You are currently viewing Why People Thrive in Co-Working Spaces? – Detailed Analysis

Why People Thrive in Co-Working Spaces? – Detailed Analysis

“What makes co-working spaces – defined as membership-based work spaces where diverse groups of freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals work together in a shared, communal setting – so effective? And are there lessons for more traditional offices?”

“We interviewed several co-working space founders and community managers, and surveyed several hundred workers from dozens of co-working spaces and analysis following our survey revealed three substantial predictors of thriving.”

(Why People Thrive in Co-Working Spaces – Gretchen Spreitzer, Peter Bacevice and Lyndon Garrett)

(Image property of CityDesk, Miami)

I read an online article about why people thrive in Co-Working Spaces and it had some very interesting facts. This was important for the co-working business side of my business and hospitality hub that I am currently designing. There seems to be three main reasons why people seem to thrive working within Co-Working Spaces and these reasons are outlined and described below:

People who use Co-Working Spaces see their Work as Meaningful

Aside from the type of work they’re doing – freelancers that are choosing projects they care about, for example — the people that were surveyed reported finding meaning in the fact that they could bring their whole selves to work. They are able to do this in a variety of ways.

Firstly, unlike a traditional office, co-working spaces consist of members who are either freelance or work for a range of different companies, ventures, and projects. Because within the co-working environment, there is little direct competition or internal politics, they do not feel that they have to put on a work persona to fit in with the community. Working among people who do different types of work can also make one’s own work identity stronger. The respondents to the survey were given an opportunity to frequently describe what they do for work, which can make what they do seem more interesting and distinctive from each other.

Secondly, meaning may also develop from working in a culture where it is the norm to help each other out or assist each other, and there are many opportunities to do this; the variety of workers in the space means that coworkers have unique skill sets that they can provide to other community members if they so wish.

“Lastly, meaning may also be derived from a more concrete source: The social mission inherent in the Coworking Manifesto, an online document signed by members of more than 1,700 working spaces. It clearly articulates the values that the coworking movement aspires to, including community, collaboration, learning, and sustainability. These values get reinforced at the annual Global Coworking UnConference. So in many cases, it’s not simply the case that a person is going to work; they’re also part of a social movement.”

(Why People Thrive in Co-Working Spaces – Gretchen Spreitzer, Peter Bacevice and Lyndon Garrett)

They have More Job Control

Co-working spaces are usually accessible 24/7. People can decide whether they would like to put in a long day when they have a deadline or want to show progress, or can decide to take a longer break in the middle of the day to go to the gym or use either local facilities or other facilities that may be within the building which is becoming increasingly popular. They can decide whether they want to work in a quiet space so they can focus, or in a more collaborative space with shared tables where interaction is encouraged. Therefore, the may wish to work in a more formal or informal space. They can even make a decision to work from home, without any repercussion.

And while coworkers value this autonomy, the survey mentioned earlier also learned that they equally value some form of structure in their professional lives which a co-working space can offer. Too much autonomy can actually prevent or decrease productivity because people lack a routine. Coworkers reported that having a community to work in assists them to create structures and discipline to motivate them. Thus, paradoxically, some limited form of structure enables an optimal degree of control for independent workers.

They feel part of a Community

Connections with others are a big reason why people are happy to pay to work within a communal space, as opposed to working from home for free or renting a nondescript office. Each co-working space has its own vibe, and the managers of each space go to great lengths to cultivate a unique experience that meets the requirements of their respective members.

Grind, for example, is a growing network of co-working spaces in New York and Chicago. Anthony Marinos, who oversees Grind’s marketing, community management, and member services, shared with us, “When it comes to cultivating our community at Grind, we’re all about the human element. We consider ourselves as much a hospitality company as we do a workspace provider. Our staff knows all of our members by name and profession, and we’re constantly facilitating introductions between Grindists.””

(Why People Thrive in Co-Working Spaces – Gretchen Spreitzer, Peter Bacevice and Lyndon Garrett)

WeWork, which recorded a valuation of $5 billion last December, emphasizes how it “seek[s] to create a place you join as an individual, ‘me’, but where you become part of a greater ‘we.’””

