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Coworking Spaces

A typology of needs for coworking spaces

The framework of Mutinerie, a coworking space in Paris. Analyze six categories from accessibility to proximity with ten criterias each. Each criteria which exist, is one point on the framework within its category.

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3/ Shared Energies

One of the strongest assertions of the coworking movement is that workers need a physical place to work: a place to pool their energies, skills and good ideas, even if they could actually work from everywhere. A coworking space should therefore be designed in a way that allows for the dissemination of energies; a place where ideas and skills can be fertilized and cross-pollinated.

A place highly focused on pooling energies will gather different and complementary profiles. It will organize events, workshops and meetups that help members carry out their projects and deliver them to wider audiences. Space operators will need to help coworkers find the partnerships and the skills they need.

However, make sure that coworkers are not too solicited by their environment so that they are not distracted from their core activities.

Architectural ambiance: theatre, event space, forum, market place

Properties: openness, transparency, diversity

Furniture: mobile desks and chairs, presentation stages, projection equipment, diverse spaces, presentation equipment (black/whiteboards, screens...), round tables

The building: welcoming and visible facade, warm and dynamic colour scheme, organized around a central axis point that facilitates meetings, central meeting points (coffee machines, restrooms...)

Questions :

1. Is the space open to everyone?
2. Does the space regularly host events that are open to non-members (more than once per week)?
3. Do the coworkers have access to an internal social network/intranet?
4. Do the space managers organize events designed to introduce coworkers to one another on a regular basis?
5. Does the space host member events on a regular basis (more than once per week)?
6. Is there a monthly (or less) membership plan?
7. On average, does the space host more than 30 coworkers each day?
8. Amongst the staff, is there a person whose specific job is to connect members and put them in contact with one another?
9. Does the space offer workshops or courses to its members?
10. Does the space frequently communicate its members’ projects’ via its own communication channels (at least once per week)?

4/ Proximity

This criteria may seem similar to the previous one, but it is quite different. While pooling energies is about upgrading the coworkers’ projects and skills, the level of proximity is more about instilling trust and friendship between coworkers with an implicit (and voluntary) goal of increasing the pooling of energies.

Proximity does not have a precise or well defined objective. It represents the random, frictional part of coworking. It comes from sharing resources, working side by side with others, sharing joys and sorrows, valuing serendipity... these can be achieved by including areas of friction in the space design: put the coffee machines close to the printers, organize random parties, allow spontaneous events to happen, let long-term, non-professional relationships flourish and stay close to your community... But ensure that people complete their work without being disturbed; proximity should not turn into promiscuity!

Architectural ambiance: bar, kitchen, social event, club

Properties: Fraternity, confidence, frankness, complicity

Furniture: cosy chairs and couches, dining tables, kitchen mixer/printing station

Building: walkways encouraging meetings and exchanging glances


1. Is there a dedicated for convivial exchange in the space (café, communal kitchen...)?
2. Do coworkers mainly work on flexible or ‘hot-desks’ (rather than fixed workstations)?
3. Is the spaces limited to teams of three members or less?
4. In the space, do the majority of coworkers share the same open space?
5. Do coworkers often eat meals together?
6. Does your space hold less than 30 people at a time?
7. Does the space have games (fussball or table-tennis table, board games, games console)?
8. Within the space, do you often help or attend spontaneous events between coworkers: after-work drinks, games, joint projects... (at least once per week)?
9. Do most of the coworkers in your space know the names of at least half of the other coworkers in the community?
10. Do you organize members-only events at least twice per month?


1/ Accessibility & 2/ Pooling of resources  3/ Shared energies & 4/ Proximity  5/ Permission & 6/ Privacy

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