Not too long ago, co-working spaces showed up on the map. From WeWork to Impact Hub, Techspace, Industrious and more. And, they were “all the hype.” With more and more startups showing up that needed quick, flexible workspace solutions — it made sense. Today, companies like WeWork have a whopping 800 locations in 119 cities around the world. They have 49 locations in New York alone. These spaces have a basic on-demand membership model making it easy for small companies to occupy their spaces for short periods of time, or use these spaces “on-the-go.”
What’s the downside? While co-working spaces offer coffee, climbing walls and call-booths, they don’t give companies very much space to grow — and you certainly can’t build a culture that’s cohesive (or your own) when you’re bunched in with so many other random companies. So while we’ve seen the number of co-working spaces and their occupancy increase dramatically over the last several years, the data also tells us that it’s time for something new.
We call it a culture of choice.
As companies expand in size and scope, the positives of co-working spaces are quickly outweighed by the negatives— overcrowdedness, the hassle of finding a meeting room quickly and easily and the lack of privacy. Chief among these challenges is the complete absence of input companies have in choosing the kind of community they surround themselves with or culture they want to build.
In a co-working space, most companies automatically and unintentionally take on the identity of a “We-Work” or “Industrious,” but as companies grow, they need more. They need to be able to build communities that provide value to them, that help further their goals and vision, that allow employees to ‘network’ in a productive way.
Community is more paramount than ever when it comes to building company culture, but being able to build your culture by choice is the key to creating a successful work environment where your employees not only have a community but can thrive within that community. As employers view the office more and more as a space for collaboration, culture and meaningful employee connection, the role of the workplace is also shifting toward being more intentional — and this will be most defined — by the ability to bring the right kinds of companies and people together.
Rather than falling into the cogs of an ever-changing co-working machine, where surrounding companies are not only random but also changing by the day, companies need the opportunity to use and share spaces where they own the employee experience. By empowering companies with a culture of choice, you’ll allow for greater productivity, higher-efficiency networking and the ability to thrive in a community where everyone is offering each other mutual value.