Coworking Spaces as Innovation Hotspots

Upflex CPO Ginger Dhaliwal on how the golden age of coworking is prompting a new wave of innovation.

We are in a new age of working together. More people are pursuing work for what they love and not what they can earn. The time is now for leaders to adopt new methods for investing in human capital.

Many famous startups share similar humble beginnings running operations from their home garages. As companies like Amazon, Harley Davidson, and Mattel grew, they moved to traditional offices. The founding dates of these companies span decades from the early 1900s to the late 1990s. Working in a garage without regulation no longer was workable at a point for all. Startups experienced a lack of space and little access to external technologies. Companies faced the decision to adapt to the changing conditions before them. Before they knew it, their strategies aligned with more corporate-like structures.

Adopting New Workforce Trends 

Creating synergy in an office environment presented challenges when barriers to communication increased. Closed doors and structural design reduced collaboration as companies grew. After a while, founders began to understand how co-creation brought innovation in the old garage. Garage startups may be a thing of the past, but coworking is here to stay. New spaces continue to rise, giving affordable access to talent, ideas, and technologies. It’s no wonder new incubators chose to combine with others within this environment.

Later, many companies transitioned into sourcing talent in the knowledge economy. Some even built 100% remote teams. With a focus on scaling, we see the age of the freelance worker, remote worker or, as we like to call it, the gig economy. This led telecommuters craving an environment away from their garages and loud cafes.  They discovered when working together in an open space, more great ideas, conversations and inspirataion was drawn from an amazing network of peers.

The Rise of Remote Work and Coworking Spaces 

Harvard Business Review reported 19,000 coworking spaces to exist around the world. Increased demand comes from remote work and creating culture-driven organizations. Other drivers include cloud technologies and mobile developments in today’s marketplace. It’s important not to think of coworking a compromise to remote work. Establishing brands in coworking environments is not about reducing overhead costs or cutting corners. It’s about collaboration, productivity, learning and growing with an economy of workers.

As human beings, we crave experiential learning environments that embody creativity and continuous improvement. With open layouts and professional diversity, products and services will evolve. Professionals also get to feel like people and not a number when working.

Increasing Collaboration Channels 

The open space and ease of communication are what drives innovation. Traditional barriers to communication are removed and conversations can flow. Developing relationships in this culture feels more meaningful and less transactional. The old office economy is no longer a blocker to generating new ideas and skills. Integration improves flexibility, open networking, and transparency. All coworking spaces serve as an innovation hotspot for all people involved.

Spaces can also exist inside of a current company. Zappos, Apple, and Google are examples of models with internal coworking environments. These spaces are not another office or meeting location – they serve as communities.

Four people sitting around a table. The table has pictures of people on it. One woman is moving one, another is happy.

Sourcing new talent and clients will result from coworking. Companies can now evaluate potential team leaders as employees work together. Performance evaluations are more meaningful when seeing how people work together.

Community and Innovation Development 

People focus better and work at their own pace without ever feeling rushed. When you feel like you are a part of a community, work and life balance become easier. An elevated sense of purpose creates meaningful work interactions for all those involved.

Gaining knowledge, friendships, and clients from networking create profound experiences for employees. Opportunities for learning from other people are missed without coworking environments. No matter how much passion you have for a business, it’s important to collaborate with others. Coworking has proven the value in collaborative work economies.