Working amidst people doing different kinds of work can also make one’s own work identity stronger.
There’s definitely something special about coworking spaces. Harvard Business Review (HBR) studied how employees thrive, and discovered that people who belong to coworking spaces report higher levels of thriving than employees who do their jobs in regular offices.
So according to HBR what makes coworking spaces – “workspaces where diverse groups of freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals work together in a shared, communal setting” – so effective?
Coworkers Find More Meaning in Their Work
The Harvard Business Review reported finding that because coworking spaces are so diverse, people are able to find meaning in the fact that they could bring their whole selves to work. They’re able to do this in a few ways.
First, there is little direct competition or internal politics, and they don’t feel they have to don a persona in order to fit in. Furthermore, working amidst people doing different kinds of work can also make one’s own work identity stronger.
Secondly, meaning also comes from working in a culture where it is the norm to help each other, and there are opportunities to do so; the variety of workers in the space means that coworkers have unique skill sets that they can provide to other community members.
Most coworking spaces, like City Office, are accessible 24/7. Workers can decide whether to put in a long day when they have a deadline, or take a long break in the middle of the day to go to the gym. They can choose to work in a quiet space, or in a more collaborative space with shared tables where interaction is encouraged.
The report also revealed that while coworkers value autonomy, they also value some form of structure in their professional lives. City Office members agree, too much autonomy can actually cripple productivity because of lack of routine and having a community to work in helps create structure and discipline that can be motivating.
Connections with others are a big reason why people choose coworking over working from home or renting office space. Coworking spaces have their own vibe, and go to great lengths to cultivate a unique experience that meets the needs of their respective members. For example, according to Marjo Morden, City Office’s Community Manager, “At City Office we care about community and connection – we know all of our members by name and profession, and we’re constantly facilitating introductions between them. Furthermore, we host a weekly Think-Tank to share ideas and resources.”
However, socializing isn’t compulsory – members can choose when and how to interact with others. Members may enjoy discussions over coffee in the kitchen because they went to the kitchen for that purpose – and they want to be left alone elsewhere in the building, they are. And, while some coworkers interact with fellow coworkers less than others, they still feel a strong sense of connection with the community that comes from knowing there is the potential for interactions and connection when they want it.
Author Neena Hogle is a Community Manager at City Office, a modern coworking space in Downtown Bay City. Among her many skills, Neena is a public speaker, professional networker, and amazing mentor to many small business owners!