The benefits of coworking are well documented. But recent research by the Harvard Business Review has unveiled some interesting new insight into how coworking spaces can actually boost your professional confidence.
There are hundreds of coworking articles listing the new phenomenon’s well-known perks. We’ve even covered them when figuring out whether flexible workspaces are here to stay. Spoiler alert: They are. Since the first coworking space opened in 2005, 14,000 more have popped up around the world. And the movement shows no sign of slowing down. So, before we dive into the research, let’s recap on the perks pushing up coworking space demand.
coworking spaces have popped up around the world since 2005.
The new research conducted by the Harvard Business Review says that coworking actually changes how you – and your employees – see yourselves.
The study actually found that flexible workspaces have the power to change your professional identity for the better. To some, this might sound surprising, especially to those who think a space is just a space and a desk is just a desk. But coworking offers an environment far beyond its four walls (or lack thereof).
Over the past few years, the Harvard Business Review set out to ask: “How do highly curated coworking cultures impact the professional identities of members and their organisations?”
The study observed the cocktail of features that come with coworking: amenities, branding, aesthetics and the dynamic culture that takes form when lots of different businesses and backgrounds buzz around under the same roof.
Beginning in 2017 and ending in 2018, the Harvard Business Review teamed up with WeWork to survey 1,000 people who used WeWork in America.
We found three key themes. Each highlights how coworking spaces can strengthen the way workers relate to their organizations and how they believe others (customers, other employees, competitors, etc.) perceive them.
In publishing the findings, the Harvard Business Review explained: “At a basic level, coworking is a service that simplifies the transaction of accessing and occupying a workspace. However, it is also a social product that nurtures a sense of belongingness to its members.
The surveys showed that:
The research found that “coworking spaces help new businesses make a positive impression on potential clientele.”
In an attempt to mix up her company’s reputation, one respondent actually moved to a WeWork to prove to her clients that she was willing and open to change.
Another respondent explained it’s a great way to look “energetic and future focused, instead of stodgy and stuck in the past.”
The study found that: “Coworking spaces give workers a sense of professionalism and credibility that traditional remote working does not”. Working from an actual office – rather than the startup fantasy of an edgy basement – signals credibility and legitimacy.
In fact, coworking spaces can help you take your work seriously, and can give off the impression that you are “a serious worker.”
Beyond this, where an employee’s flexible workspace is located plays a key role, with prestigious postcodes giving them a sense of “pride and confidence.”
The research discovered that: “Coworking spaces give workers a sense of professionalism and credibility that traditional remote working does not.”
When businesses pay for their employees to become members of coworking spaces like WeWork, employees feel as if their needs are being taken seriously.
When answering the survey, one respondent, who is based in a satellite office outside of their business’s HQ, explained: “We’re a bit of an outpost. However, we also know that it means we are important and worth the cost they’re spending to keep us together in an office setting.”
At a basic level, coworking is a service that simplifies the transaction of accessing and occupying a workspace. However, it is also a social product that nurtures a sense of belongingness to its members.
Beyond their benefits to professional identity, company reputation and belonging, there are economic benefits of coworking too. The term lengths of traditional office space have long been a cause of stress – particularly for startups or entrepreneurs who don’t really know what their headcount will be in one, three or five years.
Plus, you can use a flexible workspace brokerage (like us) at no cost to you to find the best deal for your business.