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Coworking: a collaborative workspace for social organizations

Traducción de Stefania Lapolla Cantoni

In the last few years, with the emergence of new paradigms related to work, shared workspaces, called coworkings, have become relevant. This new growing trend allows different organizations or individuals to develop their work activities in offices or individual workstations that can be hired for a determined period of time and based on their needs, although the main benefit of these places is the possibility of networking with other organizations.

A coworking space is a great alternative for those who want to meet with their work team and do not have a physical place. They are designed to promote collaborative work and exchange among those who use it. Given the post-pandemic context, they are even complemented by the hybrid modality of remote and in-office work.

Traditionally, we locate in these settings companies, SMEs or professionals that carry out different types of activities related to business. What if we added organizations with social purposes to them?

The so-called social coworking spaces are designed for civil society organizations (CSOs) so that they can share a place to work individually or jointly on their causes and to meet other organizations that can complement their missions. This initiative strengthens the capacities of each organization, broadens the collective development of projects and enables contact with other actors working for social transformation.

Many organizations find it difficult to raise funds and must allocate part of these funds to the maintenance of their own space. Social coworking emerges as an economic alternative, even more, when the increase in teleworking frees spaces that keep their maintenance cost and could be used in social causes or projects. A coworking space thus becomes a service designed for organizations in the third sector, which know what their organizational demands and their economic reality are. 

In the Almagro neighborhood (CABA, Argentina) the Navarro Viola Foundation created a social coworking place that is sustained by sharing the costs from the infrastructure and services among all those who use it. Compared to other coworking spaces, its rental price is lower because it does not have a commercial purpose. This is the added and differential value that attracts CSOs, a smaller investment to use a management space.

In addition, it has the participation of RACI Argentina as coordinator of the space. This possibility of bringing together diverse organizations in the same space promotes the exchange of capacities.

This setting is very useful for CSOs because by sharing space, opportunities arise to enrich themselves from the exchange of ideas between organizations, resulting in articulations of their causes, themes or technical capacities. This generates a feedback mechanism from networking, which strengthens civil society.

In the case of the Navarro Viola Foundation social coworking, a further advantage is that monthly activities are carried out that reinforce training and knowledge of other social realities. Through these activities, causes and projects can be disseminated, once again contributing to fostering collaboration. The meetings are convened on social networks and are a great opportunity to establish links and alliances of great value for organizations.

Retrieved from: Camila Diaz Gaggero. (2022). Coworking: un espacio de trabajo compartido para organizaciones sociales. Idealist.