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Millennials, Coworking & OpenWork: How can large firms attract new talent?

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If you’ve ever worked in a coworking space, you know it can be an environment of inspiration, or it can be an entrepreneurial zoo of endless WhatsApp beeps and people shouting into their Bluetooth from beanbag chairs.

As the traditional office space continues to evolve, Millennials in particular are drawn to coworking spaces to network, concentrate on new startup ideas, or simply pretend to be working while scrolling through their Facebook feed in a place that isn’t home where they would normally be doing the same thing — just in their pajamas.

As companies learn more about the coworking movement, they increasingly have a choice: Do they embrace coworking by sponsoring some of their employees to become members of external coworking spaces, or do they build a coworking space on their own campus?

OpenWork is one company that recognizes the need to attract new talent by advising facilities managers and human resource managers inside large firms to introduce coworking.

The advisory service aims to help companies attract and retain young, Millennial talent, and to empower them to work according to their own rhythms.

The coworking agency announced today the launch of a new advisory service, Corporate Coworking, which assists companies in incorporating the flow and mobility of coworking into their workplace strategy.

Having personally worked out of a coworking space in South America during the World Cup in 2014, my experience was one of endless, audible beeps, pings, and ringtones associated with the various social media platforms, as well as desks covered in tequila, shot glasses, and rum while people verbally assaulted referees on the TV in grotesque, Spanish curses.

In other words, it wasn’t the most-organized nor best use of coworking space, which is exactly where OpenWork’s new advisory service could’ve helped had it been around.

“We look beyond what many corporate offices around the world are doing, like simply building open design spaces without integrating a coworking culture,” says David Walker, Partner at OpenWork and co-founder of Conjunctured Coworking in Austin, one of the first coworking spaces in the world. “Our corporate coworking strategy framework helps clients determine how to best leverage the dynamic coworking model for their specific business and industry.”

Studies have shown how the creation of coworking environments can greatly increase employee engagement, productivity, and innovation. According to a 2014 Gallup poll study, less than one-third (31.5%) of U.S. workers were actively engaged in their work, meaning over half of American employees were not psychologically committed to making positive contributions to their organizations. These figures, according to Gallup, have only declined.

“We want to be tour guides, and provide a roadmap for helping companies go from the past (industrial) model of work to the future (sharing economy) model of work,” explains Drew Jones, management professor, author, and former partner and co-owner at Conjunctured in Austin.

OpenWork has released two new white papers sharing strategic insights into the evolving corporate workplace: 1) Why Companies Need Coworking 2) Unlocking the Organization for Greater Innovation: The Role of the Community Manager. Both white papers are available to download on their website.

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Tim Hinchliffe
Tim Hinchliffe is the editor of The Sociable. His passions include writing about how technology impacts society and the parallels between Artificial Intelligence and Mythology. Previously, he was a reporter for the Ghanaian Chronicle in West Africa and an editor at Colombia Reports in South America. tim@sociable.co