Community is increasingly becoming the buzzword for any flexible work space. It is considered to be at the heart of a successful work space and is one of the most important factors for any new customer. There are numerous benefits in having a collaborative community in the workplace, such as knowledge sharing, increasing business opportunities and maintaining the overall happiness of those working in that community.
We take a look at the factors that make for a good community.
The space itself is central to creating the right environment and atmosphere to encourage collaboration between individuals and companies.
A mix of communal or breakout areas are essential for a collaborative community as they provide a place in the workplace where individuals can informally meet to discuss ideas and meet new people. For example, a large kitchen area with seating and tables will often be found in successful centres forming the hub of the workplace as individuals chat over coffee or lunch.
Breakout areas don’t have to simply be a table and chairs; it could be a roof terrace, a reception area, an onsite cafe or even a games room with a ping pong table.
Collaboration is about networking, whether it’s between colleagues or individuals from different businesses
Networking events, whether internal or external, are a major opportunity for collaboration and encouraging individuals to network with each other. They bring people together from a multitude of difference business backgrounds, allowing useful connections to be made as well as being a great way of publicising what you might have to offer as a business. Examples include talks by industry relevant speakers, debates, discussion groups or even a meet and great or show and tell style event.
Industry groups, whether you join as an individual or a company, provide access to other businesses that might be looking to collaborate on specific matters, and can be a more tailored approach to finding the right network to grow your business. As well as industry boards, sites such as find networking events are a great way to see what’s coming up in your area.
Arguably the most important factor for creating a good community is ensuring the right mix of businesses within a building. A variety of different businesses that complement each other in some shape or form is usually a good start to creating a collaborative community. Not only are like-minded businesses more likely to share ideas and even work together, but they are more likely to all get on well with each other, resulting in a happy workplace.
Some providers offer apps to help encourage businesses to meet where both offer a complementary service, whilst others simply do it by word of mouth or community managers.
There are also providers that specifically focus on certain types of occupiers, with stricter barriers of entry, for example innovation-led or tech-only businesses, in order to create the right community within their centre.
A good community does not necessarily need to be all of the above, but it is important to get the right mix, as often the stronger the community the more likely a business is to stay with that building or provider.