Co-constructing a sense of community at work: The emergence of community in coworking spaces

By: Gretchen M. Spreitzer, Lyndon Garrett, Peter Bacevice


As more individuals are working remotely, many feel increasingly isolated and socially adrift. To address this challenge, many independent workers are choosing to work in coworking spaces – shared spaces where individuals do their own work but in the presence of others with the express purpose of being part of a community. In this qualitative, single case study, we analyze how members of a coworking space work together to co-construct a sense of community through their day-to-day interactions in the space. We apply a relational constructionist lens to unpack the processes of ‘community work’ as an interactive, agentic process. We identify three types of collective actions, or interacts, that contribute to a sense of community: endorsing, encountering, and engaging. These interacts represent different forms of community work that members interactively accomplish to maintain a desired community experience. The rapidly growing coworking movement offers insights, as uncovered in this study, on how to integrate a sense of community into the world of work.