Design coworking spaces that work
Coworking spaces are booming in popularity and we have just one question: how exactly do you design one that strengthens collaboration and productivity in its users?
To put it simply: does a ‘pretty’ office really make a productive workforce?
Today we’re pinpointing precisely how to fit out the interiors of a coworking office in ways that will help its users shine.
What about a coworking space vs working at home?
The debate over the pros and cons of coworking spaces vs traditional offices is an ongoing one that isn’t showing signs of slowing down.
This debate becomes more nuanced when you consider home offices as well. If you’re working from home, there are certain factors to consider that make coworking spaces a very attractive option for remote workers:
- The efficacy of home offices or coworking spaces depends on the person and the environment in question
- Being at home in the house all day comes with its own problems such as isolation and distractions.
Coworking spaces address both of these friction points. If you design and plan your space properly before launching it to the public, it can make a huge difference in the numbers of workers there and their satisfaction with their work environment.
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Work with the architecture of your coworking space
Our first piece of advice is to work with what you already have: you will improve your office design significantly with a well-planned layout that utilizes the architecture of each space to the max.
B.sorted, a workspace in Bucharest, Romania, frees workers from the tyranny of desk life by going with the architectural flow of their space. They made its various nooks and quiet spots special areas that allow for more comfortable, private working environment, no matter what the preferred work style of its inhabitants.
There’s something for everyone, and that level of democratisation through design is something we seriously love about coworking spaces.
Naturally, the interior architecture of the office space varies in design from one coworking space to another. Therefore we’d suggest that you adopt the best parts of different interior design norms, checking in with the ‘best bits’ of traditional office layouts, café floor plans and even homey living rooms and coffee stations.
Pro tip: take ideas from hotel lobbies & coffee shops – the communal work areas of freelancers since time immemorial.
FutureSpace co-working offices in South Africa had a creative approach to the design of their interiors (with some mood-enhancing colour tones in FibreGuard fabrics used throughout, of course). How nice are these pops of colour?!
Creating a mix of different spaces
The Fosbury & Sons Co-Work Offices in Antwerp, Belgium, evoke different atmospheres from room to room, allowing users to move seamlessly throughout the day from one environment to the next without interrupting their workflow.
Their new coworking office opening in Amsterdam transforms a former hospital into cosy yet functional offices, as you can see from this glimpse into the top floor of the building.
This was a smart move on their part, as it has been proven that scenic, well-thought-out office interiors have a direct impact on the well-being of its users.
Check out the FR-One collection photoshoot that took place in Fosbury & Sons’ Brussels location that transformed Constantin Brodzki’s architectural masterpiece.
Speaking of functionality and excellent design, we’ve seen an increase in the use of retractable walls to change bigger meeting rooms into smaller areas, ensuring that the space can accommodate bigger events as well as providing smaller rooms.
This allows users to work with their own spatial needs during the day – which is key to designing a successful coworking space.
Achieve a feeling of cohesion in your interior design through keeping the different spaces related either by:
- connecting them visually through colour palettes or seating options
- creating hybrid interiors that are more multifunctional
Privacy is understandably an important issue here. It also helps to explain the wide variety of interiors and work stations available in the best coworking spaces. Different room options enable solo workers, meetings and phone calls to take place in the same environment as communal gatherings and relaxed conversation.
Be inventive with your seating options
Honestly, looking inward to your own working needs is an interesting tactic to design a successful coworking space.
Ask yourself: what makes you productive at work? What tech facilities or set up do you really need to get the job done? This can vary from desks with two-screen setups if you’re a designer, or just your laptop and a comfortable chair if you’re a content creator.
The best coworking spaces have a variety of seating options as well as interior settings in order to accommodate different preferences and needs.
These can include anything from a community table, individual desks, standing desks, couches and armchairs.
The use of focus booths is on the rise as well as ‘focus furniture’ such as this privacy-enhancing lounge chair conceived by industrial designer and architect Svyatoslav Zbroy, upholstered in FibreGuard fabrics.
The bottom line is productivity
Work styles may vary but one thing stays the same: the emphasis on productivity. The insights into what exactly makes office workers more productive have come on in leaps and bounds since the heyday of the much-maligned ‘open plan’ office or the offices that are basically rooms with forests of cubicles.
Still though, the ideal office environment fosters productivity but also collaboration, appealing to both introverts and extroverts.
What are other things that coworking spaces can provide to contribute to a productive day and a satisfied worker?
- Coffee: It may seem like a small thing, but if you have to go out of the coworking space to get a good cup of coffee every time you want one, that will grow old quickly. Tea wouldn’t go amiss either.
- Kitchen facilities: The kitchen is a natural communal area, whether you’re at the office or at a house party. Frequently you’ll find that it’s the perfect place for authentic, human connection between workers from different departments, career paths and seasons of life.
- Controlled noise levels: Everyone has different needs when it comes to acoustics and paying attention to the noise levels is important in both traditional office interiors and coworking spaces alike.
Outstanding office design resources
Check out our key office-related posts:
- Interior design matters in the workplace: here’s why
- FibreGuard fabrics at the FutureSpace offices
- Productivity, remote work, and the psychology of colour