Why Coworking Just Makes Sense – Stories Across Industries
Coworking spaces may appear to be a relatively new creation.
However, their underlying theory may be observed, both historically and presently, across an array of different projects and industries.
Pixar Studios, California
Image Credit: Coolcaesar at the English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
Pixar Studios was modelled by Steve Jobs, who was a fierce advocate for an open and interactive workspace. He believed in “forced collisions,” as stated in Business Insider, and that spontaneous meetings in the hallway were the most fruitful meetings that co-workers could have. Producer Darla K. Anderson at Pixar Studios gave insight to NY times into the diversity present under the one campus. Anderson attests,
“we do every single thing on this campus, every single thing was designed, modelled, built, shot… we do all the location scouting (virtually), we have the actors come act…” – Darla K. Anderson, Pixar Producer
Pixar is 218,000 square feet of space where hundreds of people cross over. Jobs was a fierce advocate for one building, with the intention to bring teams together for a shared culture and an enhanced knowledge repertoire. For BuzzFeed, Craig Payne, senior design project manager, discussed Jobs’ intention.
“He decided that he wanted everybody under one roof, and also he didn’t want it more than two stories, so it became a very big building.” – Craig Payne (senior design project manager) on Steve Jobs
As a result, the “Atrium” was created; the place where employees and visitors are welcomed. Its very purpose was to serve as the beating heart of the building, facilitating unique interactions. As stated by Payne, “it keeps the culture alive.” Pixar Company President Ed Catmull compounds this notion to BuzzFeed, affirming:
“When something good happens, because of the strong center, then it spreads out, quickly, to the rest of the building.” – Ed Catmull, company President
Whilst this layout enforces shared culture, individualistic freedom and privacy are still of great impetus. This is the case of general coworking spaces today, which endeavour to find a harmony between the open and the intimate. Under the philosophy of artistic expression, each animator is endowed free reign to design their office however they see fit. As Payne states, “we don’t try to police the environment… everybody here really takes ownership to their space.” This is evident via the animation wing, where several cubicle-esque spaces have been converted into mini duplex houses.
The necessity for collision, including that of differing personalities, ideologies, and projects, may be attested through inventions which have facilitated creations within other industries. NASA provides an astute case study for this, as presented in USA Today. CAT scans and MRIs are possible today due to the digital signal technology of NASA, used originally to replicate images of the moon during Apollo missions. Similarly, scratch-resistant astronaut helmets resulted in granting a license to Foster-Grant Corporation, enabling them to experiment with scratch-resistant plastics. Today, most sunglasses and prescription lenses compose such material.
Companies are starting to become cognisant to the benefits of coworking spaces. In 2016, Microsoft moved 30% of its sales department employees to two WeWork locations. Moreover, Microsoft erected its own coworking space, the Microsoft Reactors, where developers were able to network and focus within the targeted space.
The benefits are plentiful. Coworking spaces invigorate start-ups through possessing an attractive entrepreneurial culture. The traditional notion of a flat management structure is long gone. The neutral collaboration of workers during start-ups rejects the hierarchical structure, and thus engenders a greater sense of ownership and acknowledgement for work. Furthermore, talent management are able to have a field day. Within such a highly-accessible and entrepreneurial culture, companies are able to tap into supreme talent, found across the board.