The Community Of A Coworking Space
Coworking spaces foster community.
Long gone are the days of isolation within the workplace. Today, there is a proliferating movement prioritising human interaction and connection; the impetus for an open and interactive layout. OUR HQ is a community where creatives, nerds and visionaries from all fields come together. People from all different walks of life can come together, teaching different worldviews and thereby growing one’s community. You are pushed to reject an inward-facing perspective, and move beyond the restrictive inhabitancy of your own mind and world.
The open and welcoming space at OUR HQ helps to invigorate members, and foster a sense of belongingness. Feeling that you belong in the workplace is intrinsic to your performance. In fact, Harvard Business Review (featuring the work of Gretchen Spreitzer, Peter Bacevice, and Lyndon Garrett) claims that working in one’s own respective area of expertise within an ocean of differing specialities can actually strengthen one’s own work identity. Surrounded by a variety of different kinds of work, your place within this “bee hive” of sorts is valued. At OUR HQ, we understand the importance of transcending competition and isolation between business. With little internal politics and direct competition, people don’t feel the pressure to be a certain way.
Image Credit: © Women Sitting on Chairs Inside a Room
In a coworking space, introductory moments are common, whereby members exchange what it is they do. This is said to compound their sense of identity and enhance the allusiveness of their role. The affects upon wellbeing are explored in Harvard Business Review, whereby members of coworking spaces report levels of thriving which near an average of 6 on a 7-point scale. This ranks greater than the score of traditional workplaces.
To Forbes, Anna Anderson (cofounder of Kindred workspace) discusses that being in a community is better for everyone, with positive effects on health and longevity. Kindred receives new membership applications weekly, with 80% of these claiming that they wish to meet new people, and over half reasoning that they would like to be part of a community. With Harvard Business Review highlighting 89% of survey respondents claiming greater happiness since joining a coworking space, it is clear that the benefits are plentiful. In fact, it is even said that possessing a sense of community may “lower anxiety rates and even strengthen immunity.”
The impetus placed on community can be seen via Anthony Marinos’ feature in Harvard Business Review. Overseeing coworking space Grind’s marketing, Marinos stresses that “we consider ourselves as much a hospitality company as we do a workspace provider.” This is similar to Ethel’s Club, a coworking space in Brooklyn designed to prioritise people of colour. As highlighted in Forbes, it is more than a workspace, with an accompanying online marketplace showcases creations by minority-owned businesses, and “an art wall and library [which] rotate work created by artists and authors of colour.” Founder Naj Austin stresses the focal point for Ethel’s Club; the social aspect.
“Of course, co-working happens because we have tables and Wi-Fi… But we focus much more on the social aspect: You come here to find community.” – Naj Austin, as in Forbes
The Coworking Manifesto is an online document signed by members stemming from over 1,700 workspaces. It addresses the social movement of coworking, and the foundational values of community and sustainability. The adoption of this manifesto presents itself in many different ways. For example, some workers may choose to keep to themselves, and this is perfectly okay. However, there may still be the strong sense of identity with the surrounding community, with a potential for connection. In fact, people may still participate in a community through daily activities which interact with the world around them.
Either way, the importance of community must not be ignored, warding against the negative effects of loneliness and isolation.