How to Manage a Coworking Space: 5 Fundamental Tips for Owners
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How to Manage a Coworking Space: 5 Fundamental Tips for Owners

Helga Moreno
Helga Moreno

Coworking business is not about desk and workspace sharing anymore. The industry is rapidly evolving. Coworking centers are transforming into places of innovation, creation, and new business opportunities. 

As a future or current coworking space owner, you need to adjust your management strategy to keep pace with such evolution. This article was created with the intention to help you with the challenge. Here you will find top tips to improve workspace efficiency, define your brand, strengthen members’ community, and scale your business. 

In our post-COVID society, flexibility has never been more important. As businesses adapt to new ways of working, it's paramount that coworking spaces are agile and adapt to the needs of its members and tenants.

Gwenno Jones, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Gwenno Jones, Community Manager at Tramshed Tech

Let’s start!

1. Put Community First

Coworking space members

Being community-focused is critical for coworking space success. First of all, you need to decide who are your target customers. Each audience has its own set of requirements, which means your management structure and actions will change accordingly.

For instance: 

If you want to attract freelancers and digital nomads, desks and shared tables in the open area should be enough to close the deal. A coffee machine would be a great bonus. Daily or weekly passes are the best payment options for the group.

But if you want to attract entrepreneurs and companies, be ready to provide them with a dedicated space organized in separate rooms, meeting rooms, and the possibility to customize the space. A brief list of services for this audience may include Wi-Fi, copies, receptionist, archive, small kitchen or restroom, possibility to guest entrance. The pricing policy here will be based on the offered services and six-month or annual payments.

Providing tenants with flexibility in regard to their memberships is absolutely vital to the successful management of a coworking space in 2021. The uncertainty that continues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic means that businesses and freelancers are increasingly looking to abandon traditional office spaces in favor of more flexible solutions. Coworking spaces are primed to satisfy this demand, with flexible membership terms allowing tenants to start and stop their payments depending on global events. Modular layouts are also extremely important due to the increasing number of uses for coworking spaces, from regular desk spaces and meeting facilities or event and social spaces.

Teresha Aird, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Teresha Aird, Co-Founder at Offices.net

It’s really challenging to create a quality community at a flexible workspace. But this is one of the challenges you have to overcome if you want to build a healthy growing business. 

If people that sign up for your workspace membership are motivated by price only, they will leave you for a competitor should they offer a better discount. Besides, such clients won’t become a part of the collaborative environment, they will never engage and interact with other members. 

This will result in high churn rates, low revenue, poor member experience, and lost growth opportunities for your brand. 

To avoid frustration, I suggest chasing long-term tactics rather than short-term (such as freebies and discounts) and build a base membership that will contribute to your revenue and energize your space. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to people that don’t fit your community, be selective as this is the only way to success.  

Know what you are looking to create. If you target everyone, you cater for no-one. At Tramshed Tech, we are tailored to tech, digital and creative industries specifically. That doesn't mean that businesses outside of these sectors aren't welcome, it just means that we are specialists in accelerating businesses in these sectors.

Gwenno Jones, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Gwenno Jones, Community Manager at Tramshed Tech

2. Hire the Right People

applicants for coworking space staff positions

When you know who are your customers and what they want, it’s time to hire your golden team, people who will make your space.   

The number and skills of staff you need depend on the size of the venue and the services you offer.

It's important that our members feel seen and understood which is why we invest in training our staff to understand our community. A better understanding of members makes it easier to connect the dots and add value.

Gwenno Jones, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Gwenno Jones, Community Manager at Tramshed Tech

Here is a minimal list of essential positions you need to hire, outsource, or cover yourself:

  • Technology expert (helps customers in solving problems with WiFi access, configuration, etc., can possibly develop and manage the coworking website.)
  • Coworking space manager (you or another person who will run the business, develop it according to the vision, solve problems with members, plan finances, make decisions, and do everything required to satisfy clients’ needs.)
  • Reception desk manager (responsible to manage daily and weekly passes, payments, phone calls and emails of potential customers.) 
  • Community manager (responsible to build, engage and expand the community, and entire communication activity across websites, social media, events, etc.)
  • Marketing person (helps to promote coworking space both online and offline, enhance brand awareness, attract new quality leads.)

