I often work from a co-working space, know several people who have started, run and invested in them, and know even more who work at them.
From what I’ve seen, heard, read, and experienced, co-working is here to stay. It’s become the new way of officing for mobile and traveling professionals, sole practitioners, and startup founders. Even big companies are retrofitting their facilities to mimic co-working spaces, or even creating them for their own employees.
But what I’ve also seen, heard, and experienced is that the “co-” is sorely missing: communication, cooperation, collaboration, and community. Sure, people greet one another, stop each other and have brief conversations, and periodically do business with one another. But there is not much true collaboration, cooperation, or community.
The bottom line is that everyone is there for him or herself. Our individual working needs come first and everything comes next. Changing our behavior is really tough, and as much as we all want to communicate, collaborate, and be part of a community, we find it hard to do on our own.
The only way to accomplish it is to make it someone’s job. Someone who is a community manager, cruise director, host, meeter/greeter, and connector. Someone whose sole purpose is to make sure that the “co” in co-working is actually working.