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Coworking in homes – mitigating the tensions of the freelance economy

journal contribution
posted on 08.02.2022, 14:08 by Darja Reuschke, Nick CliftonNick Clifton, Michael Fisher
Coworking has increased in popularity in the digital knowledge economy with the rise of independent professional workers who often work from home and lack the social relations that provide feedback, referrals or social support. Rather than studying coworking as a new spatial, social and economic way of working in designated coworking spaces, this study explores coworking in residential homes – the earliest self-organised form of coworking that has received little attention although dedicated home-based coworking networks have developed since. Based on intensive fieldwork material from coworking groups of freelancers across Europe who meet in each other’s homes, we explore why people meet to cowork in homes – when at the same time coworking is driven by the social isolation of working alone in the ‘home office’ as emphasised in previous research on coworking spaces. Our findings highlight the need of freelance workers to learn how to be productive and maintain productivity. The shared experience of homeworking and awareness of the challenges of personalised professional work create cognitive proximity in home-based coworking. Coworkers commit to the production of an affective atmosphere which is facilitated by digital platforms, the role of hosts and the home environment. We discuss the implications of our findings for understanding coworking more generally.

Funding

This study was funded by the European Research Council, the Starting Grant WORKANDHOME (ERC- 2014-STG 639403)

History

Published in

Geoforum

Publisher

Elsevier

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Citation

Reuschke, D., Clifton, N. and Fisher, M. (2021) 'Coworking in homes–mitigating the tensions of the freelance economy', Geoforum, 119, pp.122-132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2021.01.005

Print ISSN

0016-7185

Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Management

Cardiff Met Authors

Nick Clifton

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Welsh Centre for Business and Management Research

Copyright Holder

© The Publisher

Language

en