What We Can Learn From Coworking Environments

Earlier in the year, the Sheldon team headed to NeoCon in Chicago to be alongside industry leaders in commercial design field from across the world (you can check out our blog post about it here). As new products, ideas and services were showcased, a concept that’s been almost doubling each year since 2006 was discussed: Coworking. And, while there’s a lot that we know about coworking office environments already, it’s an area that is ripe for innovation.

Companies need to ready to change and be disrupted. The ability to adapt will set up success; the most successful, innovative companies are those that can learn and innovate from disruption. As technology continues to rapidly advance and change our working environment, the need is more apparent than ever.

What we’ve seen from these changes in technology already is the impact that it’s had on space requirements. We no longer work just from the office, we can work anywhere, at any time. For office design, this can mean flexible environments where desks can be shared based on how often employees are actually within the office. We could assume that smaller businesses looking for shared space may trend towards 100% remote working, however, coworking spaces are thriving.

Coworking design works because it provides community and inspiration to members, who will continue to commute to various locations to be a part of them. A coworking space will have a number of elements at play behind the scenes to create the buzz that these members are after.

The culture itself is extremely different to that of a company office. They’re likely to be bigger risk takers, inspired to move beyond traditional ways of doing things in an effort to build culture amongst members. Rather than formal policies in place, more often trust and common sense will prevail, with self-regulation playing a part. An open mindset is needed in these environments, resulting in a natural curiosity and learning that follows.

Coworking office design character typically falls into the relaxed side of things. Spaces are normally informal and feel like they can be quite adaptable to growing needs. Flexible use furnishings and areas, provide members with a range of ways to work within the space – from lively activity to do not disturb.

A coworking environment will always feel different from a traditional office, however, each can impact from taking inspiration from one another. There will never be a one space fits all formula of course, but taking into consideration such things as the community, and the ability to adapt as a business will benefit your potential to innovate and ultimately your bottom line.