Oswald, Kolja, & Xiaokang Zhao (2020). What Is a sustainable coworking space? Sustainability, 12, art. 10547. (doi: 10.3390/su122410547)

Abstract: Coworking is a trend that is becoming increasingly popular and is often associated with sustainability. However, a lack of consensus exists on what a sustainable coworking space is. This study addresses this by investigating what is currently understood by a sustainable coworking space. Q-methodology is used to analyze 27 participants’ subjective ideas about what a sustainable coworking space is, resulting in four distinct perspectives. The four perspectives are identified as follows: 1. “New Work”, 2. “Resourceful Society”, 3. “Incubator”, and 4. “Environmental”. These perspectives have distinct opinions on what important sustainability aspects in the context of coworking spaces are. Whilst some prioritize environmental and community factors, others have a mixed focus. Additionally, the four perspectives share some common beliefs. All of them believe in the importance of sustainable mobility, as well as in the moderate importance of encouraging their members to be socially responsible. These findings offer insight into the different understandings of coworking space sustainability. This is important because currently this field is under-researched, and a more systematic approach to sustainability in this field is needed. This research lays the foundation to do so and helps work toward a better understanding of coworking in a sustainability and innovative context.

Kolja Oswald <415039@mail.dhu.edu.cn> and Xiaokang Zhao <zxk@dhu.edu.cn> are in the Glorious Sun School of Business and Management, Donghua University, Shanghai, China.

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