This blog was first published in Dutch on Smart WP
Coworking spaces have gained popularity – and especially in Europe. The sector has been growing at a remarkable rate for years, and this has only been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The reason for this is that many office-going workers were forced to work remotely to contain the spread of the virus.
Some were trapped and felt that they were unable to work from home; to counter this, they started making use of coworking spaces. And because of lockdown regulations they have been interested in making use of their local coworking spaces. These spaces have offered them a sense of community, connection, and an office-going feeling.
Now, with many countries administering vaccines, things are starting to look up and many businesses want workers to return to the office. Some businesses have the expectation of full-time return, and others only partially. The question is, will the workers come?
With the lockdowns many people were restricted to just their immediate surroundings and many have found that this created a deep connection with their community. People have become aware of the absurdity of traveling two hours a day simply to get to and from work. They have started making use of their immediate resources – from laundromats to local coffee shops and of course coworking spaces.
Coworking spaces and 15-minute cities
Along with coworking spaces gaining popularity, so has the ‘15-minute’ city concept – which was particularly fueled by the strict lockdowns and global pandemic. Before the 15-minute city concept gained the attention of politicians and governments, the idea was simply to ride or walk within your community to support your locals.
A report published by TownSq, called What if Everyone Could Walk to Work?, found that walking to work greatly improves our health, our economy, our environment, our relationships, and our understanding of what community really means. This can most easily be achieved if towns and cities were to start implementing the 15-minute concept.
This offers mobility within a town or city. When everything is close by, cars are needed much less. When transportation is used less, it will also have a positive effect on the environment and the carbon footprint of a community.
The Dublin Chamber of Commerce published a report on how 15-minute cities can be implemented into Dublin. The report focuses on the impacts that the concept will have on Dublin and how this concept can save people money and time. It is interesting to note how the pandemic has increased the attention to this concept. It also points out how being confined to a 2km radius for a few months makes you hyper-aware of all the gems within your community.
Mobility within a coworking spaces
Coworking spaces offer mobility and flexibility. The mobility of local coworking spaces stems from the 15-minute city concept. It creates a sense of flexibility when it comes to travelling to “work” and it saves quite some time.
A simulation done by PTV Group Traffic, showed just how much time people were saving on simply walking or cycling to work. The simulation used five modes of transport to transport 200 people. The modes were: 133 cars (each containing 1.5 people), 10 busses (each containing 20 people), five trams (each containing 40 people), 200 bikes, and 200 pedestrians. To cross the same line, it took cars four minutes and pedestrians only 38 seconds.
This just comes to show just how much time we are wasting by using cars as transportation. A coworking space offers this mobility as it is within a community, run by community members, which gives it that extra bit of love.
This has become prominent in today’s society as people have felt trapped within their homes. And now with vaccines being administered, it gives some hope that things will return back to normal. However, since some had a taste of what it feels like to only move within their community, the probability that everyone will be returning to the office is slim to none.
Before the global pandemic, traveling to and from work was non-negotiable. Now that employees are aware of the mobility that their community and coworking spaces offer, they might fight against it and only look for employment that offers remote work.
There are multiple reasons why mobility is important within a coworking space, whether it is to be within a community or to improve the community’s environmental footprint. The 15-minute city concept allows for coworking spaces to cater for the community in which they are based. This means that they will be close to daily amenities to make life easier for the users.
Coworking spaces in Europe are ever growing and they play an important role within European communities. One coworking space that plays an important role with Dutch communities is DeKamer. They are a network of coworking spaces in the Netherlands, able to offer freelancers and independent workers a home from which to work in the EU, from a registered business address to a private rental.