The remote work trend is becoming increasingly common as individuals strive for greater work-life balance and flexibility in their professional lives. Entrepreneurs and regular employees have joined the growing number of people working from various locations beyond a traditional office setting. The COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly accelerated the adoption of remote work, offering a test run demonstrating how people can thrive and perform their best anywhere they choose to work. This realization has led many corporate leaders to embrace that productivity and success can happen outside traditional physical office space with minimal direct supervision.
The number of coworking spaces is increasing exponentially across all cities. According to Zippia, as of the end of 2022, there were about 19,400 coworking spaces globally, with more than 6,200 in the United States. Statista also estimates that by the end of 2024, there will be 41,975 coworking spaces available for use globally. Despite the trend picking up speed, opening and operating a new coworking space isn’t easy. Like any business involving service delivery, it presents a unique set of obstacles. Mitigating these challenges is essential to maintaining a happy clientele who enjoy a secure and efficient environment and a coworking space free from the hustle of office politics or the sometimes unwelcome intrusion of little ones at home.
What Do Coworking Space Users Want?
When people leave the comfort of their homes to come to a coworking space, they’re looking for a delicate balance between the feel of professional office space and the flexibility and coziness of a home. Comfortable, clean, well-managed, and uniquely designed office spaces promote productivity, creativity, and well-being. If you decide to go into the coworking space business, you must ensure that people find inspiration to work and achieve their dreams just from being in your space.
Coworking space users also want amenities that cater to their professional needs, such as private meeting rooms, printing areas, soundproof phone booths, bathrooms, coffee bars, and enough sockets to allow them to sit anywhere within the premises and work. The space must meet the professional and social needs of those who come by. Coworking spaces free of noise, petty politics, pests, and other such frustrations are great, and eliminating these from the beginning sets you up for success. They’ll keep returning and recommending your space to others in their circles. There are several ways to tick all the boxes and keep your new coworking space free from potential issues.
Be Legally Compliant
If this is your first time venturing into the coworking space business, you may not be familiar with your area’s various zonal compliance requirements. In this case, it’s best to enlist the services of a business lawyer who can guide you through the compliance process and provide legal support in the future. Ensuring compliance with all applicable laws and regulations means you obtain the necessary permits and address any legal requirements about the workspace.
Along with the externally required permits and compliance, creating an in-house legal agreement outlining the coworking space’s terms of service and operational guidelines is essential. This contract should encompass an exhaustive list of the services offered, details regarding renewal and termination, and a section explicitly stating the responsibilities of the workspace users. Everyone should get a copy, read and sign it, then keep a copy while you keep the original. Let the contract comprehensively explain the payment terms and methods to avoid payment-related problems.
You should also consider the benefits of obtaining an insurance policy for your newly established coworking space and its furnishings if this isn’t already a requirement in your state. The contract states that all individuals wishing to use the coworking space must acquire their liability insurance to cover any potential personal injury or property damage incidents that may arise within your property. Doing these things will go a long way in protecting you and the business from potential legal liabilities. You’ll have created a coworking space free from the nuances of legal hassles.
Hire a Full Time Cleaning Crew
Coworking offices are busy spaces. There’s typically no official time to arrive or leave. Unlike a traditional office, where a cleaner has time to clean later in the evening when everyone has left or in the wee hours before people arrive, a coworking space sees walk-ins almost all day. To keep your coworking space free from getting perpetually messy, you need to enlist the services of a full-time cleaning company that can have an office cleaner on shift during all your open hours.
Maintaining a clean and hygienic office space is essential for the well-being of employees and visitors. According to Coworking Mag, keeping a coworking space neat begins at the individual level, where each space user does their part. It’s impolite to intentionally leave a mess behind just because there’s a cleaner present. Try to promote a culture of mutual respect and personal responsibility creatively.
Hiring a reliable office cleaner ensures you keep your new coworking space free from clutter and nasty smells. Over time, you’ll not have to deal with the embarrassment caused by pests like rodents and cockroaches. A clean and organized environment also relieves users’ stress, helps them clear their minds and feel less distracted, promotes better health, and enhances the overall ambiance of the space.
Natural Light is King
As a rule, sitting in rooms with lots of natural lighting is advisable. Natural light has a profound impact on employee productivity and mood. Exposure to natural light is proven to boost your mood and promote well-being. According to Healthline, sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of happiness and relaxation. Increased exposure to natural light reduces stress and anxiety, leading to a more positive and productive work environment.
