Coworking: Designing Space for People with Jonathan O'Byrne

Coworking is a concept that has fascinated me for years.  In this episode Jonathon and I unpack how these spaces operate and what the financial metrics & community engagement needs are to make this model work for both the operator and the resident. But perhaps even more importantly we discuss how the design of our physical environment influences our behaviour and organisational performance, and how he has seen this first hand through the tenants of his coworking space.

Born in Ireland, raised in the Middle East, educated in the United Kingdom and living in Singapore.  Jonathan has experienced some interesting insights into the way the world works.

Jonathan found his love for entrepreneurship early; founding his first company in Singapore at the age of twenty four. After learning the hard way how isolating international entrepreneurship can be, he went on to found one of Singapore's first coworking businesses, Collective Works in 2012 at the age of twenty six using his skills of expatriate community building to create environments that supported people.

In this episode we discus everything from what coworking is and is not, how the traditional model of the serviced office has evolved and how technology can be sophisticated enough to service even the highest of security requirements.

We also explore the importance of design iteration; the ability to observe and reinvent spaces to accommodate the changing needs of the people who use the space.  Jonathon went so far as to create 9 persona’s for his clients in order to support their varied needs, and space for both the extrovert and the introvert.  

We even discussed what the future of commercial leasing may hold and how coworking has disrupted the real estate market and the opportunity to move from an asset mindset to that of a user experience. 

Jonathon has a wonderful way of seeing the world and connecting the dots.  I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation, as I got to dig into all the things I’ve been quite curious to know about running a successful coworking operation.  If this is something you’re keen to explore further, you can also grab a copy of his book. 

Jonathan O'Byrne |

Jonathan O'Byrne Book |

Melissa Marsden |

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