Two Distinct Coworking Models
As coworking has matured over the last 5-6 years, two very distinct models have emerged. Both approaches can be successful, and it’s important to keep in mind that coworking in general can have great benefits regardless of your specific strategy. That being said, it is important to identify up front which of these two approaches you’re taking so that you succeed in establishing a very clear culture that attracts “your” kind of members.
A Flexible Hierarchy
Coworking as an industry maintains a set of shared values, while individual coworking spaces within the industry operate according their own very diverse and unique beliefs. Variety and flexibility is what makes the coworking culture so fun, unique, and appealing to entrepreneurs, millennials, and a progressive wave of new business owners.
The two major coworking models are:
- Community focused – Puts people first and focuses on them as the #1 priority
- Real-estate focused – Puts money first and focuses on capital gains as the #1 priority. Note: this does not mean you have to buy or own real-estate to use this model; leasing works too!
Coworking spaces can be categorized in countless ways, but in my experience, this one distinction makes all the difference. Both of these models are completely viable, and the Cowork Consultant resources will guide you either way. I tend to side with the community focused model because I am designed to empower others. Also, in my experience and conversations with other coworking spaces, the community-focused model has proven to be a more sustainable approach with benefits that extend far beyond the walls of the coworking space.
A Question of Priorities
If your priority is to generate long-lasting economic and social growth that is mutually beneficial for the coworkers, the managers, and the surrounding community, I encourage you to pick the community-focused coworking model.
If your priority is to generate significant revenue in the short-term, with the impact on the coworkers and surrounding community being a secondary benefit, than the real-estate model will better suit your goals.
Step 1 toward creating a cowork is to pick a model that suits your priority.
Use the chart below to determine the coworking model that is best for you.