Coworking spaces come with a lot of benefits such as better productivity. Read below for more on how corporate coworking continues to impact a company’s culture.
Recent history has had many contemplating the future of coworking itself, amid fears that high-profile failures and worrying headlines will throw shade on the entire industry. But there’s no need to worry because coworking is definitely here to stay.
More than just a fad or an experiment, coworking’s rapid 600 percent growth over the last decade is indicative of a growing thirst for flexible office space, and a move away from the traditional office towards something different. That something better promotes productivity among a workforce that has become increasingly remote.
Why Coworking Is Still Growing
For many companies, coworking space is fast, flexible, and disposable. Companies thrive on the fact that they can avoid the commitment and overhead of a brand-new office space by buying into space that is already maintained, organized, and provided with loads of important amenities. Meanwhile, they can continue to invest in their own growth and the success of their product or service, until they mature into an organization in need of its own space.
Yet even this traditional view of coworking as a transitory workplace for smaller companies and entrepreneurs looking to cut costs and “make it” is only one small view into the service that coworking spaces offer. Coworking spaces can market themselves to larger and established corporations as a unique type of office space to help remote workers and smaller satellite offices share a collective company culture. This is absent among many workers who, for any number of reasons, are choosing to work remotely.
Even larger companies enjoy not having to invest in long-term leases and outfitting new spaces when they can rely on local coworking spots to help provide a short-term main office for their sales force, representatives, or the beginnings of a growing present in a regional market.
Representing a Growing Need
The demand exists. And it will continue to grow. Companies both large and small are no strangers to the benefits of a globalized workforce and are quickly continuing to staff talent from all four corners of the globe.
But for many freelancers and remote workers who find themselves corresponding with team members across the planet, Slack group chats and the occasional physical meeting at company HQ isn’t enough to really create a sense of belonging, or feel motivated to work effectively at all times. The biggest problem that remote workers report by far is loneliness.
Coworking becomes an excellent alternative to working from the main office itself, especially when that becomes prohibitively expensive for foreign or distant workers.
Many remote workers and freelancers are enjoying the look and feel of the coworking space, as well, which combines the coziness of a café or inviting home with the buzz and productivity of a busy office space. But more than just a certain aesthetic, coworking spaces are quickly taking advantage of something very important to many workers: culture.
Coworking is Transforming Corporate Culture
People assume that culture is yet another corporate buzzword, one meant to evoke images of camaraderie and productivity at work. But work culture is more than just another word for an office’s mood. A company’s culture is an amalgamation of its core mission and values, of the policies it defends and promotes, of its management and their personalities, and of the people it hires.
While there are a few metrics to codify what any given company’s culture might be, you can pick any host of characteristics and describe it as part of the company’s culture. This is a representation of who they are when they’re working on supplying their customers or clients with the products or services they specialize in.
Coworking, then, presents a unique challenge to many companies because it understandably can cause culture clashes. The better coworking spaces have their own cultures, yet these may clash with the cultures of the companies or teams that work in them. This in turn might alienate single workers who aren’t part of a greater organization. Or remote workers who feel left out, unable to experience their employer’s work culture.
The Corporate Coworking Impact
Solving the culture question is an important part of making coworking work. And thankfully, coworking seems to be having a positive impact on company culture when handled properly. Rather than negatively challenging a company’s culture, coworking can positively challenge it – putting it to the test by bringing it out into the open among other cultures.
Coworking spaces that host a large number of different groups and solo ventures specifically go out of their way to create a culture that harmonizes, and encourages other businesses to play nice with one another. This minimizes characteristics that interrupt other people’s work, while promoting characteristics that lead to greater opportunities within coworking spaces. This includes a healthy balance of adaptability and conscientiousness, collaboration, inclusivity, self-efficiency, and effective or blunt communication.
Coworking is a Litmus Test for Company Culture
Company cultures have the opportunity to prune themselves and weed out the qualities that make them isolating, uninviting, or toxic. This is done byy learning to coexist with others within a coworking space. Young companies in particular can thrive by growing alongside other companies in a coworking space.
The challenge here, however, is to still be able to retain an individual identity as a company separate of the group. Companies that have a culture that is far too strong will typically not mesh well in many coworking spaces. But they will have trouble finding candidates and talents that feel comfortable within their unique culture.
Meanwhile, companies with a more open culture will enjoy the flexible nature of the coworking space. Though, it will be hard to feel proud of one’s company when it simply feels too “samey”.
It’s up to the management of a company to determine what they want their culture to be. What sets them apart among a sea of hardworking enterprises, each trying to carve out their own space in their respective niches. It also allows companies to hone in on their truly defining characteristics.
Company Culture for Remote Workers
Remote workers have a hard time getting a feel for the culture of their company, especially when they’re working solo and apart from a larger team in a different, inaccessible location. While coworking spaces provide a respite from the isolating nature of working from home, it’s still a far cry from being able to get a sense of what your employers are like at the office.
Coworking spaces can serve as proxy work cultures for such remote workers, giving them a different family to belong to while still working with their coworkers abroad or elsewhere.
Because coworking spaces bring company cultures together in a way never previously tested, many companies and groups find themselves immediately trying to distill their unique culture into something concrete they can hold onto to differentiate themselves from the rest. This then leads to greater unity, a sense of pride for one’s work, and a continued appreciation for the company as well as the others within the same space.