More than 200 people will attend the first day-long 2012 Global Coworking Unconference Conference, dubbed “Juicy” next Thursday.
Coworking center owners and others from all over will gather at at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center to talk about innovations in the industry.
“We have people coming from Australia, France, England, Belgium, Spain, Germany and Canada,” said Liz Elam, owner of Link Coworking, and the event’s organizer.
The event sprung from the half-day 2011 Coworking Unconference, produced by Loosecubes, but this year’s event is all day and includes a more structured conference track, which will run simultaneously with the collaborative, self-directed Unconference track.
More than 1,100 co-working spaces exist worldwide and that number has doubled since 2006. Coworking allows people to work remotely and independently in a shared workspace. This is a huge shift in the way people work, Elam said.
Coworking is increasing as companies look to save money by having workers telecommute, Elam said.
“Yet only a very small part of the population has the discipline to work from home,” she said.
As coworking centers evolve, some are specializing in a particular area like Center 61 in Austin, which caters to nonprofit organizations.
“Basically, there are lots of places and choices for people,” Elam said.
The average coworking center has 32 members, Elam said. Link Coworking has 45 members, spanning a variety of occupations.
“They collaborate. They build businesses. They lift each other up. This becomes your tribe,” Elam said. “This becomes where you want to be.”
Successful coworking spaces provide people with a great space, Internet access, meeting rooms, free coffee and snacks, Elam said.
Link Coworking serves an African dark roast coffee from Austin-based Texas Coffee Traders. The members actually had a coffee tasting and picked out that roast as their favorite, Elam said.
The day after the unconference, DeskMag, the magazine about coworking, has organized a coworking treasure hunt concluding with a party at Conjunctured Coworking Friday night.
Registration is still open for the conference. On-site registration is also available but it’s more expensive.
“It’s going to be a really exciting, innovative conference,” Elam said.
The coworking conference is also running a video contest for coworkers to show off their space. The deadline to enter is today. The winner receives $1,000.