace sharing as a general measure of effectiveness, there is still some debate about the pro’s and cons of co-working and office sharing. In the Netherlands we’ve adopted co-working since long though it appears to stagnate to serve a couple of happy, creative entrepreneurs or independent freelancers. The reason for this is that the office people just don’t get over there. So while you’ve successfully refurbished your beautiful real estate property, furnished it with state-of-the-art, trendy office furniture, the seats remain merely empty and you have to live of occasional bookings of your meeting rooms. Although there’s no real figure available, estimates say that of available commercial flexible workspaces, only 20% is actually used on busy office days. Where are the people?

At the office! According to research of TNO in assignment of the Dutch ministry of social affairs, in 2011 28% of Dutch employees worked at home.. sometimes.. about 6,2 hours a week. That means they still spent a fair amount of time among their colleagues at the office. In 2011, PWC boasted that working at home or co-working could contribute some 2 billion euro to our GDP. Although there’s a lot of debate on these figures, I guess they have a point.

If we really want people to adopt the concept of office sharing and co-working we need to get them out of their home, out of their office. This requires employers to accept third workplaces as an alternative to their own property.