Coworking Does Not Need A New Definition

By Liz Elam On November 21, 2018 In Uncategorized

This is my opinion about the article “Should Coworking Change its Definition.” Recently Allwork.Space published this article and I found the need to respond:


In this article it claims that ‘Coworking has evolved into something that is not really coworking anymore.’ Few things make my blood boil more than a panel produced by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) that is devoid of any coworking founders, discussing the need to change to the definition of coworking. Coworking has been my passion for over 10 years and I feel very strongly about the word and what it stands for because I believe that people that produce real authentic Coworking founded on principles are the future of work.

From the article:

“It has evolved into something new that is not really coworking anymore,” explained Bromberg. “We’re looking at a new way to provide workplace for enterprise-level clients.”

Joyce Bromberg, of Convene who was part of the panel and was also on stage at GCUC, the world’s largest coworking conference, and suggested that the term “coworking” needed updating, to which I shouted, “No.” I suggest that the folks from AIA leave the term coworking to the vast majority of the market that embraces the principles of the coworking movement which, in case you didn’t know, are:

  • Community
  • Openness
  • Collaboration
  • Accessibility
  • Sustainability

The following is what the AIA panel suggested:

  • A way of working with people in more diverse environments.
  • Co-locating people in different companies.
  • A way of delivering hospitality-driven office environment as a service.
  • Flexibility.
  • Speed of change from real estate and demand side.
  • Redefining corporate intellectual property boundaries from defense to offensive.

These bullets are not how the Coworking world identifies, we embrace the principles listed above. We would like to suggest that the Real Estate industry, AIA, and others that don’t like the term coworking stick to the always bland “flexible office,” or “serviced office,” which grew out of the always exciting “business suites” term. The coworking world that embraces the principles of the movement will keep our name just as it is. Thank you.

Liz Elam, Founder of GCUC, the Global Coworking Unconference Conference