Recent research from Harvard Business School has uncovered data that indicates that people who work in coworking spaces are performing better than employees who work in traditional offices.
How can that be? Why do coworking tenants seem to be thriving?
The researchers nailed down three prime reasons.
1. People who use coworking spaces believe their work as more meaningful.
Unlike a conventional office, coworking spaces are peopled by members who work for a range of different organizations, ventures, and projects.
That means that there is no internal politics, so people don’t feel they have to put on a false work persona, or watch their backs, to fit in.
Working among people performing different types of work can also bolster one’s own work identity.
Due to the mix of people, coworkers were able to more frequently describe their job, which can not only make what they do seem more interesting but also helps them focus more on what is important in their work.
Also, working in a culture where it is the norm to help each other out can increase the sense of meaning; the multiplicity of disciplines means that coworkers have skill sets that other community members can utilize.
2. Coworkers have more job control.
Coworking spaces are usually accessible 24/7.
People can decide whether to work long hours when they have a deadline, or can decide to take an extended lunch break to go for a walk.
They can work in at a quiet desk so they can focus, or in a more collaborative space where interaction is encouraged.
They can even decide to work from home, without worrying, if they need to meet a tradesman or deal with a personal issue,
An additional issue illustrates that while coworkers value this autonomy, they equally value a degree of structure in their professional lives.
Too much autonomy can actually reduce productivity because people lack routine.
Coworkers report that having a community in which to work creates an adequate measure of structure and discipline.
3. Coworkers feel part of a community.
Connections with others are a major reason why people like to work in a coworking space, as opposed to working from home or renting an office.
However, it’s important to note that socializing isn’t compulsory.
Members can choose when and how to interact with others.
They are more likely to enjoy a chat over coffee in the kitchen or café because they went to the kitchen or café for that purpose.
Conversely, when they want to be left alone elsewhere on the premises, they can find a quiet spot.
And although the research found that coworkers interact with fellow members to lesser or greater degrees, they all still felt a strong sense of identity with the community.
This almost certainly comes from coworkers knowing there is the potential for interactions when they want or need them.
Need a great working space? What are you waiting for?