By John Arenas | October 8, 2012

What Grownups Want from Coworking

The proliferation of urban, hipster coworking facilities with their down-market, countercultural vibe has generated quite a bit of interest lately. Hundreds of community-centered “workplace catalysts” are now serving up exciting community workspace choices to independent, creative class workers who have absolute freedom to choose how, when and with whom they work.

Meanwhile, in the corporate realm, alternative workplace initiatives are liberating hundreds of thousands of middle and senior managers from traditional centralized offices. A generation of workers is being un-tethered from their desks. As companies rush to downsize and reinvent the centralized workplace, emancipated corporate workers are finding themselves working from home. Yet, over 80% of corporate workers still say they would rather not work from home due to isolation, distractions from work and interference with home life.

As an alternative or adjunct to working from home, most coworking options, as they have sprouted up so far, just aren’t located, designed, serviced or even meant to meet the standards of a professional workforce. And many corporate executives don’t feel comfortable working in the hip, techie terrariums or collectivist camps that have defined coworking spaces so far.

So is coworking not for grownups?

Independent research by StrategyOne, funded this year by Serendipity Labs, provides new insights into the coworking experience that corporate workers would create if they could. Over 150 corporate workers were recruited for a two month long, online research project. Participants loaded photos of their ideal workspaces, commented, and engaged in an ongoing online dialogue about their workplace needs. The participants came from a variety of industries and roles. The three groups of participants were: those without workplace flexibility, those with flexibility and corporate recruiters.

The research indicates corporate knowledge workers rank the top needs as follows:

  1. Spacious, clean design, natural light
  2. Location close to home, but not at home
  3. Quiet spaces, confidentiality, ability to focus
  4. Reliability of technology and services
  5. IT security, material and personal safety
  6. Flexible, inspiring , collaborative spaces
  7. Accessibility to transportation & amenities
  8. Social interaction, community, networking

Interestingly, according to secondary research, independent creative class workers also consistently named the same needs, but ranked their importance in almost the exact opposite order. We invite you to comment with your own insights. For additional findings of this research, contact us:

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