1 Year. 25+ Coworking Spaces. Here's What I Learned.

    Why Coworking Spaces Need to Change

    Why Coworking Spaces Need to Change

    It is vitally important for coworking managers and community members to question everything based on the simple question of is this helping our space and its members become a better version of itself.

    I recently moved into my new home. This is, actually, my first official residence in over a year and a half. Exciting! As I was moving, I realized I only own some clothes and tech items. That’s pretty much it. I did not bring anything from the house my ex-wife and I shared — no dresser, no bed, no end tables, no throw pillows, etc. As I looked at my things, I started to think about what I really needed. Why do I need a dresser? Why do I need throw pillows? Do I really need a set of 8 dishes? This is my space. What is right for me?

    In my case, I find the idea of getting a dresser and all the “must haves” of a home unnecessary. There are other options for me. What do I really need, and what are just some nice things to have? How many pans do I really need to make a tasty dinner? After all, everything I purchase takes up physical and mental space.

    This line of thinking is similar to the constant evolution that happens in successful coworking spaces. You might have heard that you must have x, y, or z for your space. One manager might try x and then determine it’s not right for the community. Another manager might ignore the community members’ reactions to the change and just say that, if you are going to do it right, you’re going to do it this way. Don’t do that. Don’t ignore your community.

    Question everything. Question if you should be providing food. Question if the events you put on are the right types of events. Question everything you do and don’t do for the space and community. The coworkers will tell you what they want and need. You just need to look and listen.

    The most vibrant spaces I have seen are constantly changing. They listen to their coworkers and adapt. They test something new quickly and move on if it isn’t working. After all, coworking is a constant startup. You can build processes that keep everything going, however, with each new person the community and the vibe changes.

    Stay inquisitive. Don’t rest on success. Push forward, grow, and improve.

    You won’t regret it.

    For all of you coworkers out there, it is just as important for you to communicate with the space managers as it is for them to listen. Not all your ideas will work or be possible, however, it is important to be present and an active member of the space. Think of the coworking space and coworker interaction as a relationship. It only works when both sides care enough to work together.