“Coworking” is a concept that most are familiar with but few know what it really is. It is a style of working that involves a shared working environment most often in a large typically open office space. Unlike a typical office environment or an “open space” office layout, those who are “coworking” are usually not employed by the same company. The individuals are “work out of their home” individuals who do not want to work from home (they desire company), independent contractors who spend little time in an office but at the same time need a specific office space for paperwork, individuals who travel frequently but need a place for a desk and for paper storage. “Coworking” facilities provide a place to go and be with other people thus eliminating the feeling of isolation that many feel if working from home.
Coworking started in San Francisco in 2005 and has since spread to every major city in North America. In 2015 there were approximately 8000 coworking spaces worldwide (estimated at 510,000 people) with an anticipated 40,000 spaces being in place by 2018. Many developers are now redesigning and renovating older buildings such that they can be used as coworking space rather than into conventional long term lease clients that might use enclosed space or “open space” office design concepts. Few new buildings are being built for use as “coworking” space: virtually all coworking space is renovated space.
So the question arises as to whether or not there is a use or need for operable partitions in a coworking space? We believe there is.
#1. The space is all about the people in it and their ability to embrace the coworking concept. The community has to largely be self-managing and cooperative: working together. Management wants to keep the space full and therefore profitable but if friction develops between “co workers” there are only two options: ask the incompatible to leave which results in a loss of income as well as the need to search for new clients or find an isolated space within the floor area to place those who are having compatibility issues. An area that can be quickly isolated from the others in the coworking space can be quickly established by the use of pre-installed operable partitions (glass or solid) in a corner area within the space. Aesthetically pleasing operable partitions with pass doors, writing surfaces and having acoustic capabilities will keep all happy and profitable clients.
#2. Very often visual and acoustical privacy is required. Providing the ability to temporarily enclose an area normally used as a reception area or cafeteria with an operable partition will provide that privacy. When the meeting is over the partitions can be quickly stored and the coworking space returned to normal. Many times the manager can charge extra for the use of the “meeting room”.
#3, Individual panels can be provided with writing surfaces, white boards, tackable surfaces, surfaces where videos and pictures can be projected. By bringing out only a few panels, all of these features are available for use by all at any time. A visual way of communicating with all coworkers that can be quickly stored when not needed.
Let Moderco assist you when you are designing your new “coworking” space. We will provide guidance and assistance based on 35+ years of business in “dividing space”. Call us at 1 800 363-3150.