(Why People Thrive in Co-Working Spaces – Gretchen Spreitzer, Peter Bacevice and Lyndon Garrett)

Importantly, however, socialising is not compulsory or forced. Members can choose when and how to interact with other members. They are more likely to enjoy discussions over coffee in the café because they went to the café for that purpose anyway – and when they want to be left alone elsewhere in the building, they are able to be alone, so it is a choice. And while the survey research found that “some people interact with fellow coworkers much less than others, they still felt a strong sense of identity with the community. We believe this comes from coworkers knowing there is the potential for interactions when they desire or need them.”

(Why People Thrive in Co-Working Spaces – Gretchen Spreitzer, Peter Bacevice and Lyndon Garrett)


Potential Lessons for more Traditional Offices

“So what are the implications for traditional companies? Even though the co-working movement has its origins among freelancers, entrepreneurs, and the tech industry, it’s increasingly relevant for a broader range of people and organisations. In fact, co-working can become part of your company’s strategy, and it can help your people and your business thrive. An increasing number of companies are incorporating co-working into their business strategies in two ways.”

“Firstly, they’re being used as an alternative place for people to work. Michael Kenny, Managing Partner of San Diego-based Co-Merge, told us, “In the past year and a half, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the use of the space by enterprise employees. We have seen teams come in to use various on-demand meeting rooms. We have users from global companies of size ranging from several hundred to several thousand employees who use the space not only to allow their distributed workers to get productive work done, but also to attract employees who demand flexible workplace and work time.””

“Grind is also witnessing growth in the number of remote workers who are becoming members. “We haven’t had to reach out to larger organizations, they actually tend to just come to us,” Anthony Marinos says. “We’ve had employees from Visa, journalists from the Chicago Tribune, and even people affiliated with large financial institutions all work out of Grind.””

“Spending time away from the office at a coworking space can also spark new ideas. Rebecca Brian Pan, the founder of COVO and former chief operating officer of NextSpace, explained how Ricoh’s innovation team worked out of NextSpace Santa Cruz for several months to observe how people work and where they hit pain points. Based on member insight and feedback, and their own observations, the Ricoh team explored several new products that could help members in their daily work and chose the most highly rated product to pursue. From this effort, Ricoh later launched this product globally as their Smart Presenter, a paperless meeting solution.”

(Why People Thrive in Co-Working Spaces – Gretchen Spreitzer, Peter Bacevice and Lyndon Garrett)

Secondly, the lessons of co-working spaces can be applied to the more corporate offices. Just as it is important to encourage flexibility and support within your mobile workforce, there is an equally important reality of creating the right kind of work environment inside your own office walls. But this doe not simply mean creating open plan layouts or adding a coffee bar. There is much more to it than that.

In reality, people need to be able to craft their work in ways that give them purpose and meaning like described within co-working spaces. They should be given more control and flexibility within their work environment — “many companies are increasingly adopting the best planning practice of providing a 1:1 ratio (or close to it) of desk seats to seats in shared settings used for either collaborative work or quiet work.”

(Why People Thrive in Co-Working Spaces – Gretchen Spreitzer, Peter Bacevice and Lyndon Garrett)

“Companies are also trying to enable more connections, helping people to interact and build community beyond work meetings. Co-working spaces are one place to look for guidance, as they regularly offer networking events, training programs, and social events. Some companies are going even, further, however. Rich Sheridan and James Goebel, founders of Menlo Innovations in Ann Arbor, Michigan, recently expanded their office space by 7,000 square feet so that so that start-ups and early stage entrepreneurs can work alongside Menlo programmers to spur community and innovation. In a way, the company is reverse-engineering its office into a coworking space.”

“Our research — which is ongoing — suggests that the combination of a well-designed work environment and a well-curated work experience are part of the reason people who cowork demonstrate higher levels of thriving than their office-based counteraparts. But what matters the most for high levels of thriving is that people who cowork have substantial autonomy and can be themselves at work. Our advice to traditional companies who want to learn from coworking spaces is to give people the space and support to be their authentic best selves. The result will be employees who feel more committed to your organization, and are more likely to bring their best energy and ideas to the office each day. Even if it is corporate headquarters.”

(Why People Thrive in Co-Working Spaces – Gretchen Spreitzer, Peter Bacevice and Lyndon Garrett)

Please read the detailed article that elaborates a lot more:

More Information…

There are some very informative websites that discuss co-working and the benefits that come with the use of a co-working space. For more information, please follow the links below to these websites:

Leave a Reply