The coworking community wrote an open letter to the 1 billion freelancers, mobile, independent, and telecommuting workers around the world:
INTERNATIONAL COWORKING COMMUNITY BACKS YAHOO! CEO MARISSA MAYER
OUR BEST WORK IS DONE TOGETHER NOT ALONE
To: Independent, mobile, and distributed workers, 1 billion around the world
Last week the international coworking community – made up of nearly 500 shared workspace pioneers – met in Austin, Texas, at the annual Global Coworking Unconference Conference, GCUC*, to discuss the merits of working alongside others and the evolution of the way we work.
“Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings.” – excerpt from the Yahoo! memo.
Yahoo! banning working from home was hotly debated by some of the most forward-thinking minds in workplace productivity and well-being. And workspace experts at the conference were in majority in their support for Marissa Mayer’s controversial decision, in regards to the idea that working along side and interacting with others is essential to fuel creativity, boost productivity and nurture emotional well-being.
The global coworking community represents a growing collection of shared work-spaces, each grounded in a set of core values: collaboration, openness, community, sustainability, and accessibility. These core values now connect 2,498 shared workspaces across the globe and provide a strong platform on which vibrant communities of independent workers grow.
This position has a clear link to how we as the coworking community feel about work. Community is built from first-hand interactions with other human beings. Collaboration and innovation result from discussions we have when we walk away from our desk to discuss our work in a more socially engaging way than an email ever could.
Richard Branson has charged back against the policy saying: “In 30 years time, as technology moves forward even further, people are going to look back and wonder why offices ever existed.” While we can see a side to this that makes sense – distributed work is on the rise – we believe working from home is not the only answer.
Working from home, all of the time, stifles productivity and is actually unhealthy for a majority of people around the world. It is not good for companies or independent workers. The recent 3rd annual Global Coworking Survey** reveals a staggering 91% of people feel less isolated now that they are working out of the home.
“Our industry exists because, for a lot of people, working from home doesn’t work.” says Tony Bacigalupo, co-founder of New Work City – a popular coworking space in New York. That same industry has seen a 300% growth since 2010, according to the recent Coworking Census*** conducted by Deskwanted.com – the leading online portal for finding shared workspaces. 79% of coworkers, who responded to the Global Coworking Survey, said they feel more productive now that they have another option.
We are also supporters of flexibility. In fact, most who work in coworking spaces around the world, also spend large parts of their work-week in other locations, such as cafes, libraries, traditional offices and yes – even back at home.
“Everyone likes working from home, except when they cannot get any work done,” says Steve King of Emergent Research. When you cannot get the work done at home, you need another option.
“It seemed I could either have a job, which would give me structure and community…or I could be freelance and have freedom and independence. Why couldn’t I have both?” says Brad Neuberg, the man who coined the name ‘coworking’.
Our statement comes in response to this current international debate. We want the 1 billion independent and mobile workers around the world to know that there is a choice. There is a space outside of the office, and outside of the home, for you to work. Your local coworking space welcomes you to collaborate, innovate and immerse yourself in a community that supports a new way of work existence.
The Yahoo! memo finishes with a succinct point about human interactions in the workplace,
“Being a Yahoo! isn’t just about your day-to-day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices.”
While it was likely a tough and strategic decision to recall all remote workers to the Yahoo! offices, we applaud Ms. Mayer for taking such a risk in an effort to build and strengthen the community within the company – as we do everyday in our spaces.
Whilst we welcome the contribution to the debate made by Ms. Mayer, we do caution Yahoo! that a group of employees working in isolation day after day can become stale and unproductive. We encourage them to allow small working groups of employees to spend time working in other places, where they can still be accountable to the company but energised by input and creativity from fresh environments and other independent workers nearby.
The members of the global Coworking community who have signed below
This letter was prepared by:
Julianne Becker, Deskwanted.com – Berlin, Germany
Marissa Feinberg, Green Spaces NY – New York City, USA
Steve King, Emergent Research – San Francisco, USA
Rachel Young, Camaraderie Coworking Inc. – Toronto, Canada
Joel Dullroy, Deskwanted.com – Berlin, Germany
Tony Bacigalupo, New Work City – New York City, USA
Susan Dorsch, Office Nomads – Seattle, USA
Jean-Yves Huwart, Global Enterprise – Brussels, Belgium
Kristine Woosley, Woosley Studio Inc. – Phoenix, USA
Ashley Proctor, Foundery Inc. – Toronto, Canada
Cristina Santamarina, Cobot – Berlin, Germany
and endorsed by:
Coworking Europe Conference
Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC)
Cowo – Italian Network of Coworking Spaces
Xindanwei 新单位 , Shanghai, China
Coworking.de – German Network of Coworking Spaces
OuiShare – Creative Community for the Collaborative Economy
Beach Business Hub, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
*Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC)
**The 3rd Annual Coworking Survey was conducted by Deskmag and Deskwanted: http://www.deskmag.com/en/1st-results-of-the-3rd-global-coworking-survey-2012
*** The Coworking Census was conducted and published by Deskwanted in February 2013: http://blog.deskwanted.com/2013/02/press-release-new-study-reveals-coworking-boom-worldwide/?utm_source=census&utm_medium=facebook%2Bcover&utm_campaign=DWblog
Do you agree? Sign the petition at: http://chn.ge/ZrAPFA