Building Community at Spaces
A world of difference. That's what's between a free coworking space and a paid one.
Spaces Postitalo // Grade: 9
November brings with it the second leg of our space testing journey: spaces with paid memberships. We started out with Spaces Postitalo, one link in a global chain of spaces. A great opening statement for the space is that global aspect: Every membership to every space comes with a membership to all of the Spaces - you'll have a fully stocked office in all the major cities.
Community is a collaboration of space, hosts and members, none work without one another.
Walking in, I'm greeted with a warm welcome and an interesting sight: the staff is all out in Halloween gear. I'm reminded of my experience at Mokrin House, of which I wrote a blog about creating an exemplary employee experience. At Mokrin House the hosts were, in addition to fantastic customer service, almost like tutors in a high school, the new kid's 'in' to the community.
As I sit down with Spaces Area Manager Sara Saarikko, I learn they indeed make a point of creating a real relationship with members and making sure you meet other members and new faces regularly. I happened to be at Spaces during a little Halloween get-together and saw the hosts at work. The members weren't too active outside their own cliques, so there might still be a piece of the puzzle missing. Nearly everyone was very much in Halloween gear though, so perhaps some of the hosts' efforts to create a community were visible there.
The target group, anything from a startup to a corporation no matter the industry, is a great way to bring in a mix of people as interesting as possible, but does limp a little when it comes to creating conversation. With people in your own industry, you know the ice-breakers and the common ground. With strangers you might be forced to start with a "You come here often?". As Finns that's a bit much to ask, and so initiating the networking is left largely to the hosts.
A great workspace is both everything and anything.
The space itself is well designed and comfortable, a great mix of a "homey" feel and an office's functionality. The first floor's coworking space Business Club is all open space but furnished to create eight different spaces, for anything from casual meetings and sit-downs to quiet deep concentration. The rules of the spaces, whether it's quiet area or networking one, are made clear with aesthetics and helpful little signs. Throughout the day I could see people follow the rules to the T, driving home the point: If people don't follow your rules, your rules are wrong, not the people.
Additionally the hosts sit down with members once every three months, to check back and see if Spaces could improve on anything, or if the members' needs have changed. This, I'm sure, has a lot to do with why the space and the services seem to fit the members so snuggly - they're workspace is in a constant loop of "build, measure, learn".
I tried to pin down the type of work one should do here, and whether you should only stop by or set up shop, but I'm forced at admit the space is flexible enough to facilitate almost any type of knowledge work. The meeting rooms and the tech work without a hitch, the internet connection is strong and secure, there's room for privacy and collaboration, room for both casual and professional meetings. Even a grocery store and restaurant are accessible via indoor paths, no need to step outside to the cold and wet. I'm impressed.
Free trial day pass
Day pass: 40 € + alv 24 %
Business Club coworking space: from 197 € + alv./month
24/7 access and a dedicated station at a coworking space: from 263 € + alv./month