Do you work better in a co-working space compared to a traditional office? Here’s why.

If you’re a member of a co-working space chances are you are more productive, find greater meaning and purpose in your work and feel like you are part of a community, compared with those who do their jobs in traditional offices. In fact, research has foundthat people thrive (experience a sense of vitality and learning) in co-working spaces at higher levels than those in regular offices. So, what makes co-working spaces so effective in helping people thrive?

Co-working aids productivity

Co-workers have greater autonomy as they can work the hours that best suit them, and in a place or way that aids their productivity, whether that’s a quiet space to concentrate or a collaborative space to interact. Co-working spaces also provide community and structure, which can help members develop discipline and motivation to establish their routine.

Co-workers find greater meaning

As co-working spaces include a variety of businesses, ventures, and projects, there is little direct competition or internal politics. Members feel more like they can ‘be themselves,’ rather than a work persona. Being alongside fellow co-workers doing other types of jobs can strengthen members’ identity, and by frequently describing their work to others, members can feel more interesting and distinctive. Greater meaning is also derived from being in a strong community culture in which there are opportunities to collaborate and use unique skill sets to help other members.

Co-workers feel part of a community

As co-working founders and community managers create environment and experiences tailored for their members, each co-working space has its own atmosphere and culture. Co-working spaces offer the opportunity for members to connect with fellow co-workers, but at their own choosing. Through this potential for interaction, co-workers still feel a strong sense of identity with the community whether they interact or not.

The co-working movement is being embraced not only by start-ups, freelancers and remote offices, but also by traditional office-based companies that are introducing co-working as an alternative place for people to work, or within their own workplaces. Spending time outside the office at a co-working space can spark new ideas, encourage connections and build communities beyond the office walls. The lessons of co-working spaces can also be applied to corporate offices to create more productive environments for employees, and provide people with greater purpose, meaning, control and flexibility in their work life.

Adapted from Harvard Business Review. The research was conducted by Gretchen Spreitzer, Peter Bacevice and Lyndon Garrett in 2015. It was based on interviews with co-working-space founders and community managers and surveys with members of co-working spaces across the States.