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Flevy Management Insights Q&A
In what ways can co-working spaces be customized to reflect and enhance a corporation's brand identity and culture?


This article provides a detailed response to: In what ways can co-working spaces be customized to reflect and enhance a corporation's brand identity and culture? For a comprehensive understanding of Co-working, we also include relevant case studies for further reading and links to Co-working best practice resources.

TLDR Customizing co-working spaces involves Strategic Brand Alignment, enhancing Employee Experience, and building Community and Collaboration to create a brand-resonant, positive work environment.

Reading time: 4 minutes


Co-working spaces have become a staple in the modern work environment, offering flexibility, networking opportunities, and a break from the traditional office setup. For organizations, these spaces offer a unique opportunity to reinforce their brand identity and culture outside of their primary headquarters. Customizing co-working spaces to reflect and enhance an organization's brand identity and culture involves strategic planning, design thinking, and an understanding of how physical spaces can influence perception and behavior.

Strategic Brand Alignment

One of the first steps in customizing a co-working space is to ensure that the design and ambiance align with the organization's Strategic Planning and brand identity. This involves more than just incorporating the company logo or colors into the decor. It requires a deep dive into what the brand represents—its values, mission, and the message it wants to convey to both employees and visitors. For example, a company that prides itself on sustainability might incorporate green technologies and materials into the space, signaling its commitment to environmental responsibility.

According to a report by Deloitte, a well-defined corporate culture is linked to higher levels of employee engagement, satisfaction, and performance. By extending the organization's culture into the co-working space, companies can create a seamless experience that reinforces the company's values and practices. This can include the selection of collaborative spaces, private areas, and even the types of events hosted within the space, all designed to reflect the company's way of working and interacting.

Real-world examples of strategic brand alignment include Google's co-working spaces, which embody the company's innovative and employee-focused culture. These spaces often feature open designs, recreational areas, and creative workstations, mirroring Google's emphasis on creativity, collaboration, and employee well-being.

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Enhancing Employee Experience

The customization of co-working spaces also plays a critical role in enhancing the employee experience, which is crucial for attracting and retaining talent. According to a study by Gartner, a positive employee experience is linked to better work performance, lower turnover rates, and higher customer satisfaction levels. Organizations can enhance the employee experience by designing co-working spaces that not only meet functional needs but also provide comfort, inspiration, and a sense of community.

For instance, incorporating flexible workstations that cater to different work styles and preferences can make employees feel more supported and valued. This might include adjustable desks, quiet zones for focused work, and collaborative areas for team projects. Additionally, amenities such as fitness centers, meditation rooms, and cafes can contribute to a holistic work environment that supports both professional and personal well-being.

Companies like WeWork have successfully customized their co-working spaces to enhance the employee experience by offering a blend of work, play, and wellness facilities. This approach not only attracts a diverse range of tenants but also helps organizations housed within WeWork spaces to boost their employer brand by providing an engaging and supportive environment for their employees.

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Building Community and Collaboration

Finally, customizing co-working spaces to foster a sense of community and collaboration can significantly impact an organization's culture and employee engagement. According to McKinsey, companies that promote collaborative working are five times more likely to be high-performing. By designing spaces that encourage interaction and teamwork, organizations can facilitate the sharing of ideas, foster innovation, and build a strong internal community.

This can involve creating communal areas where employees can gather informally, hosting regular networking events, and providing tools and technologies that facilitate collaboration. It's also important to consider the diversity of the workforce and create inclusive spaces that cater to a variety of needs and preferences.

A notable example is the collaboration between IBM and WeWork, where IBM leased an entire WeWork building in New York City for its employees. This move allowed IBM to provide its workforce with a dynamic and collaborative environment, while also tapping into the broader community and networking opportunities offered by WeWork.

In conclusion, customizing co-working spaces to reflect and enhance an organization's brand identity and culture requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses strategic brand alignment, enhancing employee experience, and building community and collaboration. By thoughtfully designing these spaces, organizations can create a powerful extension of their brand that resonates with employees and visitors alike, fostering a positive and productive work environment.

Best Practices in Co-working

Here are best practices relevant to Co-working from the Flevy Marketplace. View all our Co-working materials here.

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Explore all of our best practices in: Co-working

Co-working Case Studies

For a practical understanding of Co-working, take a look at these case studies.

Co-working Strategy Development for Infrastructure Sector

Scenario: A firm specializing in infrastructure development is grappling with the challenge of optimizing its co-working spaces.

Read Full Case Study

Educational Platform's Coworking Space Expansion Strategy

Scenario: A leading educational technology firm is seeking to extend its market reach and enhance collaborative opportunities by establishing a network of coworking spaces targeted at professionals and students.

Read Full Case Study

Coworking Space Optimization for Professional Services in Education

Scenario: A professional services firm specializing in educational consulting has recently expanded their Coworking space to accommodate a growing team.

Read Full Case Study

Cooperative Workspace Strategy for Education Sector in North America

Scenario: The organization is a network of coworking spaces catering to professionals in the education industry, specifically targeting educators, tutors, and edtech startups.

Read Full Case Study

Co-working Efficiency Enhancement in Life Sciences

Scenario: The organization is a mid-sized life sciences company specializing in R&D co-working spaces.

Read Full Case Study

Explore all Flevy Management Case Studies

Related Questions

Here are our additional questions you may be interested in.

What metrics and KPIs are most effective for measuring the ROI of co-working space investments for large corporations?
Effective ROI measurement of co-working space investments for corporations involves Financial Performance, Employee Productivity and Satisfaction, and Strategic and Operational Excellence metrics, emphasizing cost savings, engagement, innovation rates, and operational efficiency. [Read full explanation]
How is the rise of digital nomadism influencing the evolution of coworking spaces?
The rise of digital nomadism is driving Coworking Spaces to innovate by offering flexibility, advanced technology, community engagement, and Strategic Planning to cater to the evolving needs of a mobile workforce. [Read full explanation]
In what ways can organizations ensure data security and protect intellectual property when utilizing coworking spaces?
Organizations can ensure data security and protect intellectual property in coworking spaces by implementing comprehensive Digital Security Measures, establishing Physical Security Measures, and fostering a Culture of Security Awareness among employees. [Read full explanation]
How can companies measure the ROI of implementing coworking spaces versus traditional office spaces?
Assessing the ROI of Coworking versus Traditional Office Spaces requires evaluating Financial Metrics, Productivity, Employee Satisfaction, and Operational Flexibility to make informed business decisions. [Read full explanation]
What are the long-term implications of coworking on corporate real estate portfolios and space utilization?
The rise of coworking spaces is transforming Corporate Real Estate Strategy, Lease Structures, and Space Design, emphasizing flexibility, collaboration, innovation, and sustainability, while impacting Operational Excellence and Culture. [Read full explanation]
How are digital nomadism and remote work trends influencing the evolution of co-working spaces?
Digital Nomadism and Remote Work Trends are transforming Co-Working Spaces through enhanced Spatial Design, Technological Infrastructure, Community Building, and Flexible Membership Plans to meet diverse workforce needs. [Read full explanation]

Source: Executive Q&A: Co-working Questions, Flevy Management Insights, 2024


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