Shifting our focus from B2B and B2C, to H2H

I recently presented at CUAsia 2017 in Chiang Mai in Thailand, and as the final keynote speaker, I was privileged to share the BizDojo perspective that the future of work is social.

I’ve often found, that when I say “the future of work is social”, most people think of drinking beers while working, having a ping-pong table at the office, and having lots and lots of social activities. What I’ve just described isn’t actually work (unfortunately), so what I mean by “the future of work is social” is that the way in which we work is becoming more social. Gone are the days where we hide in corners trying to make the next big thing happen. We have learned that by sharing and collaborating, we can get more rad stuff done! Think recently to what Elon Musk has done with the hyperloop. Rather than keep it to himself he open-sourced it. Sharing is the new norm and we believe that future workplaces will need to be able to facilitate and support social interactions albeit professional in nature.

Driving our belief in the future of work being social, we subscribe to the movement that is no longer focused on B2C or B2B, but H2HHuman to Human.

As we become more and more digitally connected, it becomes too easy to lose our real connections and meaningful relationships, both personal and professional. It’s the belief of BizDojo, that future workspaces need to facilitate more H2H, with high levels of curation to help people connect.

Community trumps all. Not that I want to talk about Trump BUT true community is what people are seeking. They want to find their tribe, a place where they belong. As the famous comedy TV show Cheers would say “a place where everyone knows your name”. The digital disconnect is driving a growing desire for real world connections and engagement. Simply offering a space with cool furniture or a good location doesn’t cut it. You must build community and it doesn’t come easy. Curating a community requires coworking operators to hire talented people, who are natural connectors. Each BizDojo coworking space employs a Community Manager, who works like a human LinkedIn, constantly connecting people and facilitating meaningful relationships between them. You bring them your business challenges, and they connect you to the people, inside and outside our community, who can help you get stuff done.

Coworking spaces - including everything from the furniture to the people - should reflect a carefully curated balance that caters to the diverse needs of our audience. A mixture of open plan and enclosed offices, a contrast of quiet-zones and cafe-style, noisy spaces - too much of one is as bad as too much of another.

I can’t stress the importance of curation enough - especially after a moment at CUAsia, where someone showed a floorplan of a service office, and stated, “this is how you must design your coworking space to survive.” After seeing that it was a serviced office floor plan, a collective gasp quickly followed.

I should make it clear that there is nothing wrong with the service office model, but it shouldn’t be confused with a coworking model, because they focus on different elements. Rather than focusing on how to maximise the number of memberships, successful coworking spaces focus on encouraging people to connect and socialise, in order to create a synergy that you wouldn’t find elsewhere. As I mentioned before, it’s all about building a community.

I’ve noticed that the serviced office industry is running hard to becoming a coworking space, and on the flip side, a lot of the coworking industry, in a bid to survive, is (often unintentionally) turning into serviced offices model, but this is not the answer.

Once you start to focus on creating, and more importantly curating a space where people feel like they belong, that’s when you start to bridge the gap created by the digital disconnect. Community is at the heart of BizDojo, and it’s that very focus, on H2H connection is what makes successful coworking spaces.

BizDojo is New Zealand's first coworking operator having started in 2009 we were one of the first 250 coworking spaces in the world. We are now New Zealand's largest and only national coworking operator with 13,000m2 of space across Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

Special shoutout to CUAsia for yet another incredible unconference, filled with opportunities, valuable networking and shared learnings. You can check out our Storify from CUAsia2017.

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