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Journal number 4 ∘ Irma Tkemaladze
Co-working as a new design of work to promote employment

Doi: 10.36172/EKONOMISTI.2021.XVII.04.Irma.Tkemaladze


The accelerated digitization process, the uncertainties arising from the Covid-Pandemic and the need to impose restrictions make us think about how the nature of work will soon change, the forms of employment and labor organization, working modes, and, in general, what the word "job" will mean in the future. For some time, the latter meant a social order that divided working time from free time, employment space, and personal space. But with the development of society and technology, the above margin has gradually been erased. The global pandemic has accelerated the process of changes in every field, including this direction. In turn, new Internet communications resources have provided constant and large-scale access to the virtual environment, thus expanding the ability of the employee to perform the functions assigned to him/her remotely. This virtual space, thanks to the concept of shared use, creates new business models that do not require the purchase of expensive and technically complex goods or services. As for the concept of joint use, it implies that the consumer does not become the owner of the goods, the ownership remains with the producer or intermediary who organizes the joint use of the goods or services. The activities of companies such as Airbnb, Uber, RelayRides, ZipCar, which are already successful today, are built on this principle. Such an approach could revolutionize the core value chain as it clears the line between the roles of producer, consumer, and intermediary. At the same time, their functions - producer, supplier, intermediary - are constantly changing, and the structure of interaction between participants in economic activities is becoming more complicated. According to the principle of virtual "cloud", virtual space is considered as a system of data storage and presentation, which provides access to information from anywhere in the world and its sharing with other virtual goods [Boes et al., 2014].

These changes have reflected the labor market, new, non-standard forms of employment emerged, remote work, freelancing, digital nomadism became relevant, which led to the transformation of the labor organization process, and as a result, we can consider the emergence of coworking as a flexible self-employment model. The latter can also be considered as a matrix of industrial mentality in an individualized virtual society that serves the integration of creative individuals into work associations, that are different from the standard employment context (Krause, 2019). While people in this space work independently, they share common interests, values, and work together to create a synergistic effect that contributes to increased overall labor productivity.

The concept of co-working was created in 2005 when "Third Space Offices" emerged independently in major cities in Western Europe and North America. The term "co-working" was used by programmer Brad Neuberg when he opened an alternative office for nonprofit collaboration in San Francisco (Botsman & Rogers, 2010; Hunt, 2009). Its segment consisted of targeted, creative professionals and specialists in digital and virtual economics. The reasons for its origin can be the spread of digital nomadism, the need to consider the attitude of millennials and z-generation to employment, the formation of a concept of shared use of resources, difficulties in renting a perfect office space, the distance between home and workplace, the spread of remote work and the imposition of restrictions in pandemic conditions, insufficient conditions for the employee to organize the workplace at home, unrestricted access to inventory and equipment required for office activities in co-working centers, etc.

Given that it is the result of the emergence of flexible forms of employment, given the widespread use of the latter, we must assume that coworking will also continue to develop. At the same time, it is clear that there will always exist companies in the market with a conservative method of management, preferring office spaces and stationary jobs. Under such conditions, the owners or managers of organizations must constantly monitor and respond to changes to be able to successfully position themselves in the market by offering relevant services to the target audience, while taking into account the interests of employees, constantly increasing their labor productivity and reducing staff turnover. In a pandemic condition, the status of a small country can be used as a competitive advantage if a country manages to regulate the pandemic process. If a country will be marked as a green zone, the interest of certain companies or freelancers towards it will increase, which will encourage the covert industry, revitalize the tourism industry, and, consequently, the economic development of the country.