How much can a hyphen make such a difference?
Coworking is usually the idea people allude to whilst using the word, and is the default form. Individual experts from all walks of life, clustered together and working in the same location, are what they’re talking about. Coworking space, coworking facilities, and coworking software are all terms that refer to professionals sharing space.
The correct spelling qualifies the definition of a coworking space: a place outside of the usual company work environment. It’s an obvious contrast from “co-working,” which harkens back to a more traditional workplace notion, as we’ll discuss later. Coworking represents today’s and tomorrow’s work patterns. The word refers to a bigger trend that allows you to work wherever, whenever, and with whoever you want.
Why coworking needs to be legitimized
Even today, co-working is still mainly recognized as the “right” way to spell the word. Despite the many coworking advancements that have happened in the past decades. With that in mind the “co-working” spelling is fairly outdated. It usually refers to co-working in the sense of working with other colleagues in close proximity.
The issue with this is that it gives off an unpleasant image of people from the same company working in a colourless, plain office, often crammed with tired workers. This is unfortunate as this stirs up daunting feelings. It not only makes work seem bleak but also directly ties it in with a desk or office.
However, if you’re reading this, you probably know the many ways coworking has evolved from austere to a pleasant and productive environment that people are able to count on and enjoy. Therefore revolutionizing the word by simply removing the hyphen is something that can help bring light to the coworking world and show people how big the difference is and how much better of an experience coworking has become.
Not only this but it also encourages credibility to a development that is changing the way the working world works.
The method we work on has changed, so the spelling has changed as well. When discussing the modern workplace, appropriately spelling coworking gives it legitimacy. It acknowledges that cubicles, wall clocks, and endless meetings are no longer part of the modern workplace. Dropping the hyphen has a lot of weight behind it.
Think again if you think this is an exaggerated reaction to a simple question of spelling. The precise spelling of coworking is the subject of a massive movement, supported mostly by coworking sector leaders. Many people expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of consistent spelling, which prompted an AP Stylebook modification in 2018.
The word caused a paradigm shift in the workplace. A movement’s meaning is determined by its recognition, which begins with the proper naming. Coworking, like proper nouns, should be capitalized and acronyms should be recognized by their precise and proper spelling.
Is it a feasible change?
Of course! Languages are constantly changing and evolving based on new things. Think about the English language 100 years ago. The people back then had no idea what any words related to technology or that were born out of technology even meant, such as the internet or a computer. Concepts like this were foreign, but with more and more development they eventually became part of daily life.
Just like this, the coworking movement can gain more traction by giving it its own word and a plethora of other terms.
So how can we change it? There are a few things we can do. Other than just contributing to and waiting until coworking practices become more popular on their own, you can also reach out to the Oxford English Dictionary page, and submit a new word request here. If enough people do it, the chances of it being added to the dictionary will be higher.
Another thing you could do is reach out to the Associated Press Stylebook and request for them to add “coworking” as one of their words.
Taking even just little steps like the above can help the coworking world tremendously in gaining more traction and credibility.
The coworking world has advanced to a very high standard, yet even today most official language style books and dictionaries don’t recognize the word “coworking”. For a long period of time co-working was the standard, yet space owners have turned around and revolutionized the way the word is used, and it should now be considered a real word with real meaning behind it.