Collaboration and Community in Coworking Spaces

How content you are, and your comfort in the workplace is greatly influenced by your office environment and the community around you

Picking out the perfect space for both serious work and casual networking has proved to be a challenge for employees and employers as well as entrepreneurs and start-ups. Thankfully coworking spaces, especially in the Bristol area, are a great solution to this conundrum. They provide a pleasing and warm environment that sparks creativity. coworking communities are designed to provide offices that are suitable for all sorts of members. They envoke the space’s message while maintaining a spirit of collaboration among community members.

Coworking spaces strive to create communities that encourage members to grow their businesses, achieve their goals and ultimately thrive. Translating that vision from granular details into a physical space that fosters a real sense of community is no easy task. It takes an understanding of how both people and spaces work. Here are a few reasons why collaboration and community are so important in a coworking space.

The workplace of the future would definitely be more than just a place to do business. It would be a microcosm of society that is connected, convivial, commercially promising, culturally conscious and mutually responsible.

Community is highly recommended because humans are social beings. Several researches have established that humans are inspired to achieve certain needs. A well-known version that many people have read suggests that humans have five motivational needs in order of importance—physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualisation.

Social needs: the third most crucial need for humans. It is no surprise that workspaces (coworking or not) that do not provide adequate social interaction for people have a tendency to fail.

A highly effective community also translates into connections between “coworkers” naturally. Rather than just sitting beside each other within the same work environment, coworkers can explore the limitless possibilities of setting up enterprises jointly, contracting within the community, sharing experiences and knowledge that help them to build their business, and being able to take advantage of the collective intelligence of the network for brainstorming and strategising.

The intrinsic human need for association, whether professional or social fuels the dynamic we see as the future focus of the workplace. Members of coworking spaces can be a part of something more than themselves. Coworking spaces are linked to the fabric of the community outside their own four walls while promoting an extremely vibrant internal community among their members.

Taken from the Latin communis, meaning “things held in common,” community continues to be more broadly defined as organisms inhabiting one common environment and bonding with one another.

Generally, the concept of community depicts a geographically defined entity with common goals, values and implied collaboration. Digital networks, and their rapid expansion have broken down the geographic confines that once defined community, and link people with a convenience and intimacy once only imagined.

The coworking community is characterised by a sense of belonging, mutual support, inspiration, opportunity and inevitably the sharing of knowledge, ideas and resources.

The commerce of community

A sense of belonging and the tangible experience of social networks could bring great advantages to both the participants and the managers of a coworking community. The intrinsic value and cohesion of a network or community creates a Social Capital which benefits each member of the community. Growing evidence demonstrates social capital is important for societies to thrive economically and for development to be sustainable. According to The World Bank, “Social networks can increase productiveness by cutting down the costs of conducting business and also allows for coordination and cooperation.”

Workplace communities serve a crucial purpose in letting like-minded business owners connect and share experiences, advice and tools to succeed in business. They can gain access to a great deal of information and resources, get support and inspiration, leverage the group for marketing their own products and services, and develop meaningful relationships and networks.

The coworking community provides opportunities for many to connect and be inspired as several meeting events and routines are designed specifically for that purpose. The advantage is that small businesses are connected with unlimited opportunities in a great and exciting world. Hence, collaboration in a coworking community makes it an incredible place for engaging a rapidly changing and interconnected workforce.

Collaboration in coworking spaces also makes financial sense because building powerful networks beyond The Office Space’s altruistic goal is a really clear and powerful business strategy to position and market businesses of community members and makes people want to join. This way the social capital that the space represents is monetised.

Powerful networks help to build strong businesses. Brands and businesses are creating ecosystems of collaborators that share their values, growing stronger. Without a doubt, the number one resource of any coworking space is the network of businesses and the greatest goal of any coworking provider must be to improve the critical professional and social connections between these businesses. Therein lies the magic – it’s the interactions within the space, not with the space, that makes the most vibrant and desirable of communities.

Promoting a community within a coworking space

Now, on to the tough part—how do we guarantee and build community within a workspace? As outlined earlier, coworking operators generally aspire to establish a space, have people come in, and believe that a community will just be built by itself. But, hardly does this ever occur naturally.

Achieving community within a coworking space is a deliberate process; in-depth working sessions must be done to determine the most effective ways to stimulate and support the community—whether it be by networking events, mentoring, amenities, “matchmaking” between users, or perhaps communications and technology platforms. It is equally important that strong implementation processes are in place to make sure that a sense of community within the space is achieved.

Applying this to your workplace

Your workspace is not totally different from a coworking space. By bringing forth a culture of community within the firm your organisation can take pleasure in the same benefits that coworking brings.

Additionally, if you operate in the Bristol area, the best way could also be to consider coworking memberships for selective teams to explore the benefits that it brings.