Transform your corporate office into an open internal coworking space
First of all, let’s clarify one thing.
Coworking is not an office with a cool design or cutting-edge technology. It is not a space that offers flexibility of use, perks, ergonomics, healthy and/or sustainable space. It is not designed furniture or a matter of certificates. It is nothing of this. These are the side effects of something much more shocking and transgressive. You need to go much further to reap the great benefits of a model that is centered on human collaboration based on generosity, openness and honesty.
Do you want your company to get a source of sustainable competitive advantage? Do you want to reduce the costs related to the square meters you occupy? Do you want to attract talent and reduce staff turnover naturally? Do you want your employees to be aligned with your values, with your mission? Of course, you want, who does not? Do not miss a world of innovation, participation and passion because your fear of failure and change dominate you.
The first thing you should do is take the blue pill (I do not talk about Viagra), share, prepare to give before receiving and stay open. This is the key to our future and the engine of the progress of the human race. Do not settle for your current comfort because it will turn against you.
The second thing to do is an internal reflection: Recognize that your most important asset does not appear in your Balance. Realize now, if you have not already done so, that the people you work with (employees and collaborators) are the most important thing in a company. At the bottom of that is precisely what Coworking is about.
A true coworking space is a matter of ecosystem, of family, of sharing not only an infrastructure but a vision, a motivation, a way of living, of thinking and definitely of working. This is what makes a dynamic, living community.
You do not have to suddenly decide to change everything. But you can start experimenting and measuring. These would be the four steps to adopt coworking, from least to the greatest impact and results:
Provide a creative and flexible space that facilitates collaboration among employees of your company. Without external agents, you want your employees to share knowledge and to encourage innovative thinking. This first step is easy to implement and will provide you and your employees with a safe and controlled environment to start collecting data on behaviors. It is important to highlight here the fundamental role of design and architecture, which should be conceptualized to encourage collaboration and interactions, as well as making space more flexible in the working forms as well as in the schedules we work.
Example: Suez Spain (Agbar), just re-designed one of its offices in Barcelona to provide flexible space with hot desks, open space and common areas as well as to offer flexible work arrangements to their employees in order to attract and retail the talent.
Give your employees the possibility to work outside the usual office, in a place where they will get authentic infusions of creativity and collaboration. This step is especially important to make your employees do that internal «click» so necessary to adopt this new culture. The immediate results will be that it will facilitate the mobility of employees by giving them multiple office options, also providing them with a new range of activities and contacts. You will get a new source of access to talent and reduce your fixed costs (if you really implement it on a large scale).
Example: Many of them. Hotels Combined (KAYAK), an Australian company, its employees, for example, work from Coworking spaces around the world, but there are many young corporations that decided that having their own space was more a leverage that a symbol of status.
Can you imagine that ALL your employees worked in coworking spaces? This implies giving up a property or rental space for exclusive use. This step already offers an impact result because suddenly all your workers will be in a shared knowledge environment, where the collaboration expands ceasing to be only internal. Your employees will have freedom and flexibility and will be inspired by other agents external to the company. At this point, I highlight the risks that I have detected as manager of coworking spaces: the dichotomy of the corporate culture, the limited disruption and evidently that the confidentiality and security of a corporate office may be broken. If you take this step you must be aware that each Coworking space has a community and its own identity and that it must fit with the business culture of your company.
Example: Toughtworks decided to embrace coworking already in 2016.
Without a doubt, this is what really has an impact on a company. An internal coworking space open to individuals external to the organization, whether by invitation or not. Despite the operational complexity (operational management) and the potential shock that you can experience between your entrepreneurial culture and that of entrepreneurs, the benefits are brutal. In addition to a strong brand positioning with which your employees identify themselves, you will obtain a source of fresh innovation, an improvement in productivity, efficiency and ultimately the happiness of your employees.
Example: The Spanish company Endesa decided that open innovation was key to develop digital solutions for them launching the Open Power Space. Orange opened La Villa Bonne Nouvelle in France, defined by them as the Corporate Coworking Orange space to innovate.
So my recommendation is that at least you stop for a second and reflect on this. Do not be afraid to take these steps. We can help you For us this is not just a job but the opportunity to meet interesting, courageous people; to contribute in the management of change and to give diffusion to a way of working that has changed our lives and that of our clients.
If you have any questions, we will be happy to resolve it. You can contact us here.
This article was written by HWL agency partner Jordi Subiras and also posted on his Linkedin.
Featured image provided by Station F.