It’s ok if the people you hire have no previous experience with coworking spaces. The keys to the superheroes team are candidates’ potential and fit with your unique coworking space’s culture. 

Multiple coworking providers that I have worked alongside in the past have highlighted how they often look to hire staff members that come from a hospitality background, citing the importance of cultivating a social, friendly and empathic coworking environment. Ensuring that tenants start the day with a warm greeting from the reception team, or even an in-house barista, is absolutely vital to the overall atmosphere.

Teresha Aird, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Teresha Aird, Co-Founder at Offices.net

Look for people that are highly motivated with a strong work ethic and a helpful attitude. Ask candidates a few probing questions and evaluate whether they’re outgoing, eager to learn, and willing to assist others. If they are capable of multitasking, it’s a huge benefit either.

To maintain the team structure, it is important to create some team-building exercises in order for your team to get to know each other. This will enhance the productivity of the team. They will also feel like being part of the work culture.

Andrea Boyd, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Andrea Boyd, Community Director at Tailored Space

3. Avoid Common Mistakes

A lot of the coworking spaces fail due to particular reasons such as a lack of planning or advertising, a bad location where there is no demand, etc. 

If you are reading this text, you have a good chance to avoid following the losers’ footsteps. Let’s take a look at the top five mistakes that have already drowned many coworking businesses ship of your peers.

  • Poor planning

Create a coherent business plan with all costs included before even thinking about coworking space launch. Count everything. Try to ask experts’ advice to make your calculations accurate.

For example, if you are going to set up a coffee stand, ask a bartender what it takes. 

Don’t overestimate your profit from office rent. According to coworking managers’ testimonies, the revenues coming from office rent are usually not as high as those related to the hosting of events, the availability of the meeting, the privatization of a coworking space, etc. 

Look to sublease. COVID-19 has resulted in a large increase in the number of spaces available for sublease across the globe, with a record 158.1 million square feet being available in the United States during the peak of the pandemic. Whilst the sublease market is starting to show signs of stabilization, we have seen success for a number of coworking providers who took advantage of relatively affordable sublease prices.

Teresha Aird, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Teresha Aird, Co-Founder at Offices.net

  • Inadequate community development

If you are not developing a community, your coworking center is losing its main attraction.

Our community and employees is our number one priority so when good things happen no matter how big or small, we take time to acknowledge and celebrate these successes.

Gwenno Jones, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Gwenno Jones, Community Manager at Tramshed Tech

This may even lead to driving away potential customers. To avoid this, prepare a list of community events members and guests can attend, have event management tools in place to host your activities on the highest level, and keep rooms and venues ready for members to talk about other things than their careers and professional lives.

  • Create an online and in-person community. I utilize Mighty Networks to have an online community for my remote or mostly remote members.
  • Host events! I created Convergence to bring people together, so that is what we do!
  • Collaborate. It’s important to partner with others to add value to your business and bring more visibility to your space.
  • Stay active as an owner. It’s important to stay involved in your space. Attend your events, get some press, etc.

Marie Rachelle, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Marie Rachelle, Founder of Convergence Coworking

  • Managing a coworking space like an office center

When people come to a coworking space they expect it to be different from an office center. It’s not enough to just provide an open space. It must be lively and possess its own vibes. Be creative, host various events, performances, and entertaining activities to meet customers’ expectations.

It's easy to forget that coworking businesses share a vast number of parallels with hospitality venues, with the experience and comfort of tenants being the primary concern of operators.

