Just before the pandemic, a research project was initiated in Tullinge in which residents were offered a place at a local work hub as an alternative to commuting to work. The hub is now seeing something of a reopening in a project aimed at increasing shared use and resource efficiency.
From 2019 to January 2022, a work hub was run in Tullinge in Botkyrka municipality. At the centre, Tullinge residents could apply for fully equipped office space close to where they lived as an alternative to commuting to work in offices. When the pandemic hit, the centre did not quite turn out as intended.
Open to more users
Now the work hub is entering a new phase with the help of social entrepreneurial company Vakansa, led by city planner and sustainability specialist Robin Rushdi Al-sálehi. The company currently operates three similar hubs in the region and is set to open a fourth.
“Our goal is to facilitate greater shared use, particularly of office space, which currently has utilisation rates as low as about 10 per cent. By creating communities around these hubs, more people are able to gain access to spaces that would otherwise be empty,” says Rushdi Al-sálehi.
The idea is to open premises for meetings, events and training for local organisations and associations. Instead of darkened windows when premises are empty, residents and visitors can enjoy a more vibrant local environment. At the same time, Vakansa also wants to offer more employers a cheaper and more ergonomic workplace alternative for its employees than working from home.
Sharing for a sustainable society
In 2020, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, (IVA), published a report that argued that sharing premises and existing office space is necessary in a more sustainable society. Rushdi Al-sálehi authored the report, which was also the subject of a DN Debatt editorial.
“Today, our cities are very inefficiently utilised. We have fantastic opportunities to create more sustainable and resource-efficient cities through a more sharing economy. So, we develop a digital platform where companies and organisations can open their premises to others when they are empty,” says Rushdi Al-sálehi.
The Vakansas platform is currently under development and will initially have sites in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Uppsala, and in time the hope is to open sites throughout Sweden.
“We want to move beyond the concept of Co-working and instead talk about Co-use which opens up premises for much broader uses. We want to contribute to better utilisation rates and types of use with scope for everything from training and seminars to events and meetings such as annual general meetings for tenant-owner associations.”
There is much to be gained if the concept of sharing premises can be developed into a societal norm, he says.
“Property owners are also interested in increasing space utilisation. In the long run, this is about taking advantage of our existing resources in more sustainable and economical ways.”
More about Vakansa.
More on how the work hub in Tullinge started.