Coworking spaces have become increasingly popular across the globe in recent years. While they were on the rise before COVID-19, the pandemic caused them to become even more popular (and necessary!) as more people began to work remotely or start their own business ventures. Now, they’ve become the norm for many work-from-home employees, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.
There are countless benefits to coworking spaces. They offer flexibility and can boost creativity if you’re working around the right people. However, whether someone is freelancing or trying to launch a new startup, they can also experience burnout easily.
If you own a coworking space, you’re probably doing everything you can to promote safety, creativity, and efficiency for your customers. It might also be time to implement some burnout reduction practices. The more you can offer to the people who utilize your space, the greater your draw will be.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few tips and practices you can put in place right away to mitigate burnout—and why doing so can be beneficial to your business.
When you run or manage a coworking space, your goal is to be able to accommodate and bring in as many professionals as possible without creating a cramped and crowded environment. If your space is already successful, that’s great. However, that doesn’t mean your success is sustainable, depending on the experiences of the people working there.
For starters, burnout reduces productivity. On the surface, that might not seem like a big deal for your business. After all, your customers aren’t working for you. But, if they’re not as productive and motivated, they’re going to spend less time in the space. They might even choose to stop coming altogether, canceling their monthly fee. Every time that happens, you lose a customer and have to worry about marketing to someone new.
Burnout also leads to a lack of engagement. One of the great things about coworking spaces is that they allow people from different industries to network and bounce ideas off of each other. These spaces can become creative hubs of communication, helping to inspire people and promote productivity. When everyone is feeling the effects of burnout, they’re less likely to interact. Not only will that negatively impact the overall environment of your space, but it can leave people feeling uninspired and unmotivated. That leads you back to the first potential problem of losing them completely.
If you’ve been managing a coworking space for a while, you probably already have the basics. But, it might be time to “audit” your space to determine whether you’re really giving the people who work there what they need to succeed. If they’re stressed or frustrated by things like a lack of sufficient technology, their performance will suffer and they might end up looking for a different space.
Some of the basics people expect from legitimate coworking spaces include:
You can always be a bit “extra” and offer things like snacks and beverages. Those are great options and fairly standard for most of today’s spaces. However, consider what your customers might really need to help them avoid burnout.
Many of them might be starting their own businesses. Consider offering startup resources like digital assets, coaches, and advisors. Even having business cards or brochures somewhere central in the space that can connect them with the right people can make a difference and help them feel more confident as they get their idea off the ground.
Consider offering time tracking, as well. Time management can be a difficult skill for remote workers to master, especially when they’re trying to stay productive. Utilizing time management software on all of your space’s computers is a small detail that can go a long way. Additionally, have several large clocks hanging around the space. Yes, people can look at their computers and phones. However, having physical clocks visible is a great way to remind people to be aware of their time. For some, it’s much easier to glance up at a wall clock than think about checking their phone.
You can’t control what your customers do on their own time. It’s not your job to monitor how much they work each week or whether they’re taking care of themselves in their personal lives. However, you can certainly encourage a healthy work-life balance and promote a positive lifestyle in and out of the coworking space.
Within the space, offer things like:
When people are able to adopt healthy habits in the workplace, they’re more likely to continue those self-care habits at home. Self-care can include everything from exercising to meditating. Contrary to popular belief, self-care doesn’t need to be lavish or take up a lot of time. Rather, it’s about establishing positive habits that promote mental and physical wellness.
Consider offering your customers information about the risks of burnout. Some of the common signs include fatigue, mental distance from their job, and feelings of negativity toward their work. Because so many people who use coworking spaces are freelancers or entrepreneurs, burnout can completely derail their motivation and productivity, dousing the “spark” that made them branch out on their own, in the first place. While you can’t control their habits or their work-life balance, you can do your part to inform them and encourage them to practice self-care.
Keep in mind that many people are now utilizing coworking spaces for new-age ventures. That’s exciting and will have a positive impact on the future of these spaces. However, anyone who has ever started a business, especially something unique, will tell you how stressful it can be. In addition to offering accommodations in the workspace and encouraging a healthy lifestyle at home, provide resources to your customers that will motivate them to reduce their stress and stay focused.
Maybe you can partner with a local gym or yoga studio to offer discounted memberships to your customers. Or, you could host a “giveaway” each month that features something fun and relaxing, like a trip to the spa or a round of golf. Not only will the incentives keep your customers excited to return, but you’ll be promoting rest and relaxation that they might not otherwise choose to take part in on their own.
Because coworking spaces are becoming more popular, it’s not enough to offer the basics. If you don’t go the extra mile to make sure your customers are happy and healthy, you could end up losing out to your competition. It’s not enough to have a strong marketing strategy. Rather, you have to be able to prioritize the well-being of everyone who works there to stand out from the pack.
While we touched on giving your customers what they need, consider what you can do to make the space more productive for them on a long-term basis. Many people who come to coworking spaces want to see continued growth in their careers, and you can help with that.
Hosting special events in your space can be a good way to start. They could be mingling/networking events after-hours or training/classes that focus on specific industries. You might also consider bringing in guest speakers or experts in certain fields to talk and answer questions any of your customers might have. No matter how much research and planning someone does to get a business off the ground, there’s nothing like expert advice from someone who has been there. It’s an incredible asset to the average entrepreneur.
During normal “working hours,” don’t be afraid to let your customers have some fun. Try a few brain-break activities that can serve as healthy distractions. That could include having reading material for everyone, adult coloring pages, or even designated times for games. These short breaks can increase productivity and motivation and are great for ensuring attentiveness and reducing stress. While they’re commonly used to keep school-aged children on task and focused, there’s something adults can learn from that strategy! Encourage fun and freedom throughout the day, and you’ll have a calmer, less stressful work environment for everyone.
These events and activities are great for ensuring your customers understand the value they’re getting with your space. Going the extra mile will help them feel truly cared for and supported, so they’ll be less likely to carry the weight of everything on their shoulders.
While coworking spaces are fantastic for anyone moving to a remote career, they can quickly become unhealthy workplaces if the right steps aren’t taken to prevent and reduce burnout. Keep these ideas in mind and implement some of them into your business. Not only are you more likely to draw in more customers and retain your current ones, but you can feel good knowing you’re fostering a positive, healthy workplace culture for those who are trying to make it on their own.