Teresha Aird, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Teresha Aird, Co-Founder at Offices.net

  • Not enough investments in communication and networking

 

You can become an example of collaboration for your community members. Enter partnerships with other coworking centers in your country and abroad to reap more profit and benefits. For example, being part of a structure such as Visa Co-working enables workspace members to go everywhere on the planet while paying through a standardized system. Besides, you will get in touch with other managers and have the possibility to share experiences, ask questions, and collect ideas, etc.

There is a rise in popularity for coworking spaces, especially since COVID-19 with business finding new agile ways of working. Fierce competitions means you need to stand out from the crowd and provide added value where possible whether that be a discounted rate on coffees for members or introductions to key partners that can take their business to the next level.

Gwenno Jones, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Gwenno Jones, Community Manager at Tramshed Tech

  • Trying to manage everything on your own

Don’t try to do everything yourself as this is really hard and your coworking space will stay tiny forever. As an option, you can partner with other coworking space managers. This way you will be able to support a larger amount of work and handle it better.

4. Tools for Coworking Space Management

It’s absolutely impossible to run a modern coworking space without dedicated management software. Every operator needs it to keep things organized, grow business and community, and make the everyday use of the facility easy and streamlined for customers.

andcards coworking space management software

It may be a bit challenging to pick out the best option among the available solutions, however, if you at least compare the biggest market players and make a proper decision, the software will take a ton of workload off you and managers, improve productivity and add value to the experience of your members.

Coworking spaces are filled with sparky moments. A thriving network of entrepreneurs, business partners, investors and mentors means that there are many dots to join and connections to be made but with this comes hundreds of ways that these opportunities can fall through the gaps. By investing in a good management system, you can not only deliver a seamless service to your members and tenants, you can also go the extra mile and serve them with content or introductions that they didn't even know they needed.

Gwenno Jones, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Gwenno Jones, Community Manager at Tramshed Tech 

Here is a short list of advantages you get with awesome workspace management software:

As you see, coworking space management software does pretty much everything. However, you may be interested in a few additional tools for email and social media marketing, password management, IT support for websites and blog creation, etc. Most of them offer free plans that should be sufficient for your requirements. 

why coworking spaces choose andcards workspace management software - banner

5. Set Your Business for Success

The main advice here is never to forget the goals you had at the start. Maybe you wanted just to make a living or build a multi-national coworking network...

Keep moving in this direction, don’t let everyday tasks such as attracting and retaining members, reducing operational costs, etc., divert you. 

To develop your business and reach your goals, you need to spend some time learning what matters to members.

Businesses are built by people and grow from relationships.

Gwenno Jones, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Gwenno Jones, Community Manager at Tramshed Tech 

Talk to them, know who is feeling isolated, who needs help with the project, who needs to find focus. Facilitate interactions between members, create opportunities for collaboration, strengthen members’ bonds to each other.

Group some of your members with new people to share their ideas, opinions, and innovative solutions. This will bring a positive drive in your community to do something productive.

Andrea Boyd, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Andrea Boyd, Community Director at Tailored Space 

Remember that happy successful members are the best advocates of your coworking brand and the most powerful driving force for your business development.

To Take Away

Managing a coworking business is challenging but when you have a detailed business plan and follow it, your reach your objectives faster and smoother. 

By accommodating members with optimal working conditions, you brighten their moods and help to unlock their working potential.  

People like people, and starting a business or joining an existing business can be daunting. At Tramshed Tech, we focus on the human behind the technology and make sure they are fully supported at every stage in their business journey. 

Gwenno Jones, comment for "How to manage a coworking space"

Gwenno Jones, Community Manager at Tramshed Tech 

Since coworking concept is relatively new, it typically attracts young, connected and enthusiastic workers. They are adept at new technology, so you should outfit your space with digital software and devices and create a genuinely connected space. Avoid obsolete tools and upgrade regularly. 

Choose the best coworking space management platform to better manage and expand your community. Hire the right staff and take good care of them too. 

That’s it for now. I believe after reading this article you got a better understanding of coworking space management processes and are ready to conquer new heights.

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