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Coworking Research

Gensler confirms what coworking folks already know


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The world of work sees significant shifts in how, when, and where people do their jobs. 

gensler coverFor coworking operators, understanding these changes and adapting to new trends is crucial. The "Global Workplace Survey 2024" by Gensler provides insights into workplace performance and design, which can help enterprises better serve their employees and foster growth.

But it’s long. So we read it and digested the key findings so you don’t have to. 

And fair warning: you, a coworking professional, know most of this. But it’s nice to have it validated by a massive organization, isn’t it?

Understand the new work dynamic

The survey highlights that top performers in the workplace, those who drive performance and innovation, work differently from others. They spend less time working alone and more time learning, socializing, and engaging in professional development (p. 10). 

As the report states, "The most engaged individuals also rate all five work modes as more critical to their job performance than the least engaged individuals" (p. 10).

Foster engagement and collaboration

Engagement is a key factor in workplace performance. Again, coworking professionals know this more than most. The most engaged employees feel energized and happy while working, which directly impacts their productivity and likelihood to stay with their company (p. 8). Coworking spaces should emphasize areas that foster engagement through collaboration.

- Collaborative Areas: Provide spaces where members can easily interact, share ideas, and work together.

- Open and Inviting: Design open, inviting areas that encourage spontaneous conversations and collaboration.

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Building vibrant communities 

At a GCUC roundtable, DeShawn Brown led a discussion around "Building Vibrant Coworking Communities." Brown's insights resonated deeply with participants, sparking conversations about resilience, engagement, and the evolving dynamics of coworking spaces post-COVID.

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Support diverse needs

High-performing workplaces offer a range of spaces beyond individual workstations, including areas for relaxation, focused concentration, and confidential conversations (p. 14). 

"In high-performing workplaces, 94% of employees have a choice in where they work within the office" (p. 14).

- Quiet Zones: Include quiet zones for focused work.

- Relaxation Areas: Offer lounges for relaxation.

- Private Rooms: Provide private rooms for confidential meetings.

Which is exactly how most coworking spaces are designed.

Balance emotional and functional support

Turns out workplace performance is not just about functional spaces but also the emotional experience they provide. Again, something the coworking and shared office industry has known for years.

The survey emphasizes that great workplaces balance these aspects, creating environments that support work effectively while also making people feel valued and motivated (p. 2).

- Functional and Emotional: Aim to make your coworking space both functional and emotionally supportive.

- Welcoming Atmosphere: Consider the design, aesthetics, and overall atmosphere of your space to foster a positive emotional response.

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Create a mentally healthy coworking space

According to a UC Berkeley study, 72% of entrepreneurs said they had mental health concerns, and were much more likely to report “a lifetime history of depression (30%), ADHD (29%), substance use conditions (12%), and bipolar diagnosis (11%).”

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Leverage building and neighborhood quality

The quality of the building and its location significantly impact workplace performance. This is not surprising. High-quality buildings with diverse amenities contribute to a more satisfying work environment (p. 18). "Two-thirds of office workers we surveyed describe their company’s office building as 'one of the premier, higher-quality commercial office buildings in the area'" (p. 18).

- Choose Vibrant Locations: Choose buildings in vibrant neighborhoods with access to restaurants, fitness centers, and cultural venues.

- Offer Amenities: Ensure your space offers amenities like a well-equipped kitchen, comfortable breakout areas, and perhaps even a fitness room.

Support hybrid work models

The shift towards hybrid work models, where employees split their time between the office and other locations, is another key trend. The survey shows that employees now spend more time working in various locations, including coworking spaces, client sites, and home offices (p. 6).

Before you start yelling that this is the exact reason you exist, remember this report was written for enterprises that are on the verge of requiring employees to return to work. CEOs are bashing remote workers. Flex is becoming a dirty word. 

- Flexible Spaces: Provide reliable internet, virtual meeting rooms, and spaces that accommodate both in-person and remote work.

- Hybrid Support: Emphasize the flexibility of coworking spaces to support hybrid work.

Prioritize learning and socializing

Learning and socializing are critical for job performance, with top performers rating these activities as almost twice as important compared to their less engaged counterparts (p. 10).

- Professional Development: Include dedicated areas for professional development.

- Community Events: Host regular workshops, networking events, and social gatherings to foster a sense of community.

 

coworks_coworking_software_management_events

Ideas for public events at your coworking space

There are many different types of events that can be held at a coworking space, ranging from workshops and seminars to networking events and social gatherings. Let's explore some of the most popular types of public events that can be held at a coworking space, as well as some tips for planning and hosting successful events.

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Create diverse and inclusive spaces

Diverse space types are a hallmark of high-performing workplaces. Employees in these environments have better access to spaces for critical work activities and more choices in where they work within the office (p. 14). "Employees in high-performing workplaces also have more autonomy, understand how their work relates to their company’s mission, and receive acknowledgement for their achievements" (p. 16).

Enhance the member experience with technology

Incorporating technology into your coworking space is essential for meeting the needs of modern workers. Technology can enhance both the functional and emotional aspects of the workplace.

- Smart Solutions: Provide reliable internet, virtual meeting rooms, and smart office solutions to make work easier and more efficient.

- Seamless Experience: Use technology to create a seamless experience for members, from booking meeting rooms to accessing building amenities.

Embrace a holistic approach

Exceptional workplaces support employees holistically by providing functional spaces, evoking positive emotional responses, and being located in neighborhoods with diverse amenities (p. 24). 

"Exceptional workplaces support employees holistically by providing functional spaces, evoking positive emotional responses, and being located in neighborhoods where employees can access spaces that support both working and living" (p. 24).

- Support Both Work and Life: Consider the overall experience of your members, from the moment they enter your space to the end of their workday.

- Welcoming and Comfortable: Ensure your space is welcoming, comfortable, and conducive to both productivity and well-being.

Use space management software

Is this in the Gesler report? Not really, but hey, this is the Coworks blog. The fact is, Gensler does validate the use of technology to help facilitate all the above. And that is what Coworks is designed for.

Coworks is space management software that plays a crucial role in optimizing your coworking space. The platform helps you manage bookings, track space utilization, and improve overall efficiency. With features like member management, billing, and reporting, Coworks can streamline your operations and enhance the member experience.

The future of work is dynamic and ever-changing. You already understand the trends highlighted in the "Global Workplace Survey 2024." Coworking operators already create spaces that meet the needs of modern workers and foster growth. Now let’s convince the enterprises.

They need to focus on engagement, diverse work environments, emotional and functional balance, high-quality buildings, and flexible work models. Your coworking space has done all that for them.

And when you use space management software like Coworks to optimize your operations and enhance the member experience, you can position your coworking space as a leader in the industry, ready to meet the demands of the future of work.

And next time you talk to someone at Gensler, you can say “Told ya.”

 

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