How we can show that Free Coworking really works: The „Free Coworking Challenge“

Veröffentlicht am 15. Januar 2015 von admin in Kategorie: CoWorking News International, Free Coworking Directory, Praxisberichte, Beispiele, Best-Practice | Trackback URL | Zur Diskussion

Since first publishing about free coworking in January 2012, I noticed again and again, that there is an important element missing. This element is necessary to prove that free coworking is a truly sustainable mode of operation for coworking spaces. I believe that I have found this element now! The missing element that I have identified is a working „feedback loop„.

Free Coworking Feedback Loop

To show that free coworking produces social capital that in turn attracts financial capital, is an equation that, I believe, only works when there is a feedback loop that feeds the financial capital produced back into free coworking which in turn produces social capital, and so on.

For coworking spaces, that offer free coworking, this financial capital is money paid or generated by projects that are taking place in the space. (It can also be sponsorship, subsidies, venture capital etc. see article.) The „feedback loop“ in this case, is money paid by projects for use  of the space (instead of money paid by individual coworkers) directly to the coworking space.

The big difference to „ordinary“ coworking  (where the coworker pays him/herself for the use of the space) is:
„In free coworking a focus is put on profit and turnover rather than cost. Particularly by focussing on turnover (or better high turnover) the cost for the space automatically goes down.“

More coworkers produce more social capital, but also more financial turnover, which in turn, in line with „economies of scale“, will also decrease cost.

This is where the „Free Coworking Challenge“ comes into play. In free coworking we focus on social capital, being aware, that social capital is connected and attracts financial capital. So we need to make „Free Coworking“ more visible and by making it more visible we can establish the feedback loop mentioned above, for everybody to see!



Last summer offered a great example how this can work in practice: „The Ice Bucket Challenge„. The simple rule:
You take part in the challenge (i.e. focus on social capital) or you pay, i.e. give a donation. This worked really well, and some people even did both, take the challenge and give a donation.

„The Free Coworking Challenge“ shall run on similar rules and concepts. Instead of using an ice bucket, you take the challenge to work in a coworking space one day for free (i.e. you do not have to pay because you can convince the coworking space manager, to let you use the space for free that day). To document the successful challenge you take a picture or selfie, with yourself, the coworking space manager and the logo of Free Coworking in your hand. (If you want, you can of course also shoot a small video of the challenge and post on Facebook). To nominate it seems best, to post the names of the 2 nominees in a text right below the picture.

The challenge can be taken or initiated by both people, the coworker or the coworking space manager. Coworkers (similar to the ice bucket challenge) will nominate 2 other (ideally new) coworkers to take the challenge to work in a coworking space of their (the nominees) choice (where they have not worked before) for free. They have 8 days in which to complete the challenge. If the nominees forfeit they can give a donation to free coworking.

The same applies for coworking space managers. They can initiate the challenge by nominating two other coworking space managers. These in turn have to offer a day of free coworking to a new coworker. If they cannot complete the challenge within 8 days, they can give a donation to free coworking.

Once a new challenge takes place and the picture is taken, the coworker or the coworking space manager can decide who wants to nominate 2 new people. If they find it difficult to decide, they either both nominate 2 new people or throw a coin.

(I will collect the donations on the account of CoWorking News to finance the free coworking campaign.


If more money is collected than the campaign needs, the excess shall be distributed to all the spaces that took part in a fair way, i.e. spaces that successfully took part in more challenges  shall receive more money than spaces that took part in less. I will report on CoWorking News on the donations as they come in and also on the way the money is used and distributed, so that the whole cash flow is transparent.)

Rather than focus on the money that is coming in, which of course is also important for the campaign, the focus shall be on the pictures that are taken in the challenge. I hope that we will see the first pictures in the Free Coworking Facebook Group which currently has 508 members. Another space which is great for this is Daily Free Coworking News, and particularly the photo page of it.

Free Cowo Challenge


Make it fun, use your creativity and spread free coworking by taking part in the „Free Coworking Challenge“. To spread the campaign please use the hashtag #FreeCoworkingChallenge .

For more information on free coworking, please refer to our resource page.

I am also looking forward to let the Free Coworking Map grow that way (currently 512 entries).

You can support the campaign a great deal by entering the spaces yourself in the Free Coworking Directory (which is the basis for the Free Coworking Map). Please enter the spaces that are new to free coworking and take part in this „Free Coworking Challenge“.  On the  Input Form please make sure to tick the Free Coworking Type: „Free Coworking Challenge“ (last entry in the list). Thx!








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  1. […] guess Jane Deany did not know about the “Free Coworking Challenge“, when she posted this yesterday. I love it, she did something very similar!!! Great!!! Go […]

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