As our modes of work evolve, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses and former office workers are turning to coworking to meet a range of professional and wellbeing needs. Works Community Manager Brianna and Community Ambassador Cat have seen, first-hand, how coworkers are flourishing in what they believe is the working environment of the future.
Here, they share their top 5 reasons why people thrive in coworking spaces.
5 – Professional Networks and Opportunities
Works has an established network of local partnerships which enable them to provide residents with sponsorships, learning opportunities and startup assistance, Brianna says. “There are so many tangible benefits available through our funding and partnerships with organisations like The Icehouse, where we can sponsor business owners on a range of courses being offered or, on a case-by-case basis, we also sponsor early and growth-stage businesses who may need a bit more of a runway to get to their next phase.” These connections and early-stage assistance can be game-changing for any new business in Canterbury, or for those who are looking to level up to their next phase.
4 – Unexpected Connections and Collaborations
The cross-industry nature of coworking spaces leads to serendipitous collaboration, access to a wide range of subject matter expertise and continual networking opportunities. “You get this really unique environment to connect with people in completely different businesses and industries,” Cat says, “so you can learn from other people’s journeys of starting or running a business, and get the benefit of their troubleshooting expertise. Even if you’re in a completely different industry or phase of your career, you can find common ground. Here, you will find a CEO and a recent university graduate working side-by-side.” The key for Works, Brianna says, has been to create spaces for building genuine relationships and connections across barriers and industries. “We’re proud to have a really diverse range of users from different fields and backgrounds. As a result, what happens here goes far beyond the institutional or industry expertise exchange you might find in a traditional office.”
3 – Curated Culture
Works offers a lively but professional space with a lot of well-thought-out events, policies and practices which support its overall culture. From lifestyle benefits like bringing your dog to work and barista training for residents, to daily nice-to-haves like a residents’ quiz at morning tea, the Works team is creating the kind of space that they, themselves, would want to work in. “We really work hard to create a sense of community, which we know is particularly important for people who are working as solo entrepreneurs or who are maybe the only Christchurch-base member of a distributed team,” Brianna says. “There’s a huge amount of thought that goes into every detail of a space like this: the layout, the design, the soundproofing, the plants. Our goal is to cater to everyone here and ensure that they all have exactly what they need in an environment which supports them to achieve their goals.”
2 – Stress-Free Support
In terms of wraparound support, coworking really can pip both remote working and office working in terms of wellbeing, flexibility and infrastructure. “Everything at Works is ready to go, so you can just walk in with your laptop whenever you want and get stuck in,” Cat says. “That flexibility is a huge draw for a lot of residents, particularly around COVID, and the mental health benefits of working here when compared to working remotely can be really attractive as well: having somewhere outside of your home where you can step away from your desk, even just to talk about the weather, and removing those working-from-home distractions.” Brianna adds, “We can help reduce the stress around aspects like overhead costs and infrastructure. We’re on top of legislative and operational stuff like Health & Safety, even within the changing COVID environment. And the hospitality and lifestyle amenities are pretty huge. Your cleaning, your connectivity, your safety, your printing, your unlimited coffee – we’ve got all that covered, and probably for less overhead cost than you’d have in a traditional office.”
1 – He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. (It’s the people, it’s the people, it’s the people.)
Brianna and Cat agree that the number one reason that coworkers thrive is the community. “Coworking definitely helps to combat the sense of loneliness that some people feel when working remotely,” Brianna says. “Works helps bring people together with a sense of oneness and motivation.” “I think it’s also really beneficial that you have this common safe space to work where the people around you can see your stress levels and support you,” Cat adds. “Maybe someone isn’t feeling quite themselves and it’s about more than just business. There are lifelong friendships and partnerships forming here which provide opportunities for our residents to connect about their lives in a way which is sometimes more accessible than it would be with their immediate coworkers in an office.”