Best Practices for Building Creative Cluster Coworking Centres
The goal of this report is offer learning and insight that will help to create and develop your own optimal coworking spaces. Community, togetherness, sharing, borrowing instead of buying and open source. Society is looking for new ways of being and this is ty-pified by the growth of coworking. But what makes one centre better than another? What are the keys to being loved by your members?
The authors visited 15 leading coworking centres in Helsinki, Paris and London to find out.
Place: The environment needs to be zoned.
A creative and welcoming reception, a café – if critical mass allows it – plus a community kitchen. Comfortable seats, desks and great Internet is a must, zoned in quiet and ‘not-so-quiet’ areas. Spaces for making phone calls or having brief meetings prevent quiet workers from being disturbed. Conference rooms should have glass doors or windows, so it is easy to see if the room is occupied. Attention to detail is vital: lockers, coat racks, a member’s information area and a photo board, so it is easy to know who is who. The best centres combine functional excellence with a great feeling of excitement the moment you walk through the door.
Event space is crucial: Some centres have the luxury of a dedicated space, others must re-arrange the coworking areas after hours. Each centre’s reputation is in part built on the quality and variety of its events, which should always be open to non-members. Many centres are very creative with their presentation spaces. Inspired by many of the ideas we saw in other centres, we developed our own stage for multi-flexible uses and purposes.
Community Rituals: Each centre can mix it up, but needs to have enough regular community building activities and events happening to keep the centre alive. Daily events could in-clude forum messages and random snacks provided by members in the kitchen. Weekly events could include community lunches and new member welcomes. Monthly events could include show and tell, happy hour and attending external events together. Annual events could include bar camps, anniversary party and an office clean-up or rearrangement.
Hosts are important: Combining a friendly welcome for new members with a networking role amongst existing coworkers. It is the host who may see connections between members and can help bring people together.