In the Summer of 2013 we initiated a significant pivot in our business. For almost six years Conjunctured has welcomed coworkers into our house here in East Austin. The success of our space, as well as the success of thousands of coworking spaces around the world, has convinced us that now is the time for coworking to open itself into the rest of the world of work.
To that end, we have developed a Consulting Model and Program based in coworking- Corporate Coworking.
In conjunction with the Nov 2013 launch of Drew’s newest book, The Fifth Age of Work, our focus is to open coworking into the world of work. Our goal here is to help companies build a coworking ecosystem within their organizations, as a kind of Petri dish for serendipity, collaboration, and innovation. Part workspace design + part community management, we are leveraging our experience in coworking to help other organizations attend to their cultures in new ways. Conventional corporate culture consulting is a tired, Baby Boomer legacy. Corporate coworking, by contrast, is an organic and authentic platform for evolving cultures into places where top Gen Y talent will want to work in the future.
Our consulting process focuses equally on space and people.
“They are launching a pioneering initiative called corporate coworking, bringing the coworking model into the heart of the corporate body in order to reshape and revitalize corporate structure so they attract and retain the best minds the U.S. workforce has to offer.” - How a Coworking Space Imagines Corporate Coworking by Eva Dameron, 7/23/2013
Across the corporate landscape companies in different industries are embracing the concept of Activity Based Work (ABW). ABW is a workplace/workforce management approach where offices are designed as a series of neighborhoods and employees are provided a laptop and a locker. No one (including the CEO) has a fixed work station. People come and go and work when and where they choose. ABW is…corporate coworking, ABW has powerful democratizing effects on organizations. While ABW began as a resource management solution, it has evolved into a culture change process.
Corporate coworking is our approach to ABW. We see this as a new corporate imperative. Is your company overly committed to yesterday’s legacy systems in terms of how you define and manage your workspaces? Do you allow workers the freedom, choice, and autonomy that today’s young knowledge workers demand? Do you have a workplace (culture) where top talent wants to work? Is your overall human capital management process really driving innovation? What is the likelihood that you will be a talent magnet over the coming years?
We start with space to set the context. Then we advocate a policy agenda that extends maximum choice and flexibility to workers. People work best on things they care about and have a hand in creating. The goal is increased organizational energy, corporate fitness, sustainable innovation, and a company community that you and your people are proud to call home.
People & Culture
Coworking and Human Resource Management
At the end of the day coworking is about people. This intersects with the domain of human resource management. What sorts of people is your company able to attract? Are they the best and brightest of the rising generation of digital talent? Are they working on things that matter to them? Are the right people working in the right places? Are the right people being promoted and developed? How innovative is your workforce?
The Conjunctured Model is a Space-Driven Model of cultural change. We know that where and how people interact in space can change that interaction and people’s relationships. We don’t like to talk about values, beliefs, and the various “ideas” that people need to have. Rather, we believe that people naturally want to interact with others in the organic ways that occur in coworking spaces. To that end, in between our measurements and assessments, we let the actual participants- coworkers- define and lead the change themselves. Adults don’t need to be told what to do, they just need the opportunities to be themselves.
- Introductory presentation at Client’s office- “Coworking and the Fifth Age of Work- Benefits and Opportunities for Today’s Companies.”
- Follow up Coworking Workshop @ Conjunctured: 2 days of facilitated coworking at Conjunctured, to dip toes into the coworking flow.
- Measurement of organizational energy via our Fitness Index, establishing a baseline of employee feedback on communication, purpose, and alignment of personal goals with company strategy, harnessing of human energy, etc.
- Identification of areas of dissonance and poor alignment, followed by targeted workshops to address problem areas (such as ineffective or poorly utilized workspace design, levels of employee engagement and energy, flexible work arrangements, communication and access to top management).
- If a firm is ready to firmly commit to its evolution, we intervene with a Conjunctured Designed coworking space on your campus. We have six years of experience managing a community of innovators in our space. Managed with our proprietary community management platform, we schedule events, manage the flow of workers, guests, guest speakers, facilitated meetings, and yes, we’ll make sure there is coffee, music, and appropriate vibe in the space every day. We envision corporate coworking spaces as Spark Spaces, helping bring people together in a catalytic environment, to build community, commitment, and greater levels of engagement, serendipity, and collaboration.
3 month, 6 month, and 12 month follow-up Fitness Index surveys to monitor progression of individual and organizational goals, accompanied by in-person and written reports that analyze data and trends.
Space & Design
The Workspace Design Process
We start the journey to corporate coworking with a thorough understanding of the current state of affairs regarding workspace design and utilization. On average, corporate workspaces are utilized at around 40%-50%, whereas ABW workplaces are utilized at over 80% efficiency.
- Space utilization assessment. Through our utilization survey, employee interviews, and ‘walk-around’ observations over several days, we take a snapshot of current usage patterns.
- Draw out issues and concerns shared by stakeholders, and discuss with senior management
- Design appropriate spaces that mix and combine open spaces with adequate private spaces to accommodate the needs of the staff.
Coworking is unlike many of today’s purely open offices, which offer workers no variety, no choice, no peace and quiet. Companies sometimes opt for ‘open office plans’ not because they spike collaboration but because they can pack more people in a given space like sardines. Our approach to corporate coworking recognizes that there is as much need for privacy and heads-down work as there is for open and collaborative spaces. The key is to find the right mixture for each company’s needs and design that in a bespoke manner.