As many start-ups become more technology focused, ironically it seems that the physical and cultural aspects of modern organisations have, in-turn, become more important than ever. The creation of new collaborative working environments is showing no sign of slowing down – this proving that the ‘San Fran’ way of working wasn’t simply a phase in London; it’s increasingly proving its success and worth through its rapid expansion across the UK.
The hazed belief that co-working communities were simply the latest hangout spots packed with wannabe entrepreneurial millennials vilifying suits and corporate environments (whilst drinking their triple, venti, half-sweet, non-fat, almond milk macchiatos) has ultimately been busted. The way people work has changed and UK cities are facing the music; the best ideas are no longer happening in traditional workspace set-ups. The new progressive co-working spaces offer not only a business home-base; but continual opportunity for collaboration, with entrepreneurs rotating through the environment – each individual offering their own knowledge, opinion and insight.
Much of today’s progressive business thought is being born, nurtured and grown within the co-working culture shift, and it’s for exactly that reason why existing co-working organisations should witness one another as a members of larger community – a community greater and more powerful than themselves individually. In other words, they should be supporting and aiding the growth of the changing working behaviour together – allowing new business to flourish with and within them.
The old saying goes ‘many hands make light work’ – and perhaps it’s only just occurred to me that the ‘light’ that’s being referred to was that of idea and thought. To achieve greater success, support must exist on all fronts. Viewing similar businesses as rivals has become antiquated and must, therefore, be diminished within the industry. Comparable to a family, some co-working organisations have different personalities and traits. Some may have more money than others, some may be substantially smaller, and one – well, it might just be a little weird; but these differences have to be utilised through mutual referrals, recommendations, shared events and by showing encouragement for one another. Just like the workers based within their own spaces, they are not rivals – they should be there to offer their help and support. When businesses help aid these culture shifts, the change occurs with more success and power; with everybody ultimately celebrating development together.
Of equal importance, co-working organisations shouldn’t expect to retain memberships forever and should continue to support the members of these communities when they move on. It’s the people that make these spaces work, ultimately. These spaces are continually churning out credible entrepreneurs, many whom have have now moved into their own larger spaces due to the need for expansion; there’s nothing wrong with ‘graduating’ from a co-working environment. Similarly, a freelancer or smaller business who never plan to grow should happily be able to call a co-working space their permanent home – success is company-specific, and this should be celebrated by the environments in which they are, or were once, housed.
The ideology of a successful co-working hub would be one leading this emerging ecosystem; encouraging other spaces to open – contributing to a start-up scene which resultantly feeds the economic, collaborative and creative growth of a city in need. Co-working organisations should co-work with each other or they’re in danger of being left behind – strength comes in numbers and unity. Relationships have to be built in order to sustain healthy communities. Culture shifts may be sparked by individuals, but it’s the many hands that make the light work.