SO A SOFTWARE ENGINEER, A LAWYER, AND A NON-PROFIT DIRECTOR WALK INTO A BAR.
Wait, this isn’t really a joke anymore? The number of coworking spaces throughout the world has more than doubled since 2013. With that, the number of members who choose to be a part of this movement has also doubled.
But what is it about the open coworking space that has these businesses, large and small, making the change? Traditionally, the end goal for entrepreneurs and corporate employees was to have that corner office in a downtown high rise. Preferably not the second floor.
Now, the layout has changed. More companies are choosing open floor plans and coworking spaces in lieu of private offices. Some companies are tearing down walls, while others are skipping the executive office altogether. The one thing these shifts have in common is the search for a sense of community.
Businesses have often placed the “office feel” on the back-burner of priorities. Every person had a job, and they were usually instructed to do only that job. Communication happened through a chain of command and one department could spend 15 years never knowing one another. Messages were lost in translation, employees were never heard, and overall productivity often remained stagnant.
THERE IS SOMETHING TO GAIN FROM THE CONCEPT OF COWORKING.
In a coworking environment, studies have shown not only an increase in employee productivity, but also an increase in overall morale and self-confidence. With a defined culture of constant communication, it has been found that interpersonal and departmental relationships result in a wider range of ideas and feelings of satisfaction. It is key that these outcomes are not solely based on employee-employee relations, but employee-employer as well. Continuous feedback on projects and performance in real time produce an environment in which people can feed off of each other’s motivation and creativity.
Hybrid coworking spaces encompass a medley of private workspaces for individuals and small teams, as well as common lounge spaces, recreational areas, and designated areas to work amongst groups. These transitional spaces provide the quintessential marriage of past, present, and future. A place where there is something for everyone.
WHAT IT ALL MEANS.
Though we haven’t all been around to witness the intellectual and cultural shifts that have affected business over the past 100 years, if we take a moment to look back and reflect, this new direction shouldn’t surprise us.
At one point, full service ma and pa shops whose employees ran everything from shoe making to old school marketing were all the rage. Each craftsman had to know it all, and quite often that is all they would know. Many could argue that it took one invention to change the face of consumer relations and in effect business forever: clear plate glass. With the rapid production of plate glass now readily available, storefronts took on a whole new meaning and consumer attitudes towards shopping shifted dramatically. Fast forward to today. Imagine a world in which business relations were not transparent. Don’t we, as a worldwide people, expect transparency in even the most basic daily operations?
Think of coworking spaces as the business world’s answer to the need for clear plate glass. A business cannot be run by robots who stare at a wall and do just one thing all day. We need to show and be seen to transform.
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