12 Collaborative Services for Success at Work

Top photo credit: Yusuke Kawasaki.

The collaborative economy empowers ordinary people to share their unused resources, such as time and goods, often in a peer-to-peer commerce model. We tend to think of this model impacting us as individuals, as illustrated in the popular Honeycomb graphic. However, shared services (many of which I use) aren't limited to personal use. The collaborative economy model is expanding to include these strategies and technologies at the B2B level. See my quick guide on how companies are integrating them into their own strategies.

This successful expansion of applications begs the question, “Can the sharing model work for individual professionals?” Not only will it work, it already does work. Now that these services are available for personal use, we're also seeing them expand into the business world. These services help professionals outsource tasks in their work life so they can focus on their core responsibilities and competencies.

Here's a list of collaborative economy services targeting business professionals. As you’ll see, this market isn't just about ride sharing and home sharing. If you know of other similar services, please share them as comments below.


Fon hotspots in Paris, France. Photo credit: NRKBeta.

  1. AirPR: On-demand PR professionals in two-sided marketplaces of providers and communication buyers, AirPR tracks actionable insights into what is, or is not, driving engagement.
  2. CloudPeeps: On-demand community managers, ready to help your company scale up for launches or during seasonal periods. CloudPeeps provides the services of experienced professionals to assist with everything from startups and small businesses to mature enterprises on an as-needed basis at a fraction of the cost of a full-time manager.
  3. PeerSpace: Does your team need a creative or inspirational workspace? PeerSpace offers both sides of the unused space sector, bringing together those who need workspace with those who have unused space. There’s even an app for that.
  4. Zirtual is a virtual executive assistant service that matches busy people with dedicated personal assistants to manage details so that you don’t have to.
  5. Trunk Club: Are you a busy, male executive who wants to present yourself as stylish and professional? Personal stylists are available to help you look your best. Trunk Club sets up a profile for you, then saves you time by sending you a new “trunk” of clothes selected especially for you on a regularly scheduled basis. Keep and pay for what you like. Return the rest. It’s shopping at its best.
  6. Refashion your clothes. Female executives have access to a million dollar wardrobe, yet keep expenses low and closets manageable. See Threadflip, Bag Borrow or Steal and Rent the Runway.
  7. CrowdSPRING and 99designs can help create your new website, microsite, logo, or PowerPoint presentations and make them look amazing using crowd-sourced experts.
  8. Upwork (formally oDesk), the world’s largest online collaborative workspace, and Elance, providing access to more than two million skilled, independent contractors, bring together savvy professionals and professional freelancers, offering a large market of workers that can help you with copy editing, online research, translating, digital production, programming, administrative work and much more. 
  9. Breather. Need a place to work? Executives will like Breather, an online repository of beautiful, private places to work, meet, or relax in several big cities. This is a step up from the more pervasive Regus (over 2,000 locations worldwide) or a loud coffee shop.
  10. Sprig delivers inexpensive hot meals on demand to you or your employees, or you and your boss, or you and your family, within a few minutes in the San Francisco area. This is not fast food. These are hand-crafted meals created by former Google executive chef Nate Keller. And, yes, there is an app for this service, too.
  11. Fon offers free, shared Wi-Fi in over three million locations.
  12. Shapeways: Get custom-made, 3D printed, products, or gifts for your customers and colleagues including jewelry, miniatures, desk accessories, and art.

The collaborative economy is exploding, reaching into all areas of life and work. These services enable any professional to have access to a broad marketplace of talent without having to hire them on a full-time basis. On the flip side, it enables the providers to set their own schedule, work on projects they want, and have more control over their work life balance. Even the invention of sliced bread was not as good as this.

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