Existing urban economic research assumes that workers commute to a single fixed workplace. Self-employment has changed this pattern substantially. Homeworking amongst the self-employed is diverse with only the minority actually working all the time in their home. A large proportion works at varying places alongside their home. Existing statistics do not capture sufficiently enough the changing workplace geographies that the growth in freelancing and self-employed work has brought about.
We bring new light into contemporary workplaces and working practices using different methods. We use geolocated tweets from freelancers who follow a creative industry freelancer network based in the UK to reveal the places where freelancers tweet from. We analyse the content of geolocated tweets using topic modelling which allows us to connect work-related and private tweets with certain places. Analysing work-related tweets spatially allows us to identify relatively precisely the workplaces of freelancers. Our methodology can be applied to work and employment research and understanding the contemporary changes of the geography of work.
We also identified coworking groups who are organised in social media networks and studied where they meet – including in their own homes – and their temporal and spatial patterns of work and the types of social interactions.