Few business ideas simply need space to operate their business. What smart founders need is a productive, inspired and community-oriented environment – one that fosters connections, builds credibility, facilitates talent recruitment and retention, and offers amenities to boost their chances of success.
I have been in co-working facilities all over the world, and often wonder why most of the co-workers wear earbuds or founders are trampling over each other for private offices.
Harvard Business School Associate Professor Ethan Bernstein’s study of open office spaces is eye opening. His research concluded, “Rather than prompting increasingly vibrant face-to-face collaboration, open architecture appeared to trigger a natural human response to socially withdraw from officemates and interact instead over email and instant messaging.” Odd, open spaces were meant to “promote productivity and collaboration among co-workers. And yet, research suggests they do just the opposite.”
So, what does this mean for founders looking for the right office design? Inspired workplace is the result of a carefully orchestrated experience. The productive workplace I am talking about is one that seamlessly curates artistic expression, architectural design, technology and furnishings. I call this workplace success formula: A²TF.
When selecting space for your business, consider:
What environment is most productive for your best thinking? Do you seek intermittent or frequent interactions?
What place will catalyze and energize your business aspirations and options?
What is the chemistry you felt while walking around the facility and interacting with people and the place?
Where will you do your best thinking? In group or individual spaces?
Your answers will help you pick a place that inspires you to do your personal best and doesn’t negate the performance, productivity and community dividends you sought in the first place. Remember, not all space is created equally.