When you think of coworking, the benefits that initially pop to mind might be wifi, a desk and maybe some coffee if you’re lucky. These things are all great, but we wanted to truly understand what the value of coworking really was, and see if there was more to it than meets the eye, so we put our research hats on and got to work.
For us, coworking is about human to human interactions, and we want to make the CoLo experience feel human, so with some help from The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design, we had a chat with some real life coworking humans at the BizDojo in Wellington to see what they thought.
Human-centered design offers problem solvers of any stripe a chance to design with communities, to deeply understand the people they’re looking to serve, to dream up scores of ideas, and to create innovative new solutions rooted in people’s actual needs. — The Field Guide to Human Centered Design
The question we asked was simple: “what do you value the most in a coworking experience?” We gathered loads of amazing answers, and sorted them into themes that were emerging from the responses to see what people valued the most about coworking.
The most popular thing that residents valued about their coworking experience turned out to be nothing to do with resources or services, but about people. The value of meeting others and making friends with like-minded people vastly outweighed things like wifi or printing, which, spoiler alert, didn’t even make the list. Having these human connections provides coworkers with a sense of belonging and a home away from home, giving them a more important reason to come to work than just to work.
Generating & Sharing Ideas
The next best thing about coworking is the opportunities it creates to generate and share ideas. Being surrounded by ambitious people provides an environment to brainstorm with others and share ideas that help one another succeed. Gathering ideas from others, and sharing yours with them means both sides win and move closer to their goals along the way. Working together is also a bonus that makes working in general more satisfactory!
Meeting people in coworking spaces is often a sure-fire way to shake hands with your next potential client or career connection. Residents highly valued the networking opportunities that coworking provides, giving them the ability to meet new clients, service providers, future employees, possible career advancing connections and more. Since coworking spaces are full of driven people working and attending events, it’s hard not to bump into influential people along the way!
The Fun Stuff
Silicon Valley startups may have had the right idea with the table tennis tables, pinball machines and Friday night drinks, since these fun things rank highly in coworking value. Residents quoted activities like work drinks, community lunches, quiz time, table tennis competitions and more in the things that make the difference to their coworking experience. Being engaged in these things adds a bit of fun, laughter and comradery to work and makes a huge difference in the decision to head into the office every day.
Feeling Inspired & Motivated
Since coworking surrounds you with motivated and driven individuals, the residual effects leave you feeling inspired and motivated too. Seeing what others around you are doing can motivate you to up your game and achieve your goals. Other ideas, startups or conversations may inspire thoughts and ideas to push you and your work further too. Residents found that the entrepreneurial environment of coworking spaces inspired & motivated them throughout the day and kept them excited during the week!
Switching Up Working Styles
A more tangible value of coworking, is the ability it offers to change the way residents work throughout the day. There are often three ways of working: social, active and focussed. Some residents may feel like meeting people and generating ideas with others, while others are happy working actively alongside people but some need to knuckle down and get some work finished. People can also fluctuate between these depending on deadlines, personalities and moods on any given day. Coworking often provides the ability to move seamlessly between these styles of working as required, with social areas, quiet zones and more to suit your needs.
Many residents of the BizDojo spoke of the value they felt from the space’s community managers. Having someone who greets you with a smile each day and remembers your name and what you do makes the residents feel like part of something. The community managers not only make them feel at home, but also happily become the bridge that connects you to others, facilitating connections and cultivating community, which guests and residents love!
Food & Coffee
Not surprisingly, people love the bonus of food and drink at their coworking spaces, particularly coffee. Not saying that lunch and a barista should be provided every day, but having a coffee machine and the occasional snack is definitely a bonus when you’re working hard!
So while we may have imagined that people would just need some wifi and a desk to keep them happy, what residents really value is some fun & motivational human connection with their coworking community. Think about how you could increase the prevalence of these things in your space and see how your residents respond. Or if you’re a future guest, give coworking a go yourself and experience these amazing benefits!
With a Net Promoter Score of 83, higher than Apple, Amazon & Netflix, meaning that the residents of the BizDojo would highly recommend their experience to others, you can be confident that these residents know what good value is when they see it! Want your residents to be this happy? Try these things and be expectant for the positive impact it will make! Want your work day to be more fun & satisfactory? Find a coworking space near you and give it a go!