No one coworking space is the same. The interior style, the amenities offered, the type of workers, and the local needs all ensure the uniqueness of each space. However, a set of common values unites them all. These values originated with CitizenSpace in San Francisco, the first "work only" coworking space, and have spread throughout the coworking movement, largely in part due to the education efforts of Alex Hillman from Indy Hall in Philadelphia. These values have become a standard for the culture coworking spaces seek to create for their communities. CommonPoint's specific definition is italicized below each value.
CommonPoint is a space that puts emphasis on the people, their interactions, and the relationships that form above everything else.
Community is the most important value of a coworking space. Sure, we all love the bright colors, the free coffee, and the modern furniture, but the important piece in this puzzle is community. People join coworking spaces because working from home is lonely and unproductive, and coffee shops are unprofessional and distracting. Working from a shared space with other like-minded professionals helps improve your creativity, your networking, and your work habits.
CommonPoint is a space that encourages people to work together toward shared goals through the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and experience.
Collaboration goes hand-in-hand with community. Coworking lets you surround yourself with talented, local people with a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Coworking isn't designed to be a competition - it is a place where people share their successes and grow together. You can find a business partner, a new client, or advice on a specific project. Collaboration is the spark of innovation - the only way to make this world a better place is by working together.
CommonPoint is a space that believes transparency, member input, and the freedom of ideas benefit everyone.
As I mentioned earlier, coworking spaces vary greatly across the country and around the world. Born out of the "open source" tech movement, coworking is built on the concept that it can evolve based on new ideas and local needs, instead of sweeping decisions by a global company or authority. Locally, our goal is to encourage members to make the space their own (within reason).
CommonPoint is a space composed of willing self-selected participants that creates a positive and productive place to work.
Coworking is for anyone who can benefit from, give back to, and grow with the community. It is not a private club or organization, or a forced community. It is best described here:
CommonPoint is a space that persists and grows in a balanced, efficient, and sustainable way.
Sustainability is a key value on two levels. First, the coworking movement supports the idea of "going green," through shared resources and being eco-citizens. Second, and more importantly, coworking needs to be financially stable to continue supporting and providing for its members. The space should persist and flourish for as long as the community needs it.
How do you interpret these core coworking values? Leave a comment below!
- Andrew Munson, Co-Founder