“The spirit of coworking allows you to find co-workers who are worth working with” —Cynthia Chiam in Entrepreneur
Described in simple terms as a business service where different individuals working independently share resources like a workplace, often an office, coworking spaces are actually about establishing a community, fostering collaboration and encouraging creativity. Apart from sharing a physical vicinity, coworking spaces are more often about sharing values while promoting a flexible, self-directed work culture. A boon for work at home professionals, freelancers, start-up entrepreneurs and the like, coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular as it offers freedom of choice and independence without compromising on the professionalism of the “office”.
Making coworking spaces a success
Building a successful coworking space depends on a lot of factors, both tangible and intangible. Firstly, it is imperative that you understand the nature, skills, short term and long-term goals of the people who propose to utilize the coworking space to meet their requirements. Engaging with potential customers with a perspective to find out more about their needs and objectives enables one to create a more enriching experience and a better engagement for them. Communication is vital to this entire process.
Once you build a rapport and a sustainable relationship, the focus then shifts on creating an environment that not only gives customers a flexible work ambience but also helps instils a sense of ownership and thereby accountability for the space they work out of. This leads to a healthy, win-win, symbiotic association between the client and the provider.
Diversity and inclusion
Another critical factor that determines the success and effectiveness of a functional coworking space is following the principle of inclusion. Given that personalities are diverse it pays to be empathetic and sensitive which is key to building a platform where all individuals whether introvert, extrovert or ambivert can coexist and benefit from the power of networking. After all, a coworking space is not a mere space but an opportunity for all kinds of people to mingle and connect. Collaboration is a great way to innovate and community signifies strength. Hence, a place where both attributes are encouraged is one where partnerships translate into personal and professional growth. This can also have a great impact on the confidence and social skills of people who are otherwise not extroverts.
Also, it is important to understand that different organizations have different working cultures, working styles and working policies. Hence one needs to create an atmosphere where everyone gets a chance to be included and bond over conversations and interactions while remaining non-disruptive over policies and individual organization matters.
It is paramount to keep in mind how your brand can go the extra mile in creating something bigger. Your brand value must be used to develop a distinct, fine-drawn yet meaningful platform for creating a synergy of ideas, values and ethos of various companies. A healthy workspace and a positive work environment are indispensable for productivity and efficiency.
There are several ways to foster the spirit of communion and kinship that is mutually beneficial. Access to learning avenues like workshops, social media features, industry expert lectures, interactions, access to investor pitches and technological solutions serve as great boosters for individual and organizational growth. Events hosted for and by member communities that help them grow, learn, exchange ideas, share and market their skills and products also help in symbiotic development. It is imperative that these events are hosted at a time that works well for all stakeholders so that each one can be benefited by the same.
Most importantly, a coworking space should be a strong ecosystem where everyone truly believes that they are a part of something big and integral to a larger objective that lends them purpose. Nothing is more powerful than including the community into your brand goals and in turn making them your true representatives and ambassadors.
This article has been contributed by Guncha Khare, Culture Director of Dextrus, a shared workspace in BKC, Mumbai.