Measuring the Success of a Coworking Community



As the first generation of coworking spaces, such as IndyHall, Old Broadcasting House and others, enter maturity while new locations and communities start up, it’s useful to reflect on some measures and metrics of success.

Marc Harrison at the Urban Workspaces blog — seeking to establish a local coworking space and community — recently published some thoughts on measuring the success for his proposed space. Marc’s goals are very personal, though universally applicable to anyone looking to bootstrap a coworking community for themselves.

Here are Marc’s key indicators of success:

  • People would rather come into the coworking space than work at home, even when they have no work to do.
  • Successful residents will eventually outgrow the community and need to move out.
  • Corporate workers will use the space to jump from being employees to entrepreneurs.
  • New businesses are formed based on relationships between residents.
  • Residents become evangelists for the space.
  • The space becomes a catalyst for other social groups and clubs.
  • There is diversity in the range of professions and disciplines practiced by residents.

Perhaps what’s most striking about Marc’s goals are the absence of solely profit-driven motives. Coworking really does seem to be driven by non-commercial imperatives — social good, deepened collaboration, a sense of belonging.

Elsewhere, the global Coworking Community Blog recently covered the state of coworking in Southern and Latin America, with a post called “How is coworking doing in Argentina.” Interestingly, a Buenos Aires coworking community had difficulty appealing to local geeks and found the bulk of its membership to be international travelers, adding an undoubted cultural value to the community. Perhaps the ability to attract out-of-towners, business travelers and international travelers is another goal worth tracking across coworking communities worldwide.

How would you measure the success of a coworking community?


Imran Ali

No problem Marc – yours was a really useful and insightful post…I hope your ideas are carried a little further by WWD :)


Hi Imran.

Thanks for the mention and for your kind words. It’s great to to be part of a community that is so willing to help each other as we experiment together and try to create a whole new type of business/organisation. Together with the google group and the wiki, this site does a great job of sharing information about coworking which helps us all.


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