Have you noticed how inspiring a coworking community feels? From the moment you set foot inside, you’re more optimistic, productive, and ready to make things happen.
That feeling is no accident. It’s built right into the very idea of coworking. It comes from coworking’s core values or the shared vision of its owners and members.
According to Open Coworking, a global nonprofit that advocates for the coworking movement, the 5 core values of coworking are:
Let’s look at what each of these means for you and your fellow members of the coworking movement.
Although the word “coworking” is sometimes viewed as a play on the word “coworkers,” it actually has a deeper meaning. The “co” comes from community and refers to the idea of having a community spirit.
While coworking communities do have actual walls, the coworking movement is about metaphorically tearing down the walls that separate people. It’s about working together for a shared vision of the world, even when our individual goals are different.
Take a look at the following description of an early coworking prototype from 1971, developed by IBM in an effort to design new, non-territorial offices for its employees:
“[N]ot only are all office walls removed, but most desks and other permanent stations are eliminated as well. All work is performed at laboratory benches and large round tables, and an individual may choose to work anywhere in the area that suits him or is convenient.”
Sure sounds a lot like modern coworking, huh?
Being open to new ideas and new methods of working is another core value of coworking. Everyone is invited into the space, regardless of background, ability, or industry. Although participation in the community may be membership-based, every member of the public is welcome.
In the spirit of openness, the Open Coworking organization summarizes the core value of openness in the following pledge for coworking communities:
We’ll be open. What we do and how we do it will be shared, as much as we reasonably can, with those who are interested in participating and with the general public.
We’ll be neutral. So much of the power and beauty of coworking reside in its freedom to be interpreted differently by each person who finds it. We are here to celebrate the entirety of coworking and the good it can do in the world, without limiting the scope of what it can be.
We’ll maintain a spirit of positivity and goodwill. The movement has been built on a foundation of positivity and collaboration that must be preserved and extended as much as possible, so those who find this movement may better realize their dreams of a better world with our help.
Unlike a traditional office environment or working from home, coworking offers the benefit of collaboration. Although all companies claim they have plenty of camaraderie, in reality, the opposite is true. Most offices have more competition than collaboration.
Collaboration is a crucial part of any coworking community. After all, it’s a primary reason people choose coworking: to network, expand their social circles, and soak in the inspiration that comes with being around other people.
Coworking communities are designed to be accessible to all people. In fact, there are certain telltale signs that a coworking community is inclusive, like:
- An open floor plan
- A welcoming culture
- Community events
- Inclusive pricing options
- On-site staff and safety plans
- A lively social media presence
If accessibility is a major concern to you, take a look at your coworking community and see how it fares on the factors above. This will tell you whether you and your coworking space share the same core values.
New research shows that coworking is more environmentally-friendly and more sustainable than traditional work options. Why? Because it offers a wide variety of business services within a relatively small space. It holds high productivity per square foot.
Unlike a huge, old office building with only a few people inside, a coworking community is designed for maximum efficiency. Every person has the resources they need. Every bit of the space is put to good use.