Shared workspace or the concept of coworking was not created out of the blue. Companies have long experimented with shared workspace and measured its impact on workers. Several studies have been conducted to measure its influence on productivity, communication, creativity, and community.
Various experiments with different kinds of communal workspaces existed long before coworking movement started like the Hawthorne experiment as you will see below.
SHARED WORKSPACE FOR PRODUCTIVITY AND COMMUNICATION
The power of working in collaboration first caught researchers’ attention in 1920s and ’30s through Hawthorne studies.
This study separated six workers at the Western Electrics Hawthorne factory in order to study how lighting affects performance. They conducted a series of experiments where the amount of light was diminished in phases, and assessed the workers’ performance. The study showed that productivity increased when workers performed under improved lighting. But what really surprised the researchers was the fact that productivity increased again, even when the lights were set back to their dim starting level.
The Hawthorne experiment provided two main observations:
- When you are being observed, it has a psychological effect on workers. Regardless of the lighting, the workers continued to be productive just because they thought they were being observed.
- The study also pointed out the importance of social conditions in work life.
Hawthorne studies were drawn from working conditions in the context of factories. In Germany, however, The Quickborner Group started to apply the Hawthorne principle to the office environment. They started to pay attention to teams and social networks with a focus on enhancing communication. This introduced the idea of open space and flexible floor plans with clusters of desks.
These days companies make creative uses of space, guided to some degree by the idea that creative input will help increase creative output. As such, modern shared workspaces always tend to have a design-forward appeal.
SHARED WORKSPACE TREND CATCHES ON IN INDIA
The concept of shared working space is now starting to find several takers in India. According to LiveMint, a handful of companies are now providing shared workspaces to capture the trend and monetize underutilized commercial assets. One such company is IndiQube which is the brainchild of Rishi Das, also the co-founder and chairman of the company.
The idea came after Rishi found a gap in the market. Companies that were doing well could rent spaces in tech parks, but the smaller ones continued to work in apartments, dealing with landlords, power cuts or fear of deposit not being refunded. On the other hand, a shared workspace such as IndiQube supports you by providing benefits such as security, cafeteria, gymnasium, and even helps you hire employees for your startup.
In addition to providing a professional workspace, coworking has now become a movement. Shared workspaces are now identified as having a core set of principles – collaboration, openness, community, accessibility, and sustainability.