We’ve discussed the rise in the corporate Coworking industry today, but another trend is also evolving out of this. Companies are now starting to create their own Coworking spaces, beyond using desks within common Coworking offices throughout the nation.
A recent report published by the Harvard Business Review shows that not only are companies starting these spaces, but employees are thriving in them. According to a French telecommunications brand who has already started their own space, ‘corpoworking’ seems to be a good way to describe this trend.
Aside from telecomm brands like Sprint and AT&T, tech giants like IBM are also dipping their foot into this niche. Car manufacturers like MINI and even insurance companies like State Farm are also part of the trend. This is significant not only because how powerful these brands are, but because how wide of a net they cast. It shows that Coworking is continuing to expand well beyond its early stereotypes.
I loved the phrasing the article used in describing reasons why companies are turning to their own spaces. It’s not like they’re seeking a ‘jolt of hipness’. They are thriving because in Coworking, they find that their employees are learning skills faster, making more connections, and feeling inspired and in control.
‘Open-house’ style spaces, for example, are built as a public amenity so to speak. This is where brand-building occurs. The article mentioned how MINI uses an open house style concept to further design concepts from local creative minds in Brooklyn. This space doesn’t have a mission to sell cars.
On the other hand, you’ve got the ‘campsite’ style spaces. These are invitation-only, and basically a space to collaborate with members of different teams. The biggest example for this type of Coworking is in Silicon Valley where a telecomm company is prototyping products and services between its team and consumers. Companies are stating that their project completion times are being cut by weeks at a time.
Then of course, because Coworking continues to evolve by the minute, there are even companies implementing or testing some form of both above mentioned styles. SAP built Hana Haus in Palo Alto. They charge a few bucks for walk-ins and have even had a visit from Mark Zuckerberg. No big deal.
They also built AppHaus a few miles away, where engineers and startups work together to enhance consumer software.
According to the article, the main purpose of these spaces is to drive one of three goals: transformation, innovation, and future-proofing.
Transformation: A Coworking space provides a spark into an organization that needs new life or excitement.
Innovation: At campsite spaces, diverse stakeholders assembled with very specific tasks and projects to further the brand.
Future-proofing: More open ended, idea creation, networking spaces. HanaHaus is an example.
Basically the key difference between open house and campsite spaces is that open houses welcome just about anyone for branding and marketing efforts, while campsites need the correct fit for their company.
Community managers will play a huge role in these Coworking spaces. Its a concept not used in corporate traditional offices, but one that becomes vital for selecting new members, onboarding, and connecting.
Similar to their surprise at the role of a community manager, traditional office employees are often taken aback by the physical layout of the space. Coworking features style and amenities they simply haven’t experienced before, such as moveable furniture, whiteboards and stocked kitchens.
At the end of the day, companies wouldn’t consider this trend as a viable option if results weren’t evident. But they clearly are.
According to the article, one company said they saw a 30-40% reduction in project completion time. Another company explained they had a 92% approval rating for their space and a waiting list of employees who wanted to join. While ROI remains difficult to quantify, everyone can agree happier, more productive employees, is critical to the long term success of any organization. This method is clearly providing that.
To read the entire Harvard Business Review article, please click the link below. And to learn more about how the new Yardi Kube can power your Coworking space, click here.