As many know, I am currently coworking at the Copass Camp in Fuerteventura, and Stefano, co-founder of Copass, introduced us all to his favourite Italian ice cream shop here in Corralejo.
I’m big fan of ice cream and therefore it hasn’t take too much arm twisting to join Stefano on his daily pilgrimage to the mecca of gelato that is El Gusto.
Some others join us on the daily visit and yesterday, we were sat there with a group of us and chatting. We got talking about the idea of a coworking space in an ice cream shop, and I mentioned a Dutch coworking operation called Seats2Meet that had many different places, including a yoghurt shop, but not an ice cream parlour.
Naturally with coworking being the common connection via Copass, we carried on the discussion with Stefano telling a very amusing story when he was in Thailand at coworking space, and the local police turned up to arrest the owner.
They couldn’t understand how he was only showing two employees for his coworking business, while there many other people working there. The police thought that the rest were illegal workers and that the owner was trying to avoid paying taxes.
After a whole day of questioning, they finally grasped the concept that these people paid to work at the space, as individuals from their own companies and not as illegal slave workers for the coworking operator.
Obviously, this is an extreme situation, however, when you work in an industry and are surrounded by like minded people, then you make the mistake of thinking everyone is aware of what you do and understand it.
Last year I attended a government think tank to speak about coworking, and a representative of a freelancers group told us that in a survey of their members only 3% of them had used a coworking space.
With predictions that as many as 50% or more of the working population in the developed world will become freelance/self-employed within the next 5-7 years, the scope from growth of coworking is huge.
But for me the chats at the ice cream parlour with poeple with a shared common cause is what is all about. Small is the new big and niche communities where genuine connections can be made. This is less likely to happen in giant coworking ‘factories’.