Remote working has increased in popularity in recent years. There has been a definite shift in employee expectations when it comes to flexible working, compared to being in the office every day. With that in mind, employers have been exploring flexible workspace options to create a seamless blend between at-home and in-office working.
The 9-til-5 has finally made it to the 21st century.
The office still has its place. It reflects the brand to clients and staff alike, brings the team together, creates a sense of belonging, and enables a creative, collaborative approach to work. However, it’s not always necessary to have everyone in, every day. This is where flexible workspace management has its place.
Sharing workspace can enable businesses to reduce the square footage of their commercial properties, thus reducing overheads, as well as increasing productivity and boosting morale by a whopping 90%. For businesses looking to achieve this, renting office space is a vital part of their strategy.
Aside from the obvious operational benefits of reducing overheads, businesses with lower expenses also benefit from a better valuation, should the time come to sell your website or internet business.
A rise in flexible working has led to an increase in businesses offering flexible workspaces. Brainstorming meetings to goal setting or sprint planning meetings are all common reasons to rent a workspace. In order to be competitive, there are a number of things you can do to make your space stand out and offer the best service you can to your clients.
Providing the best workspace isn’t generally synonymous with providing a service on the cheap. However strategic cost-cutting can help boost profitability without compromising on your level of service. Think about cheap but appealing decor - plants are a low-cost welcome addition to any office space - as well as practical additions like cheap business phones or a furniture upgrade.
Money saved in some areas can be invested in other areas such as marketing or client management systems. Coworking space software platforms allow you to engage with users and find out what they value most from your service, so you can hone in and focus on what matters.
Consider what type of space you want to offer. If you’ve invested in a coworking space management system, direct communications with clients will help you find out what’s important to them when renting office space. Whether that be an open-plan office space, cubicles, a boardroom set-up, or something else, you can plan for the needs of your users. Then, consider the design of the room and how it could complement the purpose.
Will users want a futuristic look, a creative non-formal environment, or something more functional? Think outside the box and use client feedback to get creative to make your shared office an inspirational workspace.
As you grow, you must ensure your members are getting the most out of what you have to offer. This means everything from taking calls to monitoring bookings, making sure your space is clean and tidy, having someone there to serve refreshments, and ensuring there are no problems with the Wi-Fi, etc. Coworking space management software can help but you’ll still need a manager to track your bookings and ensure the space is ready to go.
As you grow, why not consider a cloud PBX service? What is cloud PBX? It’s a type of business telephone service that offers more functionality and manages incoming and outgoing calls.
With a more eco-conscious generation entering the workplace, it’s more important than ever to ensure coworking spaces are sustainable. Flexible working can cut down on the need to commute, but digitizing services can offer an even greener experience.
Cloud-based document sharing can reduce the need for printing, whilst AI solutions implemented into a coworking space management platform can efficiently control heating and air conditioning, reducing carbon emissions. On top of that, you could provide recycled materials and have reusable items rather than single-use ones.
A seamless booking system, quickly answered telephones and smooth access to the workspace are great ways to create client satisfaction. Going one step further and supplying better IT facilities will also help. Providing super-fast broadband, for example, or adding call centre phone systems for a more reliable service, are other ways to improve the client experience.
Flexible working means teams need to be able to access and share documents securely from anywhere in the world. This could mean having cloud-based software that is well-implemented. This can often be a costly and challenging area to get right and you may consider moving away from legacy mainframe systems. On top of this, digital asset management solutions may make things easier.
What’s the difference between cloud storage and digital asset management?
Well, cloud storage focuses on the user (usually one person) who can grant permission to others to access the data whereas digital asset management focuses on the asset and allows multiple authorized users granted access. It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons when looking at cloud vs digital asset management.
As you may have noticed from what we’ve discussed above, time is one of the most limited assets we have when it comes to offering flexible workspaces. Taking bookings, invoicing, sending booking reminders, and so on, can bog you down and take you away from growing your business.
As with most businesses, automation can be used where possible to free up human managers to take care of clients on a face-to-face basis, such as using an 8x8 VoIP System. Take the life sciences and healthcare industry, or automation of business systems in the IT field. This is where coworking space platforms come into play. Here are some of the things a management system can help you with:
Consider coworking software options that can manage the physical environment such as lift and door access for your members. A seamless entry system is impressive to clients, and frees up your reception staff to meet and greet the clients as they come in whilst they’re working on other tasks.
Meeting space bookings and payments can be managed with coworking space software. If rooms are booked and paid for in advance it takes a lot of work away from your human team freeing them to tackle more complex tasks. A digital platform also gives you the chance to implement memberships or subscription services to cultivate regular clients and develop communication streams, upselling tactics or other revenue streams.
A bespoke coworking space software package that manages your workspace digitally will enable your business to maintain consistent branding in all areas of customer contact. Logos, font style, use of color and imagery can all be tailored to reflect your brand so that when a client walks in they immediately recognise your space.
This is why you need coworking space software.
With many off-the-shelf or bespoke tools to choose from, what should you look out for when selecting a system to help you manage your flexible or coworking space?
Clients require an easy-to-use system that enables them to track bookings, including multiple bookings over several locations, whereas you may wish to monitor statistics and review data. If you or your clients find any aspect of the software difficult to use it could lose you their business.
You’ll also need to consider the format of such software. Is it suitable for smartphone use on both Apple and Android? Is there a desktop app? Make sure it’s accessible on as many devices and browsers as possible.
All flexible workspace businesses are set up and run differently. Look at what’s holding you and your workforce back. Is it chasing payments? Taking bookings manually and so on. Some packages will claim to cover all the bases and offer everything you need and more. This can be confusing for operators - and costly, if you don’t need all the features - so consider choosing a solution that meets your specific needs rather than having a large list of features you’ll never touch.
If you want to run your business efficiently, yes.
Without a doubt, the growth in hybrid working has led to an increase in businesses offering flexible workspace solutions. For companies that have built a model around offering coworking space, there can be many challenges, especially in the form of competition, offering a good service to clients and freeing up employees’ time.
Investing in a bespoke coworking space platform can improve the client experience by giving them flexibility and control over their own bookings and payments. A smooth process from creating an account to using the meeting space will keep the client happy and more likely to use you again.
From a provider’s perspective, you retain clients, communicate with them easily, and reduce admin time. In addition, software gives you the opportunity to review data. Consider adapting fees; increasing at busier times and putting offers on when it’s quieter. If you manage multiple coworking spaces you can review their performance and decide whether or not one area could be repurposed to maximize its potential.
The possibilities are there and it’s up to you to find them.
The article was written by John Allen, a driven marketing professional with over 14 years of experience, an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs across SEM, SEO, paid media, mobile, social, and email, with an eye to new customer acquisition and increasing revenue.