(co)work from home?
Jelly was a concept which gained some popularity, mostly in the US, back in the early-2000s — a community based coworking scheme where people would open their doors to others, to combat isolation. The simple idea that you would share your kitchen table with others who also wanted to work from home (just not their own).
It was a useful alternative to coffee shops, but also supported groups who wanted to meet in public places too — so you could ‘work together’, rather than sitting alone in busy places.
Some ideas are ahead of their time, perhaps, and fast-forward to July 2022, and startup Jarvo has just raised nearly £0.5m in funding to launch their platform which opens up people’s private homes as coworking spaces, and make some income from it too.
This rethinking of where people work from, and how people work together is what we need more of. Less “travel to a common space”, and more “make connections easier”. A shift away from urban centres, and a shift towards more local and distributed hubs, often adhoc and transient.
This isn’t just the freelancers either. Imagine being able to find colleagues who live locally and coworking, rather than having to meet in the office? Imagine making local connections with new collaborators?
And the opportunity to make new connections and friendships — when adults find it increasingly hard to make new friends in the modern age, and the workplace being removed as one of the places to make new friends, perhaps new forms of coworking plays an increasingly important role in tackling isolation and community.
We’re already seeing the rise of ‘work near home’ coworking, whether it be platforms which utilise remnant spaces like Othership, community-centric/on-the-high-street coworking like Arc and Patch, and an increase in third-space coworking, built into residential developments, especially around coliving concepts. We haven’t seen any platforms which aim to do similar in existing workspaces though — which seems like a missed opportunity, curating who is in dedicated workspaces, to build ‘reasons to go in’ — as we concepted last year.
There are likely some security (I believe Jarvo requires authentication of identity, for instance) and societal challenges to navigate here — not everyone will feel comfortable inviting a stranger into their home.
“Working from home” and “Working from Office” never have been the only two binary options — indeed, we covered a range of “not working from home” options in a recent article, but without doubt, we’ll only continue to see these new forms of infrastructure around workplaces, spaces and patterns evolve over the coming years, and I for one, am excited to see what comes next.
Matthew Knight is a strategist with a focus on modern independent work.