This post is coming to you directly from my new office space at Peloton Labs in Portland, Maine.
It might sound odd to some people that I chose to join a shared office space – after all, I have private office space in South Portland – just a few miles from my house. I can meet clients there, over the phone, or on one of the many trails in my area. So why did I choose to pay a monthly fee for office space I don’t “technically need?” Stability… and for me, it was a natural choice.
In nature, social cliques among wild animals are the glue that holds the ecosystem together and keeps population numbers stable. Herd animals and even predators such as lions, tigers and bears (oh my!) experience less fluctuations in their population when they gather in herds. Up until a recent study, it was thought that predators who grouped together would experience feast and famine and possibly over hunt and deplete the resources around them. What researchers found was the opposite was true – tribes of predators who worked together became more efficient, more resilient and their species is more stable as a result. Now, while I am not saying the existence of my business depended on joining a shared work space, the survival and stability of my business will be stronger as a result of collaboration.
What can collaborative work spaces offer to the survival of your business?
Safety in numbers ….
When working independently, we are often blind or even oblivious to dangers that are lurking, ready to pounce. When working in groups, your sense of awareness is heightened. You can choose to be involved in discussion on the latest trends, what others are experiencing, and projects they are working on. You also may learn how to avoid pitfalls when others share with you their struggles, challenges or frustrations. In collaborative workspaces there are also those who have been there, done that, and are willing to lend a helping hand.
Shared Resources …
For me, one of the best parts about Peloton Labs is their Facebook “Members Only” page where we can ask “does someone have a template for XYZ?” 0r I have even seen requests for ride-sharing to Boston, or requests for introductions to other local professionals. When you work in the same building with someone, a natural kinship forms, and it’s easy to get to know, trust and like the people around you, and they get to know, like and trust you too. I also have to admit, having a room full of techies comes in handy when I discover I forgot my phone charger.
A Sense of Belonging ….
We are social creatures by nature, and it’s comforting to belong. Even introverted entrepreneurs like myself enjoy some camaraderie. Working independently can be isolating, lonely, and can stunt your art of conversation and staying current. Belonging to a tribe, a group of people with a common purpose can spark creativity, motivation, and innovation.
Does this community make my brain look big?
Numerous studies are now linking good health to social connection. In an article in the Atlantic, Matthew Lieberman, a distinguished social psychologist and neuroscientist was quoted saying that the size of our brains can be directly linked to the size of our social groups. We have to have a big brain to socialize. He also states that “simply seeing your neighbors on a regular basis is said to increase your happiness “income” $60,000 a year more. It is scientifically proven that simply by being in the presence of successful people increases our net worth.
“Man is by nature a social animal … Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.” – Aristotle
I for one, feel inspired by the people around me who take walks at lunch, practice yoga in the “meditation space” or bring in fresh vegetables from their gardens to share. I feel inspired, creative and challenged when working in a group of people who are also striving for excellence….
Do you work in a collaborative or shared workspace? How are you building a community to thrive in? I’d love to hear about your experience!
Meanwhile – Hit the Heights and be excellent today!