Two research scientists, Peter Bacevice and Lyndon Garrett, talked to Alex Hillman about a series of studies they conducted about why people choose coworking. The two are from the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan.
What is thriving?
Thriving is about how you see yourself improving, learning, and growing. It is how people are doing their best work while learning from it and enjoying it. Thriving is what it feels like when you are doing your best work. In order to thrive, it is necessary to understand what parts of your environment contribute to productivity and help facilitate it.
Why are people spending money for a place to work?
There are a range of answers as to why people spend money to cowork. However, the most recurring theme is the community it provides. All the other, more pragmatic reasons for coworking were not sufficient enough.
There are different ways a sense of community emerges. As people show up looking for or wanting community, a sense of belonging is created. Sense of community is further refined as people spend time in the space and eventually become involved in it. Not everyone is actively engaged in the community, but they can still feel it based on observing it around them. There is always the potential to be a part of it if they wanted.
Coworking does a good job creating a sense of community because of the lack of structure. Members have so much autonomy and independence that their relationships with each other can form organically. They form in a more authentic way as opposed to the structured and role based relationships of a typical workplace.
Place attachment is when a certain place gives a sense of refuge and prospect. It is the idea that there is a safe place, sense of home or permanence, associated with a place. However, this place also provides new areas and possibilities to explore.
This notion helps explain why people get attached to their hometown, community, or any kind of work place. Since the same people are there, it gives sense of comfort. When you need to talk, you feel safe approaching someone. The possibility of community is just as important to some people as being involved in it. People need to be reminded of the community that surrounds them so this potential is reinforced. You cannot force people to get actively involved or it loses the authenticity. While some people who take part in the community to make it observable and visible are needed for the people who are satisfied just by the possibility of it, it cannot be forced.