How to Make Coworking Space a Better Place for Members (Insider’s View)
When I first tapped into the field of freelancing and later entrepreneurship, the one thing I struggled with was discipline. I could find it motivating enough to be productive at home and that was a major buzzkill. But, soon enough, I learned about the concept of coworking spaces and I have stationed my temporary office in one of the leading coworking spaces near me.
However, my experience with coworking spaces has been good and bad. I have enjoyed not having a boss nag me 24x7 but I have faced a few shortcomings as well. And, since coworking spaces are so diverse and involve a range of people from different fields, I always feel like there are scopes for improvement all the time.
If you own a coworking space that hasn’t gained much traction, there is likely something that is not working out well for the people using your area.
Here’s what you can do to improve your coworking space to enhance its value and make it more attuned to your customer’s needs. And, no, I am not talking about swapping out the rusty furniture with the good ones. There’s more to it.
With coworking spaces, you need to understand that everyone’s objective and work preferences are different. You might have a software engineer and a fashion designer working on the same floor. While they want their own space to be more productive and creative, you need to create a coworking space that caters to everyone’s likings and needs.
So, having separate sections with different themes help people feel more at ease while they are working. Have team rooms but also include private booths. Have standard office chair settings but also fit a chill, laidback couch situation. It is all about putting yourself in your prospect’s shoes.
Be receptive to the fact that no two people in your coworking space are the same. Even if they were, everyone needs a change of scenery and a versatile approach now and then.
When it comes to talking about complementary services in a coworking space, the first thing that reigns in is the free coffee dispenser and a few different herbal tea types. While that is a staple, we are talking about improving your margins.
When I first worked in a coworking space, it didn’t have a proper cafeteria setting, which meant that I either had to carry my lunch or step out to get it from somewhere nearby.
So, including additional services like a fully-functional cafeteria with healthy and nutritious food options can be a game-changer. This will allow the people to get their lunch in the building without needing to go somewhere else.
You can also include additional services of getting mails delivered and collected at the building or even offer the much-needed financial services that several independent creators, freelancers, and entrepreneurs are on the lookout for.
In case you want to target the big birds, you need to offer them deals and proposals that they get persuaded with. Free one or two-week trial runs at the coworking space with big teams are always a fun way to reign in some good prospects.
Along with all these services, focus on investing your money in app development for your coworking space. We can’t stress this enough, but having a one-stop application for your coworking space can do wonders for your business and also make the whole booking experience easier for the prospect. Ensure creating an eccentric app that allows the users to book their desk and includes sections listing out the benefits, complementary services, open doors, support, meeting room bookings, and so on.
You want to focus on acquiring an application for your coworking space that enables the members to self-service themselves without involving or needing a manager’s help. It helps drive your business as a leading one in the market, emphasizing a member-focused approach.
Spending 8-10 hours in a working space is hectic for people. Not only does it wrestle with one’s mental well-being, but it also puts a strain on their physical health too. When designing your coworking space, you must prioritize ergonomics and equip your coworking space with the best office chairs and desks.
Equip your space with ergonomically designed chairs, desks, and even standing desks, if needed. Including comfortable chairs and well-padded couches can be a game-changer.
Include adjustable desks and chairs, too, so you can accommodate everyone’s needs without needing to buy furniture after furniture every other day.
When you are working on a business or any project, for that matter, there is always going to be enough room for improvement. And that is where you need to work on. Your work doesn’t stop once you are done building the coworking space and furnishing it. That is precisely where your work initiates.
Collaboration and conversation with the members of the coworking space are essential. Get their feedback on what they liked and what they didn’t. It allows you to improve on the shortcomings and helps you improve the space to make it a lot more accommodating.
Besides feedback collection, you can also host mini-events once every month to bring everyone together and enhance the space’s social culture.
One of the main reasons why I decided to leave my job and pursue freelancing full-time was because I wanted to tap into my full potential and because I hated being confined inside a room with whitewashed walls. So, when I started looking for coworking spaces, I knew that I wanted a space that I resonated well with.
So, if you are a coworking space manager or owner reading this, focus on making the space more hip, quirky, and inviting. Nobody wants to spend their time in an office space with dull white walls and an arrangement of desks. Those are the talks of the past. If you have a coworking space and want to improve it, you must focus on the interiors.
Include more plants, both the original and fake ones, to add a touch of greenery to the space around. Instead of painting the walls a dull white or grey, add splashes of color everywhere. Another significant improvement you can introduce is including whiteboards and wall writing spaces for better brainstorming and engaging conversations.
One of the most common problems that the members in the coworking spaces face is uninterrupted noises. With the open plan, the noise can get pretty annoying pretty quickly. You could have people complaining about someone taking calls loudly or running loud presentations in the middle of the day.
I have personally changed two coworking spaces because of this issue. Having someone constantly scream about their stocks was not really helping me get my work done.
So, as a coworking space operator, you need to keep a check on the noise levels. You can either assign “loud” members with private booths or soundproof the meeting rooms, so the sound doesn’t penetrate through the rooms’ glass. Also, focus on soundproofing the ceilings and the rooms to better manage the noise.
Another constructive way of improving the coworking space is by keeping the pantry stocked. This is crucial because, for the fees that the members are paying, they’d expect to have easy access to snacks that they can munch on during their work.
However, when you are stocking up the pantry, you need to cater to everyone’s needs. You can have vegetarian people or even vegan members in the space. So, instead of including random snacks that contain restrictive ingredients, include snacks that everyone can munch on without any restrictions.
One of the primary reasons why most people are tired of the same 9-5 routine is the dull and boring workspace. As an owner of a coworking space, you want to focus on introducing elements that make it a fun and quirky space to work in.
Adding a recreation room in the building is always a fun way to keep the members engaged and promote better collaboration. You can include tennis tables, video games, a library with books of varying genres, and so on.
If possible, have a secluded space on the floor for smoking as well. This helps people exercise their addiction away from other people.
When you are setting up a coworking space, you want that area to cater to all the prospect’s needs. All you want the person to come with is their laptop. But, to do that and improve the overall space, you need to include all the essentials that a person would need for a comfortable working experience in the area you have built.
To better equip the space, you can always ask the members to get back to you with feedback. This could help you make the necessary additions without having to worry about the rest.
Coworking spaces come with their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. But, there is always room for improvement, so if you have a coworking space and you have been meaning to improve the overall space, these are some of the important factors that you need to keep to keep a check on. At the end of the day, you want the members to feel at ease and have a comfortable working experience in the space. So, eliminating the challenges and brimming the space with all the essentials is a need of the hour.
The article was written by Brad Shaw. Brad is a blogger at OfficeArrow. You’ll often find him trying new furniture, technology, stationery, or decoration to improve his workspace. His goal is to make office space as functional, as comfortable, and as heavenly as possible.