In September, Sponda launched the first large-scale communal coworking space in Finland. Studies have shown that communality increases productivity by as much as 50 to 90 per cent.
Our ways of working and the labour market will undergo some crucial changes in the near future. The changes are headed by digitalisation and, with it, robotisation. Studies by Oxford University and Etla (the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy) estimate that as much as one half of the current professions will disappear entirely in the near future.
After this upheaval, owning a small enterprise or being a solo entrepreneur will become increasingly common. Sponda has made note of the current development and launched the first large-scale coworking space. The Mothership of Work (MOW) coworking space will be opened on Pieni Roobertinkatu in Helsinki.
The MOW concept introduces the long-awaited communality to the business of a small enterprise or a solo entrepreneur. You can apply for MOW membership, and the members will also gain access to its flexible services.
“ The concept of cowork, or a shared office space, is a big global trend ,” states Marjaana Toiminen, a leadership consultant specialising in digital solutions.
Social capital as fuel for creativity
It is not simply a question of atmosphere. Communality and interaction have also been proven to increase productivity. The so-called social capital is created in the relationships and working methods among the members of a group, and it may have a great impact in terms of efficiency.
“The success of future organisations is increasingly strongly linked with immaterial capital, which includes social capital and the mental abilities of the employees, as well as functional structures, such as methods of working and having a say in one’s own work. It has been estimated that the efficient use of immaterial capital could impact productivity by some 50 to 90 per cent,” state Marja-Liisa Manka and Riittaliisa Larjovuori in their study conducted at the University of Tampere School of Management.
According to studies, a low amount of social capital decreases creativity.This is why it is the goal of the MOW to offer possibilities for networking and the exchange of ideas. According to studies, a good team spirit will provide employees with courage to try out different things, take risks and learn from failures. All of these will be increasingly significant factors for success in the future.
The rise of coworking
In the past few years, coworking spaces have found their way to all the metropolises in Europe. According to Marjaana Toiminen, there are already 280 coworking spaces in the Barcelona area, providing work premises for 12,000 people.
Toiminen estimates that the popularity of coworking is linked to the networked way of working.
“It will certainly become more common. The share of freelancers and other people working alone will increase everywhere. In future, ideas will be more important than organisations,” she adds.
The growth has been most intense in the United States, where one third of the labour force already consists of freelancers. In Finland, too, their numbers have grown throughout the first decades of the 21st century.
More power to the small enterprises
The MOW services will be developed all the way until its opening.
“The development work is conducted together with a development group that has been assembled from the space’s target group,” explains Joona Reunanen, Regional Manager at Sponda.
An example of the upcoming services is the moving service, which will take care of all practical matters on behalf of the entrepreneur. For an entrepreneur, it is often beneficial to be offered meaningful services as part of the lease. Companies consisting of only a few persons might not have access to them otherwise.
“At the MOW, small businesses can achieve the muscle mass of a large enterprise,” Toiminen explains.
The property will also contain varied technological services, as well as a common MOW application with its services. A good atmosphere has not been forgotten, either. A restaurant, a sauna, common kitchens, a lounge and a library are available for all users of the premises. The MOW host or hostess will make sure that entertaining and inspiring events are organised on the premises.
“An amazing asset”
The first MOW host will be Nina Ruotsalainen, whose background involves, for instance, working as the event producer and producer for the Abattoir community. She has also been a part of developing the Streat Helsinki street food event.
“At its best, communality is an amazing asset. I have worked in small companies for a long time and am myself the owner of one, and I know that sometimes it is necessary to reach beyond your own mind. Sparring, the exchange of ideas and learning from others will increase the resources and mental capital of a small company multifold,” Ruotsalainen explains.
“As the atmosphere manager I get to collide the MOW members with one another, look after the spirit of the community, take care of internal and external communications and throw creative ideas around for content. I consider it important that MOW members enjoy coming to work and that the mothership allows the framework of a work place and working in general to be shaped in a good, fresh and innovative way.”
Nina Ruotsalainen believes that coworking spaces will become more common in Finland.
“In the working life of today, communality has an increasing significance. This is obvious from the number of enterprises swearing by its name, ranging from Uber to Air BnB. In Finland, communality has been a rising trend in grassroots level activities for a long time now, from Restaurant Day to Kallio Block Party; many freelancers and small creative enterprises work with a similar project logic. Unlike in a traditional office, the MOW café, library or open common areas might just help you find the exact professional missing from your work project, leading to lucky coincidences and synergies,” she continues.
The MOW supports this new way of working in which also job satisfaction is included.
“The idea is to start the week with some Monday morning yoga, end it with a Friday afterwork, and, in between, have everything from creative workshops and topical speakers to global news, movie nights and music guests and from programming courses to cocktail courses. The balance between work and leisure is supported, and job satisfaction is made a priority in other ways as well,” Nina Ruotsalainen mentions.
Text: Johanna Hytönen