CAN COWORKING SPACES MOULD THE PROFESSIONAL IDENTITIES OF ITS MEMBERS?

Harvard Business Review

Since the advent of the first coworking space in 2005, over 14,000 spaces have cropped up around the world. Unlike office spaces of the bygone era, today’s coworking offices have evolved into business hubs that support the needs of organizations of variant scales.

As per a research study by the Harvard Business Review, coworking impact individual professionals in significant ways – via the amenities offered, branding, close-knit cultures, and unique aesthetics. Apart from experiencing greater levels of flexibility and adaptability in a dynamic environment, they engage themselves with a stronger sense of community. However, how do curated coworking cultures impact the professional identities of its members? Let’s find out.

Multiple researches have collaborated with a host of coworking spaces in order to survey over 10,000 individual members across the globe. While 71% of the workforce worked full-time, the remaining 29% comprised of business owners, contractors, freelancers, and part-time professionals. In some surveys, they had been asked to rate (on a scale of 1 to 5) their level of identity association with their coworking partner versus their respective organizations.

While a sizeable number of individuals associated strongly with their businesses, a great number of professionals deemed their office spaces indispensable in terms of identity formation and individual growth. The latter featured higher identity scores for both their respective organizations and their coworking space, and experienced higher levels of productivity and creativity at work. This occurred as a result of the alignment between company values and work environment.

Why does this happen? The reasoning is quite simple – these spaces grant members with a sense of professionalism and credibility that traditional workplaces do not. A typical coworking space in Gurgaon is viewed as a symbol of professional “legitimacy”, even a source of pride and prestige for some. Location and amenities offered play a seminal role in this respect, which also add a significant amount of value to professionals:

“I feel like my company values me – the atmosphere and buzz of the coworking space grants my work a sense of importance.”

This is a recurring emotion among the coworking professionals in the survey, highlighting the impact of these spaces on employee image. These spaces also allow new and emerging businesses to make a positive impression on potential clientele, while allowing them to craft a well-polished, refined professional identity. A company’s openness to change and flux, which ultimately creates visibility and ushers growth, is often shaped by their work environments on a day-to-day basis.

The takeaway? The choice to work in these spaces stems from urges that are practical, financially-backed, and culturally-driven. Coworking simplifies the access to and occupation of a professional office space while nurturing a unique sense of belonging among its members. Now, with the rise of niché workspaces, we can hope for the assimilation of diverse socio-cultural groups, along with dynamic work modules. This, in turn, will lead to the formation of individual and collective identities, which shall contribute richly to their personal and professional lives at the same time.

Hence, coworking not only molds professional identities but also allow businesses to thrive in the volatile and uncertain business world.

IA Team

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