Everybody’s talking about coworking spaces these days. For startups and entrepreneurs, it’s a great way to find a place to work or get connected with like-minded people. With all the hype, we thought we’d look at the science behind the success of coworking spaces.
Note: There are differences amongst coworking spaces. Some are merely shared office spaces. However, for this post, we’ll be discussing spaces that are more so ‘startup hubs’ (like Haymarket HQ!).
If you’d like to skip directly to the benefits, here they are:
- A warm, supportive community
- Opportunities to collaborate
- The perfect physical and emotional space
- Having ultimate freedom
One of the best things about working in a coworking space is being able to avoid isolation and obtain genuine social interaction. Different people enjoy varying degrees of social interaction, ranging from being in the mere presence of others to proactive conversations and actions. But what’s certain is that all of these allow for interesting connections to be made in the startup community in coworking spaces.
Firstly, direct support can be delivered between members seeking to professionally network, share feedback or opinions, exchange information and knowledge or notify job openings. Don’t forget, this social interaction is not just face to face. Online channels like social media, workplace events and team activities or drinks are also commonly used to keep you connected and supported.
Secondly, affective support can be shared when startup success stories and wins are celebrated. You’ll find community boards are popular in coworking spaces to help you keep up to date with what’s going on around you and motivated. Everyone loves a win! Lastly, coworking spaces also let you gain advice or validation about your business from industry professionals, investors and mentors in the space.
If you’re working from home, sometimes it might be difficult to feel confident in your decisions and ideas. We all appreciate confirmation and a sense of direction, all things you can find in coworking spaces.
Remember, just like any community, coworking spaces are all about reciprocity. When you feel you belong, you’ll realise that you want to give a hand where you can. And of course, if you help others, they’ll help you.
Many studies have found that individuals desire a sense of community when they share a common workspace. Now strong healthy communities in close proximity can lead to opportunities for collaboration based on communication, commitment and trust. When stepping into a coworking space, you’ll find that it’s an authentic work experience. This is only possible as coworking spaces are generally not breeding grounds for office politics or rigid hierarchies which create barriers and pressure.
When it comes to collaboration, there’s an exchange of implicit and explicit business knowledge, ideas, and resources. But that’s not all. At a coworking space, you’ll find yourself surrounded by startups from a whole range of industries, at various business stages. It’s not just a great learning experience to become aware of the brilliant innovation in today’s time, it’s also a chance to find meaningful business partnerships and joint projects.
There’s a real opportunity for joint value creation, and innovation to be stimulated and born in coworking spaces. It all begins with the motivation to connect with others in the startup scene by joining a coworking space that suits you.
For coworking spaces to really work though, it’s also a matter of getting the environment just right. In terms of the physical space, although we humans are naturally wired to have our own preferences, a coworking space is designed to allow for maximum ‘unplanned interactions’ and ‘creative collisions‘. These elements are great for our minds.
Coworking spaces will usually house a mix of both private and open spaces to increase your productivity. The close proximity of open space plans offer just enough encouragement for us to be motivated by our neighbours but not so close to be distracted.
However, don’t forget, there’s almost certainly an area dedicated to relaxation because even busy entrepreneurs need a break every now and then! Whether it’s chilling in the breakout area, having a chat in the kitchen over coffee, or taking a nap on the community couch with some light music, you’ll be able to feel regenerated and ready to tackle the intricacies of being a startup founder.
You might be thinking, why not just work from home? Well remember, it’s all about the people you get to meet!
Coworking spaces know this of course, so they also consider your psychological, emotional, social experiences too.
That’s why there is often an application process for members. This means that you’re less likely to encounter individuals that aren’t a good fit or a drag on the positive energy in the space. Culture-fit is a crucial criteria when it comes to the coworking space commnity. It ensures that you’re always surrounded by like-minded people who understand and respect the ups and downs of starting a business. Essentially, you can experience a distinctive, relaxed, social vibe. Coworking spaces want to make it just right for you.
Showcase your real personalities, rather than just the work facade. Put simply, when you’re placed in a healthy environment surrounded by other creative minds, you’ll want to show your best and do your best too.
Let’s face it. We seek flexibility and we love freedom. That’s why you’ll love the loose, casual commitment you can attach to a communal way of working at coworking spaces. For startups, it means having the ability to move at your own pace and still enjoy a very open, flexible work setting, defined by community.
There aren’t strict schedules, dress codes, rules or formalities. Coworking spaces understand how busy founders can be, and that every business is different. Hence, a healthy open environment will allow you to get the most out of your time in the space. You can create your own routine, we just want to help out!
When you’re at a coworking space surrounded by a warm community, don’t stress about having to be something you’re not. Remember, it’s flexible. The social concept of coworking spaces is centred around the fact that you’re are surrounded by a healthy mix of both ‘good neighbours’ who are polite but focus on their own business, and ‘good partners’ who are more proactive. You could be the good neighbour or the good partner. You could be both, its up to you.
Whether you’re a younger founder hoping to gain more experience and ‘social capital’, or a more experienced ‘giver’ in the startup scene, the key takeaway is that you are not tied down by formal restrictions. You have the freedom to be yourself and act accordingly based on your business needs. So take the leap. Try out a coworking space today!