A year after we attended our first Coworking Europe Conference in Milan, we went to Brussels to attend the 2016 edition. For us it was a super exciting trip. After one year, Sun and Co. has evolved a lot: we gave birth, we created a family and we became one of the leading co-living spaces in Europe.

As we’ve grown, the coworking scene has also evolved. The spectrum is wider and brighter, and we’re all more and more different from each other. Huge coworking companies with 8+  locations and 1600+ members sit side-by-side with rural spaces with 8+ desks and a 1600+ town population. On top of that we’re seeing more business centres or banks that call themselves ‘coworking’, hotels that offer a working area in the lobby and also, coliving spaces which are jumping in here offering accommodation as an extra value.

“The name coworking for me now doesn’t mean that much. I know what the definition of coworking means for me but when you go to a coworking conference, there are a lot of people thinking they are doing the same stuff and actually they are not.”Sophie Ozdzinski.

So, can we find a way to wrap together everyone under this wide umbrella term, ‘coworking’?

There is something certain here; people are the primary asset in these kind of conferences. Meeting individuals who are doing the same as you do, sharing your experiences with each other and feeding your mind with stimulating conversations, the returning home afterwards stoked with ideas and inspiration.

One of the unconference panels. PC: CWE.

So, because of this huge spectrum between each other, when the key messages provided can only feed a minimum amount of the attendees, you need to go outside to find the right people to talk to.

“Conference is happening around the conference and not inside”.  –Fernando Mendes.

There is another important thing that I’d like to point out. I think we all are making a big mistake trying to show off the good things we do and hiding our mistakes and failures. We are doing more harm than good to ourselves. If we are not honest with each other, we are going to repeat the same mistakes in the future.

But, how did this conference affect Sun and Co.?

One of the big trends we’ve noticed in the last few years is that coworking spaces are no longer based solely in urban areas. This was proved when a panel event on rural coworking spaces was completely packed out. Remote work is allowing us to work from anywhere and some people are choosing the quality of working in nature, at the beach or in little towns to fulfil their lives. Digital nomads, or location-independent professionals, are the ones choosing this type of life where they have the freedom to work from anywhere.

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Jon from Sun and Co. chatting with Steve Munroe from Hubud. PC: Eric Van de Broek.

As a reflection of this, coliving spaces have also started to pop up offering accommodation and working space to all these non-city-dwelling remote workers. And while this evolution is moving at a slower pace than coworking did ten years ago, it seems to be the future of living where work is involved.

We need to be part of communities more than ever. In a world where we all move more and more, we belong less and less. That’s why real communities, ones that have something meaningful to offer, are more and more relevant. Both coworking and coliving spaces can provide this feeling of belonging, so long as they are built around great values, more than merely providing infrastructure.

I might be getting lost, but isn’t this last point the main reason why coworking was created?

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Author Jon

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