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Loosecubes supports mobile workers of the future

Loosecubes office-sharing site aims to go beyond listing places freelancers and other mobile workers can set up shop to connecting them with people who have shared interests.

By Cat JohnsonShareable / June 22, 2012

Loosecubes helps mobile workers find cool places to work near home or when traveling.

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For the millions of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and travelers who desire a flexible work environment, coworking has become a way to maintain productivity, build community, and get out of the coffee shop.

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Thousands of spaces in cities around the world are inviting people in to share work space, wi-fi, and coffee. Spaces that were created as coworking spots are leading the way, but in the spirit of Airbnb, people in a variety of office situations are renting out desks, sofas, and studios to people seeking a place to work.

But with a growing number of spaces to choose from, how does one find the one that is right for them?

Enter Loosecubes. A “global office-sharing community,” Loosecubes helps people find spaces that suit the “vibe” they’re looking for and to fill spaces with people they think would be a good fit for them. Going beyond simply listing available co-working options in a given area, Loosecubes seeks to connect people with shared interests, encourage relationships, and to create a network for the thriving co-working community.

What follows is a Q&A with Loosecubes founder Campbell McKellar, in which she talks about her motivation to create Loosecubes, the growth of the mobile workforce, the benefits of workplace flexibility, and how co-working can propel us out of the recession.

Loosecubes grew out of your own need to find a place, or various places, that you could work out of. Can you talk a bit about your own inspiration and the importance of having workplace freedom?

The idea for Loosecubes was born one summer when I decided to cut a deal with my (then) employer and work remotely from Maine. Though I enjoyed our cabin escape and the ability to do my job hundreds of miles away from my company's office, I found that barking dogs, crying babies, and other perils of vacation homes didn't make for a sustainably productive work week. I dreamed of a nearby artist's studio where I could plug in just a day or two a week and be really productive. And if that was possible, why couldn't I tap into other such spaces pretty much anywhere in the world? A passionate traveler at heart, I decided that I wanted to make that vision a reality: to create opportunities for a fulfilling and mobile work life, whether that be in Brooklyn or Bhutan.

Co-working spaces are springing up all over and have become a vital part of the new economy. Through Loosecubes, people now have a way to connect with spaces in hundreds of cities around the world. What do you think is driving people toward a more mobile work life and where do you see this trend headed?

A fundamental shift in the way people work is occurring. Although a number of factors are contributing to this sea change, technology, women's role in the workforce, and the rise of the freelance and independent workforce are making significant impacts on the way we work. The Internet, smart phones, and cloud computing allow us to do work just about anywhere. At the same time, family dynamics are shifting as women become household breadwinners. Parents struggle to balance dual incomes with child-rearing duties, and opt for work-at-home arrangements and flexible work policies. Meanwhile, more people are opting to ditch careers at large companies in favor of gaining flexibility as a freelancer. The independent workforce is 42 million strong and continues to grow. With no corporate office to report to, mobile work is quickly becoming the norm — coffee shops, co-working spaces, and other third places serve as ad hoc workspace. I think we're only going to see these trends accelerate in the coming years.

Through Loosecubes, people can find not just co-working spaces but a variety of office or work situations. That seems to open up the possibilities, whether someone wants a small corner in a quiet office or to be in the middle of a large, buzzing co-working space. Was that your intention from the beginning?

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