Coworking spaces offer collaboration and community in furnished and equipped workspaces on a rental base. But what if most of these workspaces lost their initial purpose?
There are hundreds of workspace applications – showing me space availability, trying to persuade me with the best “value proposition”. What if you and I (people who often work from home post-pandemic) look for a connection instead of the perfect “work” environment/equipment?
Recently I started exploring new trends and alternatives around the concept of coworking –
Eliot Boutantin, Co-Founder of TableCorner was one of the first people who caught my genuine interest.
For half a year, he had worked already with “Deeskover” on the idea of making coworking more accessible when he finally decided to join forces with “Table Corner”.
Eliot, what does “TableCorner” stand for?
It means “Coin de table”, a French expression to say quickly and simply done. We wanted to say that it doesn’t have to be hard/painful to meet and cowork with people. To create a coworking space, you don’t need the most outstanding design, an overpriced desk, or a rooftop swimming pool. We’re convinced that anyone ready to share just a “Coin de Table” is enough to create a small cocoon where coworkers are happy to spend the day.
Coworking at home is, in general, not a new idea. Why now?
True. But now, years have passed, and people’s minds have changed. Covid has been a natural accelerator. Because it revealed to a lot of people how hard it is to work alone in a small room with no one to talk to for several months… More simply, everyone turns into an isolated freelancer for a moment. Here we are, the “day after tomorrow”. People are aware of this loneliness issue. But coworking spaces have never been so expensive. So TableCorner is a perfect solution to recreate natural and strong social bonds.
Is it difficult to start “Table Corner” as a business – what were your biggest challenges so far?
Until today, it is still a challenge. Because we are at the beginning of a massive “future of work” wave. Things are moving fast. And we just started to collect meaningful data. But a thing for sure that is challenging is how you “sell” coworking at home without breaking the most valuable thing in a meet-up: spontaneity. I believe you can’t put a coworker and a host in a situation where they become a customer and a seller, respectively. That’s weird. So that’s why we’re trying to make people buy something else than “just a day in Bob’s house”. We want them to access a community fully. With real advantages, events and relevant services.
Would you compare or compete with other coworking spaces?
No! We see coworking spaces as part of a complementary solution for workers. We are sure that shortly, people will have a patchwork of working places – the future of patchwork sounds good. One can choose to spend Monday in a coworking space, go to its workplace from Tuesday to Thursday, and be a host for coworking at home on Friday. There are infinite ways to build the work week that fit your expectations. We must partner with coworking spaces to create a complete and clever solution that adapts any of these.
Who is your target audience?
TableCorner is open to anyone who wants to meet new coworkers in a simple and fun way. Today our platform is particularly matching freelancers’ needs. Because they are still more flexible in choosing whenever they want to go on coworking. And there are no intermediaries when they book a session. This is a little bit more complicated when you are an employee who needs the agreement of its hierarchy to create a budget line for that and manage the costs.
Where do you see the benefits compared to “regular coworking spaces”?
It’s tough to meet new coworkers since some regular coworking spaces have become big open spaces where everyone is silent, wearing headsets, making you feel more alone than solo remoting at home. That’s why coworking at home is perfect when you want to do real networking and have authentic meetings in a reassuring cocoon.
How important do you think a community is for your business, and where can we find it?
The community is key!
Because the whole concept around TableCorner is to bring people together. We are building a community based on trust and a solid will to change the future of work. Our members are primarily from existing freelancer collectives, and we give them a new way to work together. There are many channels to reach them, but two are stronger: Social media and specifically in groups that already talk about the future of work or coworking. word of mouth is the best because it relies on the fact that our service is good enough to be shared without us interfering.
What is your vision for the future?
We are convinced of two things:
First, people will work more remotely and in coworking spaces in a few years because that is what people want. Since the pandemic, companies have had no choice but to offer jobs with “clever” remote conditions – not just predetermined 1 or 2 days a week. If they don’t, they face a severe talent shortage and will naturally deperish.
The second is a more long-term view. The tertiary sector is about to change drastically. Climate change, wellness, equality… There are many challenges to face in the century to come. And the way we work and earn a living in the tertiary service will change as a consequence as well because it is unsuitable. We will work less but more efficiently and responsibly. We will be able to hold 2 or 3 jobs simultaneously. And still spend more time in social, environmental or sportive activities.
All this will emphasize the need for coworking spaces of a new sort –
Local, cozy and cheaper. TableCorner and other coworking approaches like workation, for example, will be part of this system.
Great, I’ll share your vision 100%. How could people support you?
We would be glad to welcome new members as hosts or coworkers. To help coworking at home grow, you can spread the word and follow our LinkedIn page. So you can be part of the adventure and share it with the coworkers you want to have a TableCorner with!