How agile is your coworking space? How quickly can it adapt to changing needs during the day?
The term agile is a broad term that looks at the flexibility and dexterity of an object or a space, measured over a period of time. Agility becomes most powerful when you look at its immediate dexterity, its ability to perform a difficult action quickly and skilfully, and to adjust to the needs of the users.
In a workspace, the ability for the environment to alter to accommodate employee’s needs is rare, unless perhaps you’re talking about a large corporate with deep pockets and committed to agile working. But the value in having a flexible ecosystem that caters intrinsically for the array of minds that exist in it is powerful.
The 4 C’s of A Space
No two people are the same and our brains require different environments depending on the task. Architects talk about the four C’s of a space —
- The ability to accommodate Community — gatherings and interactions
- The opportunity for Concentration — focused attention and calm
- The encouragement of Collaboration — both planned and unplanned
- The capacity to Compose — to take time out and boot up again
Now imagine your coworking space offering this diverse setting to your community? But instead of fixed zones with roles set in stone, imagine a more fluid array of components which can be easily organized based on the schedule. Moveable smart furniture and acoustic screens, modular huddle pods which can be combined or separated, tiered seating & lightweight stools, curtains for visual and acoustic zoning.
This blog by Diane Butterworth is a great starting place. I highly recommend it as an entry point to discovering some of the tools you can use.
Neuro-Inclusive Huddle Spaces
The ingredient of a huddle space is a key one. Proven to cater to neuro-inclusivity, providing all brains with a sanctuary space where deep work and engagement can occur… set up for the proverbial ‘water cooler’ moment in key spots. This moment is real and companies consider these interactions between coworkers or co-habitants to be important and necessary to spark collaboration and successful teamwork, generating IP for the organization.
Looking to the future of agility in the workplace, CBRE released a report in August on the Future of Furniture, investigating how these tools will evolve in the years to come. That includes a world where furniture must be flexible, hackable, circular (i.e. changeable and repairable) and cleanable. Another element these forward thinking furnishings will have is the ability to act intuitively and to provide insights around the wellbeing and personal trends of the users of those objects. And of course they will be USB C enabled!
In the long run we predict digital meetings becoming normal, and the way we set up, prepare and use spaces is going to have to undergo the same changes. We see a future of ‘smarter spaces’ with the eventual advent of ‘furniture as a service’. This kind of freedom doesn’t need to ask for permission, it’s happening because the market demands it. It calls for you to step out of the box, to take a bold stance and create a competitive edge to your coworking space and to offer your coworking community environments in which they can thrive. Matching the dexterity of the intention of your space with the physical capability, results in an ecosystem that is responsive and tuned in to all who work in it.
Don’t be left wishing you’d taken my advice, and that of the industry experts, instead of spending revenue on mundane tools for your space. Coworking as a concept is leading the new ways of working revolution. Your coworking environment should too.