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Do you remember the good old pyramid of human needs by Maslow? According to Maslow, the needs at the base of the pyramid must be satisfied before being able to satisfy higher ones. It turns out this can be effectively applied to coworking. Each coworking space has to focus on providing some basic services before being able to deliver the true value of coworking. In other words, don’t start giving yoga lessons before being sure you’ve got a reliable WiFi connection and a highly functional space.
By Eric van den Broek - Friday, 15 April 2011

A guest post by Eric van den Broek of La Mutinerie, a coworking space in Paris.


Coworking answers various needs, ranging from “my flat stinks, I need a REAL place to work” to “I need a proper place to talk to my clients” or “I desperately need fellows for after work drinks”.

Maslow's pyramid (or hierachy) of needs begins with physiological needs, then progresses to saftey needs, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Following these steps, the pyramid of coworking could look like this:


1. Basic Needs

Basics needs are the physiological needs of the independent worker. Basically, it means having a proper desk, a stable Wifi, some storage and so on. Below is a list of what a coworking space SHOULD provide:

- A reliable WiFi connection

- A comfortable desk

- Office equipments (printer, scanner etc…)

- Storage spaces (lockers)

- A meeting room

- Food and drink (inside the space and also in the close neighbourhood)

- Proximity (not to remote from coworkers' homes)

- A quiet room to focus on your work


2. Safety needs

Being an independent worker means making some sacrifices, especially at the beginning of your career. Say goodbye to clear revenue streams. It can be sometime hard to know how much money you’ll get this month. No more bosses or colleagues to turn to when you've failed. You’ve got to take your own responsibilities. Coworking, by being flexible, helps you dealing with unpredictability. It provides you with:

- Financial safety (coworkers only pay for the time they spend in the space and can adjust their expenses to their revenue streams)

- External and professional advice for your projects

- Trust between coworkers

- A cool and relaxed atmosphere


3. Love and belonging

Who said living free meant living alone? A coworking space gathers together a community of people united by commons values and lifestyles. Coworkers are part of a crew, living, working, and acting together. You’ve got to provide your community with:

- Both professional and non-professional events (the border can sometime be hard to define)

- Affinities between members

- A coworking visa allowing coworkers to be part of the global community of coworkers

- Collective projects between members


4. Esteem

A nice work place, a structuring environment and a community that supports you… Everything is here to start expressing yourself personally. When joining a coworking community, you could:

- Be acknowledged for your hard and soft skills

- Become an active member of the community

- Have an audience for your projects


5. Self-actualization

This is the ultimate stage of the pyramid, the one we are all struggling to reach for our communities and ourselves! Coworking helps:

- Be in a creative and stimulating environment that will boost your skills

- Keep on improving with trainings and daily water cooler chats with your fellow coworkers

- Live and work in accordance with your values

- Share your knowledge




Post initially published in French under Creative Commons license by Mutinerie, a coworking space in Paris.

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