The growing popularity of coworking spaces around the world is a natural progression of the work environment, and a trend that looks to replace the traditional office in time to come.
Having more options that cater to businesses and working styles across the board, and with attractive space rental arrangements that do away with medium to long-term leases, the onus rests upon the coworking space and the management team to maintain a healthy level of occupancy.
From stepping up your facilities to integrating smart technology into your space, here are some key ingredients you need to help give your coworking space an edge to stand out as the venue of choice.
1) Location, location, location
Examine your location closely and you'll find that it is defined by the services and businesses that propagate the area, and that it will constantly shift.
In some cases, the businesses associated with a location can be straightforward, yet hold distinctions. For example, you would find more offices and businesses pertaining to shipping, logistics, and heavy industry near ports. Resorts, seafood restaurants, and scuba diving shops will find themselves more at home in a beautiful seaside destination.
Understanding the prevalent industries that populate your space will give you a better idea of the business foot traffic you will likely attract, and you can have a better idea of the kind of coworking space to complement the area around you.
Don’t be too quick to discount and pigeonhole certain districts and locations to what they can provide at present at face value. An example is how Campfire Collaborative Spaces leveraged on Wong Chuk Hang in Hong Kong, an instance where a district did not do so well as initially planned, and was a lacklustre and floundering industrial district. However, a pivot and repurposing of the landscape allowed it to change direction entirely and find success as a fashion and arts hub.
Keep that in mind when looking your location of choice and choosing.
2) Keyless automation for public and/or private spaces
After seeing the trend of the open office turn out to be an ineffectual working setup, finding the balance for tenants to stay private or go public becomes a key component in keeping your coworking space viable.
Giving the tenants and visitors of your coworking space the choice between open and communal areas (which by default should be accessible to all users and visitors), to having specific spaces that serve as the offices for smaller teams granting privacy is important. Do not forget as well to set aside rooms that can be used by your tenants to house important meetings and to clinch client pitches that can be booked upon availability.
Compound the issues of coworking space management, and allocation of resources is the fact that the security and access rights granted will vary from person to person. The level of access available for staff, long staying tenants, and daily rental tenants are different. Coworking spaces should incorporate a keyless solution that tracks, manages and schedules access, fully automating the management of the space and increasing the efficiency of the office manager.
Granting the right access for different tiered tenants, and visitors in the coworking space ensures that people won’t walk into the wrong meeting rooms or offices, avoiding problems that arise with miscommunications regarding facility bookings. Incorporating the right keyless systems early will prove to be an essential investment and foundation for your operations, especially when the coworking space scales up. A keyless system that manages multiple user rights across multiple coworking venues will be invaluable.
3) Smart and mobile furnishings
In an article exploring the correlation between the furniture industry and coworking, Liz Elam, Founder of Link Coworking in Austin mentioned that “After you figure out the rent, the second most expensive investment for a coworking operator is the furniture.”
Having to keep in mind a style that fits the space, ergonomics, and the capital cost of the furnishing are some of the challenges that coworking spaces will face early on. Finding a good selection of furniture providers and negotiating feasible payment contracts will keep the space more sustainable as you begin to populate the space with tenants.
The furniture that you have in the coworking face should not just provide comfort and privacy to your tenants, but also be easily repositioned around the office. Keeping in mind the transience of your tenants. You might run into a situation when a startup with a headcount of 20 needs desks in the general area for two weeks. Having the ease and flexibility to adjust the layout of your coworking space gives you the adaptability to accommodate to varying occupancy levels.
4) Coffee and convenience in-house
Food and drink are great catalysts for team bonding and meetings, being able to provide options for your tenants when it comes to their food and coffee needs have a great impact on cost and productivity.
It is estimated that daily coffee drinkers spend more than 62 hours a year purchasing coffee away from the office, with 75% of full-time employees also drinking coffee at work. Offices around the world are adopting on-premise coffee shops to address the hours away from the desk, help your tenants save time and money with cheaper prices on their daily coffee purchases.
Explore similar options for food that where you can have offerings that range from meal delivery options to RFID tagged fridges stocked with fresh food, and you can turn your pantry/lounge area into a hub for visitors and tenants to better mingle and interact.
We hope that the tips we have shared will help in better understanding what you can do to make your coworking space more attractive. Are there other tips you’d like to share as well? We’d love to hear from your experiences.
Do check out our weekly GTRIIP blog updates, as we explore the possibilities of keyless technology, new advancements in our workplace and share our views and insights, and opinions on a variety of topics. Leave a comment in the comments section below, and let us get a conversation going!