Harnessing the benefits of coworking for office workers
Rising living costs in big cities motivate people to move to more rural regions. Jobs, on the other hand, have remained in metropolitan areas, while commuter traffic has increases and villages have been deserted. In order to attract people, rural regions must become a place of work - especially for people with regular office jobs. Under the leadership of inter 3, the RealWork project team is investigating and testing how municipalities can use coworking spaces to sustainably shape the provision of public services, using the Kiel region as an example. In addition to KielRegion, other project partners include the CoWorkLand cooperative and the Research Centre for Information Technology.
Which coworking locations are sustainable and frequently used?
The Kiel region and the CoWorkLand cooperative are taking on a pioneering role in Germany as drivers of rurally located coworking spaces. The rapid expansion of new coworking spaces, which began around 2018, should now be managed more decisively by the municipalities.
The concept of RealWork-Spaces draws on that of coworking spaces, which have now become firmly established as a new work form of work. These should be accessible to people in normal working conditions and placed in locations that are suitable for reducing commuter traffic. RealWork spaces should relieve employees of the financial, social and psychological costs of commuting without confronting them with the negative side effects of working from home.
In order to find out how to design and locate RealWork spaces, the project team combines company, commuter and household surveys as well as mobility data and location analyses with the implementation of a real-lab where employees temporarily work in a coworking space. Based on the collected data and regional sustainability goals, the project team will then develop municipal operation concepts for RealWork spaces. At the same time, these are to become a building block for the development of rural medium-sized centres.
Innovation concept links the RealWork concept and sustainability strategies
inter 3 is responsible for conducting surveys and modelling decision-making and preference orders among employers and employees. It also supports the Kiel region in developing an innovation concept that integrates the results into the regional planning of public services. The innovation concept consolidates the results of the analysis, the operational concept and the regional sustainability strategies. It describes in precise terms how RealWork spaces can be used as a design element in the provision of public services at the municipal level and defines the next steps for the Kiel region. At the same time, the innovation concept serves as a guideline for other interested municipalities, who shall become a part of the regional network during the project.
Finally, inter 3 will publish its scientific findings in a study titled "RealWork as a new work format for rural areas".