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Why Open Plan Coworking?

8th September 2011

Imagine working with psychologists, lawyers, travel experts, film makers, fashion producers, social innovators, graphic designers, engineers, technologists ……. Or imagine that you have a client meeting and you want to have a great first meeting and all you had to do was set an appointment with the in-house psychologist for body language tips. Finally imagine that you have a quick legal question and you can turn to the person next to you for some advice. This is what happens in our coworking spaces on a daily basis.

What has been very interesting to observe is how this behaviour has happened across two very different cities and cultures. When we were in the observation period for our coworking space in New York we began to collect data from the altruistic action that had been occurring in the space in London for the past 1.5 years. Being that the behaviours were consistent for a significant time period led us to a space hypothesis. In other words the layout and size of the space played a key role in the how people were behaving. We noticed that members were “forced” to say hello due to the small size of the space. There was also little room for anonymity due to the open plan configuration. In short members cannot hide from each other. The issue of confidentiality has come up, however our member community is so diverse that it has not been a problem. In fact the open plan of the coworking space has helped members create a sense of trust in each other are more willing able pass on their knowledge and ideas. This is one of the many qualities that coworking spaces offer over getting a private office.