Enhancing the Benefits of Coworking Spaces Through Design


Coworking spaces are gaining popularity as the rise of freelance work grows. These spaces offer communal facilities where professionals of various fields can work alongside each other, collaborate and share resources, thus creating a symbiotic relationship linked to a common workplace. Furthermore, it is theorized that freelancers with flexible work hours work better if surrounded by others. 

What makes coworking spaces successful? Working in a place away from home––where isolation could be a problem––or away from distractions––which is a common problem when working in coffee shops––increases productivity. When working surrounded by others, the user feels encouraged to work and encourages others in return. Coworking helps freelancers and small companies to create networks and support each other. Multidisciplinary collaboration can be a big bonus when it comes to sharing a common workplace, as it often leads to partnerships and long-term business relationships. Socialization and the change of scenery that accompanies working in a shared space can be beneficial for professionals in creative industries, through inspiring them and allowing them to perform by engaging with their peers in search of feedback or inspiration. 

How can you optimize these spaces to better suit the needs of professionals practicing coworking? Whether you are looking for a perfect coworking space to work in or are planning to design one, here are tips that help lead to an optimized coworking space.

Change of Scenery

Enhancing the Benefits of Coworking Spaces Through Design

Fosbury & Sons Co-Work by GOING EAST

A common theme when researching the many benefits of coworking is how the change of scenery can enhance creativity and performance in general. People seeking coworking spaces are often freelancing in the hopes of avoiding cubicle offices and monotone spaces. In addition, working from home as opposed to a coworking space can be detrimental, as there is no scenery change or separation between home and work, which can lead to feelings of isolation and creative blocks. Achieving a change of scenery inside a coworking space is ideal, as the user doesn’t have to leave the premises, thus breaking their focus. The Fosbury & Sons Co-Work Offices in Antwerp, Belgium, does an excellent job of creating different atmospheres in the same building, allowing users to hop from one scenery to the next without interrupting their workflow. 


Enhancing the Benefits of Coworking Spaces Through Design

Woo Space by hyperSity Office

Designing socialization spaces where users can mingle and share ideas is key for peak performance. These spaces should encourage gathering facilitators, such as open kitchen plans where users can take coffee breaks; sitting areas where users can either take breaks or work with their peers in a more relaxed environment; communal desks where users can work elbow-to-elbow with others, thus creating a sense of community even if they’re working in different fields.

Mixed-Use Spaces

Enhancing the Benefits of Coworking Spaces Through Design

New Lab Co-Working Space by Marvel Architects

One coworking space can house a wide variety of professionals, each with different space requirements and needs for privacy. One user can shift their spatial needs drastically throughout the day, depending on their state of mind and the task at hand. To cater to each of these needs, a holistically designed coworking space must consider different levels of privacy for its users, ranging from private office spaces to open plan communal spaces. To avoid turning the project into a maze, spaces should be planned to fit seamlessly with each other, keeping the project’s layout fluid and programmatically connected. By keeping the spaces related––either by connecting them visually or building hybrid spaces––the user experiences fewer distractions when changing scenery, as it is stated in the previous point. 


Enhancing the Benefits of Coworking Spaces Through Design

Sinergia Cowork Palermo by Emilio Magnone + Marcos Guiponi

Including nature in workplaces is theorized to be beneficial for productivity and mental health. Nature can come in the form of greenery, natural light and other natural elements described in depth by the Biophilic Design trend. Greenery can be included as a visual decoration, carefully arranged inside the project, or through a visual connection with an internal patio or natural surroundings. Light can be brought in through skylights and glass facades, making sure the light is properly tamed to bring users an optimal environment.

Open Spaces

Enhancing the Benefits of Coworking Spaces Through Design

The Yardhouse by Assemble

Open spaces allow for layout flexibility, which can be useful as users may want to rearrange their working space for various activities. Some coworking spaces––such as The Yardhouse––aimed at artists and other professionals needing workshop areas, include completely naked layouts for their users to shape and use as needed.

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Comments (1)

Beth M • 2017

Pretty cool.