Swedish Network Hoffice Turns Your Home Office Into a Coworking Space
Hoffice connects you to fellow freelancers’ home offices, for free
The problem that freelancers face is well-known at this point: working from home is technically more efficient because you can avoid the trouble of a commute, but the lack of social interaction and variety does a number to your long-term productivity. There are plenty of proposed solutions to this problem, which is great, but they all cost money. Want to join a coworking space or rent a temporary office so that you’ll have access to social events and free coffee? No problem—if you can afford it.
Instead of looking for a space to work with others, why not turn your own home office into that space?
In Sweden, a community called Hoffice challenged the shared office model by providing a platform for work-from-home freelancers to invite people over and work together. The service taps into a social need much deeper than the Airbnb-style approach of renting out your own house. Hoffice work groups try to work as a real community, and they’re encouraged to take breaks together—sometimes every 45 minutes, just to make sure everyone’s focus is still sharp. Members of these communities can share their goals and plans for the day, and the breaks can help them de-stress.
The company started as a simple project hatched by a pair of freelancers. Christofer Franzen and Johline Zandra invited some fellow freelancers to their home, set up some ground rules, and gave it a shot. That was it; no intent for scalability or growth. Hoffice was more of a peer community than a startup in the first place, yet it has since grown like a startup bent on disrupting the whole market.
Currently, Hoffice locations are concentrated around their home town of Stockholm, but they can be found across the globe, including several in the US. You can see on this map that the concept has taken the world by storm.
Despite this growth, the founders are intent on keeping the platform free to use. Hosts may ask for donations, but the Hoffice website states that the ability to share your home office is a gift, not a product. There’s no better way to prove that Hoffice is committed to its ideals of community than to continue to provide the service free of charge.
In the “gift economy,” profit is more abstract. Hosts might not make a quick buck off of Hoffice like their could on Airbnb or a similar competitor, but the ability to work alongside multitalented people could provide long-term benefits for your personal network. If nothing else, having people to chat with throughout the day will make work feel less like a chore, and you’ll be more productive for it.