FREE coworking around the world for Locus members and other independent workers in Prague

One of the cool things about coworking is that a lot of people who decide to get involved in it really care about the idea and the value it has to offer, and not just about the business as a business. Sam Spurlin‘s several recent posts on this blog attest to this. Another sign of it comes from the grass roots cooperation across thousands of coworking spaces around the world that have contributed to The particular example I want to write about now are four options for free office sharing options across coworking spaces around the world: (1) the Coworking Visa, (2) The Prague Coworking Visa, (3) Loosecubes, and (4) Jelly. 

1. The Coworking Visa.

The coworking visa is one of the greatest largely-unknown sources of added value to participating coworking spaces, and also one of the most impressive examples of value-added cooperation across competing businesses I know of in any industry. If you’re a member of Locus or of another coworking space that participates in the visa program, you may know about it already. This is an informal group of about 500 coworking spaces around the world that have agreed to let members of other “Visa”-participant coworking spaces use their space for free (usually for up to 3 days, but the terms depend on the space; Locus is free for up to a month, but limited by the terms of the other coworking space). Here’s a link for details with the list of participating spaces and their terms, organized geographically. 

The coworking visa was the fortunate brain-child of two of the women leaders of the coworking movement, Julie Duryea of Souk in Portland, Oregon (now run by someone else and maybe under a different name) and Susan Evans of Office Nomads in Seattle, Washington. They proposed it on a google group to a network of people running coworking spaces around the world, and it was almost immediately successful.

2. The Prague Coworking Visa.
A group of coworking spaces in Prague (including Locus) were inspired by this visa program to create a Prague version of the visa that allows members of each space to use the other spaces for up to 25% of their membership time. See details here.

3. Loosecubes
Loosecubes is a corporate alternative to the Coworking Visa and it remains to be seen whether their intentions are pure and how well the system will work, but as it stands it looks very promising. It is an invite-only workspace-sharing network of about a thousand coworking spaces and other shared offices around the world. Right now (and from what they’ve told me, this is their permanent business model), their system is absolutely free for members of the network (including Locus Workspace members). This means you can use any of the other spaces on the Loosecubes network for free, though each space has its terms in terms of number of free days. So if you’re traveling abroad and want to cowork in most major cities around the world (though biased towards Western Europe and North America), you’ll have a coworking space to work at for free. Loosecubes also provides a software backend and a user-interface that make it easy to use and (it seems at least) perhaps more reliable than the Coworking Visa. 
4. Jelly
Jelly is informal coworking that started around the same time as the coworking movement itself with a group of freelancers in New York City who decided they’d rather work alongside other people than alone in their home office or at a cafe. They starting meeting as a group at each other’s homes or cafes, they created a wiki, and Jelly grew into a movement, with groups meeting to work together rather than alone around the world. Here’s a sample list of Jellies around the world on
The group of collaborating coworking spaces in Prague mentioned earlier hosts a rotating series of jellies across their three spaces, which means people who don’t work in a coworking space (and may not want to) can experience some of the benefits of coworking for free every two weeks, and get to know a few of the coworking spaces in the city in the process.
To me the added value that comes from sharing membership across coworking spaces (and with the public)–not just for independent workers and coworking space members, but also for the coworking spaces themselves–is immense. For the members, of course, it means they can literally work their way around the world (as long as they stick to major cities), for the price of the coworking space membership they already have at their home city. For coworking space owners, it means a wonderful influx of interesting visitors who add spice to the host spaces and use resources that were mostly available and going unused anyway!

The Potential Energy in Coworking

When I look at a coworking space I see potential energy. Remember that concept from middle school science class? Kinetic energy is what you have when things are in motion. However, potential energy is invisible. It’s just sitting inside an object waiting to be released into kinetic energy. A tennis ball sitting on a table has potential energy, a tennis ball bouncing around a room has kinetic energy.
Don’t get me wrong, there is certainly a lot of kinetic energy in a coworking space. The conversations, the typing, the laughing and all the work that happens day-in-and-day-out. Some days are quieter than others, the kinetic energy is a little bit lower, while other days it seems like the space isn’t enough to hold all the action happening inside its walls.
Kinetic energy is great, but it’s not what gets me excited about coworking. I’m interested in all the potential energy that is just waiting to be released. What does potential energy look like in a coworking space?
  1. The serendipitous connections just waiting to be made: You’re struggling with a coding problem that has you absolutely stumped. You haven’t met the guy next to you, yet, but little do you know he just responded to a question on Quora that precisely relates to what’s driving you crazy. Or, as you hold the door open for someone as you enter the space you realize she’s wearing the t-shirt of the start-up your buddy just started and they’re looking for a consultant. The opportunities are nearly endless for all of these connections to happen in a coworking space.
  2. The member-led workshop that changes your business: You decide to sit in on a workshop that your coworking buddy is giving. Not because you’re super interested in the topic, but more of a show of support. Little do you know he ends up saying something that solves a very specific, yet annoying problem, in your own business and/or life. Boom, potential energy turns into kinetic.
  3. The beer with a coworker that solidifies a business deal: You head to happy hour with a friend you made at your local coworking space. You’ve built up a friendship over the past couple of months, have bounced ideas around with each other, and have landed on something you’re both excited to pursue. What was once a small nibble of an idea in the back of your head has become an actual project.


You get the idea. A coworking space is as ripe a place as any you’ll find to change potential energy into kinetic. What does it take, though? A tennis ball won’t fall of the table by itself. It needs something; it needs a nudge.

Have You Answered The Nudge?

Your coworking space owner or manager may be the one who lands that successful nudge. I’m sure they’re emailing you with announcements and opportunities all the time. Have you tuned them out or do you still read every email? Have you considered going to the after-hours get together or the lunch-hour brainstorm session — just to see what it’s like?
Maybe the nudge takes the form of one your coworkers convincing you to go to a workshop with them. Or maybe you convince someone to go with you. Maybe you can nudge yourself with the thought that with nothing ventured, nothing gained. The nice thing about stepping out of your comfort zone once (and potential energy IS comfortable, there’s no doubt about it) is that it ends up taking much less effort the next time you want to do it. One small success acts as a catalyst for the next time you want to change some potential energy into kinetic. It’s cumulative and exponential and you can act as the nudge to get the newest member involved in the process.
Potential energy has never changed the world. It’s only when we release that potential that we begin making connections, making changes, and seeing positive change in ourselves, our spaces, and if I may be so bold, the world.
Sam Spurlin is an American graduate student studying the intersection between developmental and organizational psychology. He writes and coaches at and is spending the summer in Prague working in Locus Workspace. He’ll be sharing his thoughts and observations about coworking here for the next couple of months. You can follow him on Twitter (@samspurlin) or send him an email (samspurlin AT gmail DOT com).