Why Coworking is Perfect for Building a Strong Workspace Community The ability to work and share experiences with like-minded and compatible human beings helps to form a healthy social-professional spectrum that breeds creativity
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Historically, the human sense of community can be traced back to roots of their existence. Humans are actually hardwired to be connected with each other as part of a community. At the very onset of our existence, we understood that hunting, gathering and agriculture were easier to accomplish together. From there on, humans established some of the first civilizations: Communities bound together by the common goal of survival. Traditionally, communities were formed basis geographic sense of place like neighbourhood or a milieu (such as temple, church, recreation centers) where people congregated. Common interests & values, social ties, profession and diversity were accompanying factors around which communities formed and co-existed. In 1986, social psychologists McMillan & Chavis defined the Social Capital of community as "a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members' needs will be met through their commitment to be together."
Amidst rapid socio-economic evolution, as institutions and hierarchies erode, people globally are rebuilding a sense of community, to reinstate collective optimism in their lives. The daily struggles, stress and chaos of modern life make communities a source of support for individuals. With the best part of our day spent in a workspace among co-workers, the communities at commercial enterprises have become significant and a primary touchpoint for psycho-social interactions.
The ability to work and share experiences with like-minded and compatible human beings helps to form a healthy social-professional spectrum that breeds creativity. This, coupled with the fact that 65 percent of our workforce fall into the bracket of young millennials, makes it vital to adopt a heterogeneous and flexible work culture in offices worldwide. Hence, it comes as no surprise that most enterprises are realising the potential of coworking and propagating community building initiatives to bring in a strong sense of belonging among employees.
With 19000 shared workspaces worldwide and over 1.74 million diverse members, coworking industry is leading the wave of enhancing the social-professional experience for startups, freelancers, SMEs and large enterprises by providing the perfect platform for collaboration, commerce and community building. From being restricted to designated cubicle and interacting only with intradepartmental colleagues in traditional offices, coworking has successfully blurred the rigid lines of workspace relationships by allowing for social bonds to be formed beyond demographics and designations.
With the 3Cs, the momentum shift toward coworking is set to continue as it provides a holistic approach toward the modern workspace culture.
Collaboration – In terms of perception and functionality, coworking is largely synonymous to collaboration. There is a high degree of mutual learning between companies and individuals at a shared workspace. Startups gain from the learnings of SMEs, SMEs learn from the experience of established corporates who in turn benefit from the ripple effect of budding innovative startup culture. According to a report, 84 percent of the people working at a coworking space are more engaged and motivated than traditional offices. The collaboration, however, doesn't just stop at learning from each other. Companies often find mutual corporate needs and may collaborate on a business level to enhance their scope of work as well.
Commerce – The existence of a highly conducive business environment is key to the success of coworking spaces. It opens the door to a world of endless possibilities, led by business alliances and exchange of ideas through innovation and B2B associations. Over 83 percent of the enterprises admit to seeing tangible business benefits after moving to shared workspaces, according to a study.
Community – Connecting enterprises and individuals across different hierarchies, demographics, industries and skill sets is key to building a strong workspace community for sustainable business growth. Coworking also sets an extremely high benchmark in setting a strong corporate and learning culture by organizing appropriate networking and social events to solidify the bond between not just different colleagues and individuals but also between enterprises and their employees. From speaker sessions, frequent celebrations and specially curated experiences, coworking spaces provide a good reason to form social relationships beyond business objectives.
Undoubtedly, the trend of community building and promoting collaboration at workspaces will gain further momentum in the coming years. Developments in artificial intelligence, voice recognition and IoT will soon replace the need for desktops and laptops. Infact, wearable technology will lead to complete workplace mobility, making coworking spaces with ample activity-based settings, the perfect meeting ground for social-professional interactions leading to a sense of belonging, inspiration and motivation.