A group of us in Prague created a kind of complement to the Coworking Visa to halp account for things the visa doesn’t do well partly because of its greatest asset: it’s simplicity. I’d love it if spaces would add themselves to coworkingwithoutborders.com. I think the Coworking Visa is great in many ways–primarily for its simplicity and the number of spaces using it. My coworking space is a member of the Visa program and we have not considered leaving it. That said, there are a few side effects of the Visa’s virture of simplicity that makes it less than complete from my perspective:
(1) It feels awkward for me and for many of my members to actually use the Visa. I/they feel bad visiting a host space that we know has bills to pay and is providing us a service for free that their own members are paying for (even though they’ve agreed to it and we know we would be happy to host their members). I love it when people use the visa to visit our space, but when I’ve used it, I just felt awkward and at some point I decided I’d rather just support the space I’m visiting and pay for the days I use. In my experience, most of my members feel similarly.
(2) A lot of the spaces listed in the visa program are in fact “defectors.” They put themselves there so their members can use the visa program, but they don’t even offer the default three days. More often than not in my experience, the space managers don’t know what it is when they’re contacted or don’t honor it (I had this experience with now 5 of 6 spaces my members contacted, and that I sent follow up–polite!–emails to, not honoring the Visa). It’s nice for us to host visitors from other spaces even if the host space isn’t on the visa program. But it’s certainly not how the program is meant to work.
(3) The default time (3 days, which very few spaces go beyond and many spaces go below) is so short it’s generally not worth the trouble. If a member only has three days in a city, they’re usually not interested in trying a coworking space (unless they’re specifically into exploring the world of coworking).
Coworking Without Borders is not meant to be an alternative to the Coworking Visa (rather a complement). I don’t get anything out of spaces joining it other than being a space listed there, and so benefitting from there being more spaces in the network. It’s free (like the Coworking Visa, you just add your space to a list–by filling out a Google form–and select certain terms you’re agreeing to), there are no fees, there’s no intermediary, and there’s nothing keeping you on the list if for some reason you don’t end up liking it.
But to me and the other spaces in Prague that set it up, it provides great potential added value to our members (with whom we created it based on their ideas of what they would want) and solves almost all the issues listed above:"Instead of putting the burden on the hosting space, visitors must actually pay the hosting spaces. Since they pay directly to that space for the time they use, there’s no complexity with respect to currency exchange, escrow, or conflicting pricing models. The hosting spaces benefit and the visitors don’t have to feel like they’re taking something for nothing. Home spaces have the option to offer their members those used days to the length of their memberships free (what is being asked of the “host space” with the Visa program), which if chosen allows for a truly shared membership across spaces. Since it’s restricted to full-time members of a coworking space, it also provides an incentive for members on the fence to get full-time membership.
Anyway, I’d love to see broad sign up for this: I don’t see any cost to participating (other than the time taken to register your space). It adds value to your members and has the potential to bring in revenue from visiting members from other spaces. And it allows for a fully shared membership, even across spaces in the same city. Right now it has very little value, though, because there isn’t a network of spaces signed up.
On Tuesday, December 9, 2014 3:46:26 PM UTC+1, Jeannine wrote:
I would like to talk abotu this, becuse this wsa the original reason for the Coworking Visa of course. But the feedback I am getting is that the Visa is under-promoted and also that its usual terms are not really fitting with the needs of the coworkers.
I am very much in favor of developing the Coworking Visa, and would be pleased to support any kind of partnership efforts any members of Open Coworking want to propose, The reasonw e don’t just make it up and set it out there is simple: partnership programs are necessarily local and based on working traffic patterns (there is interest for instance in partnerships NL-Turkey and NL-Morrocco, not so much in NL-BE, because most people don’t need that last even though you would think they would)
So if you want support, or if you think this idea is worth workign on, send up a flare.
On Tuesday, December 9, 2014 9:27:57 AM UTC+1, Faraz Majidulla wrote:
I was wondering if any of the coworking centers around the world would like to enter a partnership scheme, this would be great for coworkers who travel a lot for business.
Our coworking is located in Astana, Kazakhstan and is over 6500 sq m in size. We have many different types of workstations, meeting rooms, conference halls, and a recreational center.
One of our most attractive services for out of town visitors is our concierge service, which will handle airline bookings, hotel bookings(at a discounted rate), and all local transport needs. This service would be available to any coworking center that is in partnership with us. We already have a partnership with five coworking centers in Russia and one in Kazakhstan, so joining us would help grow the network. If you would like some more information on our operations please contact me or visit our website: http://multispace.kz/en.html