Creating a Coworking Community
In recent years, we have watched coworking spaces become so much more than just a dedicated desk or a meeting room that can be rented for the afternoon. They have grown from office spaces where people went to escape the hustle and bustle of coffee shops to communities where members seek out networking, entertainment, wellness and access to the latest tech resources.
Creative coworking spaces are thriving across the U.S., from New York City to Reno to Denver. Managers, with equipment and perks that entice the ever-increasing freelance labor market, have reinvented these spaces since their rise to popularity in 2006. Coworking spaces give members access to a wider range of people with a variety of skills, making networking and collaboration within the community central to the success of it all. At the end of the day, these workspaces have become as much about the opportunities for relationships as they have about the desk space.
An ongoing study by the Harvard Business Review is currently researching how employees thrive in different work environments. In their September 2015 issue, the HBR noted the “research found that [although] some people interact with fellow coworkers much less than others, they still felt a strong sense of identity with the community. We believe this comes from coworkers knowing there is the potential for interactions when they desire or need them.”
Modern workspaces are known for hosting regular networking events, from formal cocktail hours to fun summer barbeques. At each, members are encouraged to discuss their past, current and future projects, offering a medium for collaboration that would be difficult to find in a traditional work place.
Other events such as potluck breakfasts, afternoon yoga breaks, professional seminars and sponsored happy hours only serve to further enhance the feeling of community among members. Coworkrs hosts weekly events at their various NYC locations in three categories: social, wellness and professional development. These include a Cold Brew Coffee Hour, a one-hour yoga class, and a lunch and learn event about managing risk. Corporate Suites held a BBQ themed party for all members, and Axis Space recently hosted an all day hackathon, a tech event focused on improving the local community (#FTLCivicHackathon).
These events are an integral aspect of the distinctive coworking culture we have come to know and love. As more millennials enter the workforce, collaborative workplaces are expected to become even more popular, requiring spaces to differentiate from their competitors through this “culture.”
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