Coworking 4.0. Why the right coworking space is good for our humanity, our creativity and our well-being, as well as our business.
Coworking spaces can be divided into two types. One sits firmly within the services and facilities industry, the other remains true to the original concept of coworking and is entirely motivated by community, collaboration, partnership and support.
- Choosing the right space.
- The importance of community.
- Partnership and support.
Choosing the right space.
In a recent article on OfficeRND, entitled ‘The Coworking Evolution in Times of Crises’, author and organisational psychologist Miryana Stancheva, points out that she distinguishes between coworking spaces in a really simplistic way, by categorising them as either ‘real estate-driven’ or ‘community-driven’ spaces. Miryana goes on to say that the two types are businesses found for different reasons, having different values and setting different goals.
Coworking spaces offer the ideal solution for those of us wanting greater flexibility with our schedule, and more control over our work/life balance. But they are definitely not ‘one size fits all’.
So before you choose your space, think and consider very carefully, and keep that word ‘community’ very much front of mind. The physical space is one thing, but it is community that creates the magic, and a community-driven approach that adds the real value.
The importance of community.
What is so special about community? It means curating a space that people want to come into, one where they can come together, and one where they can support each other. It’s a must-have mindset for any good coworking space, and a necessary one for bringing people together and making meaningful connections.
Achieving this requires dedicated community management, and this is something else you should certainly check out before you choose your space.
In a piece on Coworking Insights, Matt Stewart describes his excellent experience when visiting a space where the community manager greeted him with a great big hello and warmly welcomed him in. She asked permission to ask a few questions, quickly getting to know what line of work he was in, and what he was looking for.
‘Next, she enthusiastically walked me around her coworking space, giving me a tour and introducing me to several people where we exchanged business cards and LinkedIn profiles.’Matt Stewart, Coworking Insights.
That is how it should be done, but the importance of community also goes far beyond the sharing of space and the exchanging of LinkedIn profiles, it’s hard-wired into our very psyche. We human beings are inherently social creatures and we need our connection with other people. If you are in any doubt, read on.
A recent article on Forbes entitled ‘Why The Office Simply Cannot Go Away – The Compelling Case For The Workplace’, outlines reasons why, even though working from home has been a real success for many, we still need a workplace where we can come together for the sake of our humanity, our creativity, our innovation and our thinking.
‘The office is critical to our humanity. We are social creatures and we crave connections with other people—even at socially-distanced lengths.’Forbes
Of course the balance of working from home and working in an office will be different for many of us, depending upon our personal approach and what it is that we do, but we all need some level of human connection. Communicating and interacting face-to-face contributes to far more than just productivity, it positively affects both our well-being and our levels of creativity.
‘The workplace is also critical to innovation. As humans we are fundamentally creative—and want to contribute what’s new and impactful.’Forbes
Think for just a moment. Where and when do you have your best ideas? For sure some might be while out walking the dog, but others will be during casual conversations with coworkers, or the result of spontaneous get togethers, or even because something you’ve overheard brings a fresh perspective.
Being in the right space, and being around other people, allows us to contribute. It makes things happen, it facilitates collaboration, encourages innovation, grows networks and builds partnerships.
‘Coworking spaces are local economic engines in their own right.’Forbes, Three Reasons Covid-19 Makes Coworking Spaces Even More Important.
Partnership and support.
As we determine to ‘build back better’, freelancers, entrepreneurs and SME’s need their networks, connections and partnerships more than ever, which is why we’re already seeing an real uplift in local businesses and organisations supporting each other. This is bound to continue, and it is this shift in behaviour that can make a coworking space the perfect place to build your business.
In developing our own coworking space, Use.Space, we have recognised the importance of this thinking. Remaining true to the authentic concept of coworking, we have set out to offer our members much more than just a place to park their laptop.
Community driven coworking cannot simply mean a great looking office space (although Use.Space is incredible), a funky desk, good wifi, and the constant smell of fresh coffee. It must stand for the sharing of knowledge, the building of partnerships, the growing of networks. It must provide a base for collaboration, co-creation and community.
Within our space we have Use.Today, Use.Smart and Use.Invest, giving our members, partners and business network, access to resources, insight, research and specialist expertise. Use.Today is a regional hub for brands, businesses and organisations who want to help build a more sustainable future. Use.Smart is platform for thought leadership, learning and development, and Use.Invest provides business support for start-ups and SME’s.