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Celebrating Collaboration: International Coworking Day and the Evolution of Workspace

In a world that thrives on connectivity and collaboration, the concept of coworking has emerged as a transformative force reshaping the way we work.

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In a world that thrives on connectivity and collaboration, the concept of coworking has emerged as a transformative force reshaping the way we work.


On International Coworking Day, we celebrate the remarkable rise of coworking and the visionaries who pioneered this movement, and continue to shape its future.


The Genesis of International Coworking Day


The roots of coworking can be traced back to the early 2000s, when digital innovation and shifting work dynamics were paving the way for a new work culture. It was in this environment the concept of shared workspaces took hold, offering freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote workers an alternative to the isolating confines of home offices and the rigid structure of traditional corporate spaces. 


As this movement gained momentum, it gave rise to the inaugural International Coworking Day, celebrated on August 9, 2005. This day commemorates the growth of the coworking ecosystem and serves as a reminder of the importance of fostering collaboration, innovation, and community in the modern workplace.


Embracing the Power of Collaboration: the Benefits of Coworking


The allure of coworking extends far beyond its physical attributes. Coworking spaces offer a rich tapestry of benefits, redefining how we approach work. 


Individuals now have the freedom to design their work schedules according to their task list, who they need to collaborate with, when, and where it works for them. 


They have been granted the ability to collaborate with coworkers when they wish to, or have some time away from the home office without facing the long commute. 


The sense of community that blooms within these shared spaces also provides a powerful antidote to the loneliness often associated with remote work. By nurturing an environment where casual encounters and networking opportunities are the norm, coworking spaces have become home to beneficial chance encounters and growth.


Shaping the Future of Coworking: Mark Gilbreath's Vision


The story of LiquidSpace began with a vision to transform the way we perceive and utilize workspaces. With a background in technology, Founder & CEO, Mark Gilbreath, embarked on a mission to bridge the gap between traditional office spaces and the evolving demands of a mobile workforce. His thinking laid the foundation for LiquidSpace, a platform that empowers individuals and businesses to discover, book, and thrive in flexible work environments.


From its humble beginnings 12 years ago, to today’s office marketplace, supporting global enterprises to step into the new era of work, LiquidSpace has come a long way. 


Here, Mark shares his insight on how he’s seen coworking weave itself into the fabric of todays work culture. With a focus on adaptability, sustainability, and creating environments that fuel happy people, his vision for LiquidSpace is to reimagine the way we work and interact with our surroundings.


How did you first discover coworking?


I started my career in Silicon Valley, first as a sales exec in the semiconductor industry and subsequently as a cofounder and CEO of a software startup in the late 90’s. 


As a young CEO I had my first encounter with the office leasing industry, when we secured space for our small but growing startup. I vividly recall how awkward it felt to make a five-year commitment to an office when I had no clear idea how large our team would actually be in five years. That memory stuck with me. 

Years later I had moved from San Francisco to a small mountain town in Idaho, having started a small commercial real estate development venture, developing self-storage facilities in and around Boise, the largest city in Idaho. (Self-storage facilities rent out storage space by the month in various sizes). 

I periodically thought this same business model could be readily applied to the office industry. (This was ~2007, when coworking was first emerging in San Francisco and select other cities. Regus of course was already a large and successful operator at this time though they referred to themselves as a serviced office provider.)


What’s the story of LiquidSpace’s inception?

In 2008, I opened the first coworking space in Idaho. We named the space VengaWorks (‘come’, ‘work’), and decided to name our memberships “LiquidSpace”. (Note this is the origin of the name LiquidSpace, but predates the founding of LiquidSpace the company, a digital marketplace to discover coworking spaces around the world.)


What was the coworking industry like back then?

In 2010, the coworking industry was a comparatively small global community of operators (100’s). Today there are 5,000+ operators around the world. Most coworking businesses at that time were owner operated and purpose driven. They believed in community first, and this difference proved a key distinction and differentiator. I recall a phrase coined by an early operator, “come for the space, stay for the people.”


How has the industry changed?

In the 10+ years since, coworking has become a mainstream term, popularized by both the dogged determination of thousands of passionate operators to advance the industry, and by the high profile rise and fall of WeWork (a story that’s still being written).


What is LiquidSpace’s role in Corporate Real Estate (CRE)?

LiquidSpace’s vision is “more happy people, working in better spaces, the planet smiles.”   Our role to date has been equal parts “technology innovator”: bringing delightful technology-enabled user experiences to what had been a stodgy industry, and “disruptor”,:daring to challenge the status quo in the CRE industry. We do this by enabling people to discover and connect with great spaces to work. 

Before the pandemic we had grown into a profitable and scaling global platform. While the pandemic was devastating for so many families and challenging for most companies, it also accelerated, by decades, a movement toward more flexibility and choice in Corporate Real Estate. 


Why is the coworking industry so important?


Coworking is a critical component, in fact we would argue the central pillar, of an environmentally and economically sustainable future for the CRE industry and more broadly how and where we work. This future begins with embracing flexibility and choice. Coworking spaces, which now span the globe, from mega-metros to small mountain towns, now provide individuals and companies with a rich palette of options from which to choose. And LiquidSpace was built to connect people to these places at this time - this is our moment.


What do you see for the future of LiquidSpace and coworking?


Like many, we believe the coworking market will continue to grow, as more and more companies embrace a new hybrid workplace future and entrust their employees with choice. For LiquidSpace, and the millions of individuals we serve, this of course means a very bright future. 


In celebration of International Coworking Day, we’re offering a free coworking day pass to use on LiquidSpace throughout the month of August. Whether you’re an existing customer looking to try out a new space, or new to the platform itself, enjoy the power of coworking for a day. Watch our socials for the full details, released on International Coworking Day (August 9).

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