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Do people truly thrive in coworking spaces?

The traditional work landscape is shifting, and more and more workers are trying to break away from sterile cubicles and rigid 9 to 5 schedules. We are witnessing new dynamic work environments where everyone is empowered through greater control and flexibility regarding workflow.  Gone are the pushy bosses and policies, once set in stone. In their place is meaningful, purposeful work.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that workers in coworking spaces reportedly perform better compared to those who work in regular offices. Simply put, these spaces afford workers more freedom in tackling daily tasks, while enhance their commitment to their duties and their motivation to reach their full potential.

The meaning of work

Coworking areas are usually accessible around the clock, allowing workers to be much more flexible about their schedules. The autonomy is certainly a blessing, but these spaces offer something more than that – the structural framework preventing the impediment of productivity and work habits. Indeed, having a community of hard-working pros around you boosts discipline and motivation better than working from home does, as the latter environment faces you with numerous distractions and improper work conditions.

On the other hand, many companies fail to both cultivate a feeling of communal belonging and pull together a space which promotes healthy competition. As a result, once they become more than cogs in the corporate machine, migrating to coworking spaces, individuals tend to see their jobs in a more meaningful light. They have a sense of bringing their whole self to the workplace, and feel their work identity strengthened. Here lies the answer to why people actually pay to work with strangers.

Best of both worlds

These innovative spaces present people with a healthier ambience, which is free from the constraints of internal politics and unburdened by the direct competition. They are membership-based premises where various freelancers, remote workers, and other professionals gather and go about their business. You can work by yourself, but also escape isolation, frustration and accumulated stress associated with working from home or an office.

So, coworking space involves a communal, shared setting, bringing various workers with different skills together. Many individuals boast about expanding the network of personal and professional contacts, coming across valuable advice, keeping the skills fresh and raising the profile of their business. These practices are also echoed in the Coworking Manifesto, an online document promoting the benefits of collaboration, perpetual learning and sustainability.

Take a seat

Naturally, socialising is not compulsory, and individuals who like to keep to themselves can also find coworking areas to be a sound choice. Furthermore, the vibe and layout of each space varies to suit the specific needs of those who use it.  This acknowledges the fact that in order to flourish, workers require proper office furniture, ample space, tech equipment and adequate supplies. Open plan layout is increasingly popular and is seen as a design solution which promotes the core values of coworking.

What is more, functional and versatile boardroom tables serve as a workspace for multiple people, and are a nice centerpiece in any environment, especially if they are available in any size and color you want.  Shared tables always encourage interaction and spur cooperation. For example, many companies are taking notice and are embracing the 1:1 ratio of desk seats and seats in communal areas used for quiet work, or informal hangout.

Digging deeper

These design solutions induce innovation and stimulate the building of deeper relationships that go beyond coffee breaks and tedious meeting. It is small wonder that many startups and enterprises introduce coworking spaces as alternative workplaces or engage in a cost-effective reverse-engineering of the office.  Remote employees are particularly inclined to give these work areas a chance, but enterprise employees are also coquetting leaning towards them.

Now, all of this is not to say that coworking spaces are for everyone. Some people are anxious about being surrounded by persons they do not know. Others are simply able to get more things done when managers and bosses loom over them. That being said, the lessons learned in coworking spaces should be applied to the corporate world’s stale scenery, which is in a desperate need of a breath of fresh air.

Coworking on the roll

The coworking trend has attained the rank of a broad social movement, aspiring to take advantage of swift technological advancements and innovative business models. New spaces put the human element in the spotlight, and aim at building a stimulating, healthy environment around it. That way, people can both preserve the freedom and be a part of the community, exercising a higher degree of control and freedom.

It is of the utmost importance to realize that swell design is just as important as the nurturing of an autonomous and worthwhile work experience.  I expect the trend to reach new heights in 2016 and beyond, attracting a broader range of professions and organizations to the exciting business frontier of the future.

About the author

Chloe Taylor is an Adelaide-based blogger whose fields of expertise include design and business related topics including productivity management. You can find her on FB or Twitter. She consulted experts from JasonL for writing this article.  

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