In December 2021, VillageOffice Cooperative, the organisation to foster the development of coworking spaces in rural areas, decided to end their operations and liquidate. Different areas of VillageOffice’s activities have a clear successor: The consulting services for building coworking spaces was seamlessly handed over to CommunityOffice, run by former VillageOffice coaches. For a corporate offer to use a network of coworking spaces with a single contract and a unified booking system, former VillageOffice team members joined forces with Ubique, a leading app development company in Switzerland, to develop and market a new workspace app called Flesk, which is currently in the public beta phase.
However, one important aspect of VillageOffice has not been covered by these successors: The knowledge base and content developed by VillageOffice, as well as the VillageOffice brand. Because this knowledge had been supported by various foundations and other funding partners, this “core legacy” of VillageOffice should be handed over to a non-profit organisation with a similar mindset, that builds on the existing content and maintains it.
Since VillageOffice was founded in 2016, there was always a close relationship with Coworking Switzerland, both through the community-oriented mindset, the persons involved and various cooperations. After a thorough analysis and regular exchange with the VillageOffice liquidators, the Coworking Switzerland board concluded to follow the path of taking over and maintaining the VillageOffice legacy, as presented also at the General Assembly meeting in Neuchâtel in April 2022.
We will build on the existing “my VillageOffice” platform as a technological basis for a new intranet to serve our Coworking Switzerland members. Beside the existing documents made available to our members through our website, the knowledge base from VillageOffice will be updated and integrated into this new platform called “my Coworking Switzerland”. The new platform will also serve as content hub for our coworking space map, allowing our members to update the information on their coworking locations directly. In parallel to the new intranet, the structure of the Coworking Switzerland public website will be reviewed and adopted, to make the user experience smoother.
The handover of the VillageOffice platform has been kicked off already, and a beta version of “my Coworking Switzerland” with a first batch of updated content is scheduled to be available in autumn 2022. By the end of 2022, together with the final handover of the VillageOffice legacy, the platform will be officially launched.
Already adopted by our General Assembly and now available as membership option is the new “Starter Membership”, which includes access to our knowledge pool plus a full hour of coaching with a Coworking Switzerland board member. This offer is particularly useful for teams aiming to start a coworking space “on their own” but building on a foundation of Coworking Switzerland’s experience. A full support offer through all phases of starting a coworking space does not lie within the scope of Coworking Switzerland, but is the core competence of our partner Community Office.