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Coworking is changing where and how we work, and ranking high amongst the most noticeable differences versus traditional working is the physical environment.
“When you walk into most offices, the space tells you that it’s meant for a group of people to work alone.”
— David Kelley, founder of design firm, IDEO, and all-round inspirational design guy
Coworking spaces are not “most offices.” They’re for those actively seeking collaboration, inspiration, an escape from the boredom of their home office…and that’s why a design that fosters the ideal working environment should be top of any new coworking manager’s list.
We could write a book on this subject (and people have), but here we decided to neatly package, just for you, three things about design we’ve found that make coworking spaces awesome: flexibility, fun, and style.
Coworking should be about choice for the client; not just in terms of which venue they want to work at, but also in terms of how they can choose to make the best use of your space.
From personal experience of working at The Profile in Vancouver, I love having my own desk, but when I fancy a change it’s great being able to flop down onto one of an array of squishy chairs positioned near the windows overlooking the Pacific Ocean and mountains.
Some spaces are taking flexibility beyond a choice of seating, like PlusConcept SPACE in Singapore, who had the genius idea of using self-designed, moveable partitions and furniture to keep their space flexible and adjustable according to clients’ needs.
Or, for the health-conscious coworkers out there, consider standing desks. As David Hopp of Workspring in Chicago enjoyably puts it: “Sitting is the new smoking.” Focusing on how you can design your space to prioritize health and wellness of your members is mighty important, indeed.
Tech companies and startups are well-famed as pioneers of awesome office design, with Google instantly springing to mind. And Google know the importance of making the office a fun place to be:
“Our offices have become well known for their innovative, fun and—some might say wacky—design. Like most of our decisions, data shows that these spaces have a positive impact on productivity, collaboration and inspiration.”
— Creating an office for work and play, Google
So why shouldn’t coworking spaces follow suit?
A foosball or ping pong table is always a great bet, or perhaps go one further like The Work Lodge in Houston and get a slide!
Of course, this kind of whimsy won’t suit all coworking vibes, but it’s worth considering how to keep your members from getting too cranky. All that caffeine and desk dwelling can really take their toll, from time to time. Hey, we’ve all been there.
Here at ShareDesk we see some stunning coworking spaces—spaces where people have gone the extra mile to create a beautifully designed and inspiring work environment. Check out The Office Space’s two locations in Sydney; they’re different, but both gorgeous:
Coworking space owners are a creative and stylish bunch, with venues channeling everything from industrial loft to antique store.
Huge thanks go out to all our venue partners who contributed towards this article – we’re loving your work.
Be sure and check out our other Coworking Manager’s Guide to… articles for more inspiration on how to run a stellar coworking venue!