Make sure your coworking space has large windows. Installing proper window treatments, such as blinds or curtains, keeps your coworking space free from discomfort caused by glare. Your clients should be able to regulate light levels and have some privacy when needed. Well-chosen window treatments also contribute to the office’s aesthetic appeal.
On the utility bill front, relying more on natural light during the day will help reduce the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours, lowering energy consumption and electricity costs. This environmentally friendly approach aligns with sustainable practices and reduces the carbon footprint of the coworking space.
Well Maintained Plumbing Systems
A well-functioning plumbing system is crucial for any office space. If your new coworking space is within an office complex managed by a rental company, the best you can do is inspect the property before renting, alert the management company about any issues you notice, and wait for them to fix things before you move in.
If you own the property, the plumbing system maintenance is your responsibility. Periodically, engaging the services of reliable plumbing companies ensures that potential issues like leaks, clogs, or drainage problems are addressed promptly or prevented altogether. A smoothly running plumbing system contributes to your peace of mind as a business owner, keeps your coworking space free from repair interruptions and bad smells, and ensures employee comfort.
Regular HVAC Maintenance
The HVAC of a coworking office space is run throughout to maintain optimal indoor temperature and air quality. Comfort is necessary for your pace users to feel comfortable and productive. First, install a commercial, heavy-duty HVAC and then schedule regular maintenance to keep it working efficiently. A reliable HVAC will keep your coworking space free from uncomfortable temperature fluctuations.
If you get any concerning feedback regarding the temperatures or air quality from the coworking space staff or the users themselves, get a professional to do the air conditioning repair ASAP. It’s always better to be proactive. It’s not a good idea to wait for your HVAC to malfunction. Have it inspected for common HVAC problems such as dirty filters and coils, refrigerant, and duct leaks, and pilot or ignition problems, among others.
People accessing your coworking space will appreciate working in a fresh, unpolluted environment with the proper temperatures for each weather season. As your business grows, consider upgrading your HVAC system every two years. Besides general air conditioning, other climate control services, such as heating and ventilation, also play a crucial role in maintaining a comfortable office environment and should therefore be considered.
Be the Plug
To better serve your users, and set yourself apart from the competition, always have a service list containing contacts for the services a user may need suddenly. These may include laptop and phone repair and cab and car hire services. Doing this will give your users the impression that you care for their comfort and want to facilitate a productive, stress-free environment.
It’ll also promote a sense of community resourcefulness within the working space so that if anyone knows some helpful information, they’d be willing to share it for the betterment of other users. When users feel like they belong to an exclusive symbiotic community within the coworking space, their loyalty and emotional connection will keep them returning to work in your space day after day. This is good for business.
Build a User-friendly Website
Your new coworking space website should be user-friendly to ensure a positive user experience and drive conversions. When prospective and current users can easily navigate and find what they need on your website, they’re more likely to stay on the site, explore its content, convert into customers, or take desired actions like registering for updates and NEWS updates. Did you also know that a good website design impacts search engine rankings, as search engines consider factors like bounce rates and engagement when determining website relevance? So as you get your website done, have these in mind and eliminate any chance of being shadow-banned by search engines.
A good website is also optimized for different devices. It allows a broader audience to access and interact with the site. This strengthens brand perception, fosters customer satisfaction and loyalty, and provides a competitive advantage in the online market.
You’ve heard it said that a website is the face of your business in the online space, so make it shine. Creating a website can be long, drawn-out, and expensive if you don’t know what you want or haven’t thought about it before. Do your research and work with your web designer to develop a website vision board that gives the right impression. This way, you help keep your coworking space free from misrepresentation and your website from being boring, generic, and unengaging.
Plan For Basic Amenities
Make plans for basic amenities like placing stationary in convenient spots, having very soft background music playing in the background, a free snack bar, having a printing agency set up a scanning, photocopying, and shredding area, providing reliable internet connectivity, having an electrical backup in case of a surge, install more outlets in and outside or wherever there’s a sitting area. You can also have extra extension cords to cater to users who may have forgotten theirs or offer equipment for rent, including external monitors and projectors, and other conferencing systems. If you don’t want to rent stuff out at an extra cost, you can incorporate the costs in their membership fees and let them use the items provided within the premises for free.’
With the abundance of electronic devices from everyone working concurrently in the same space, cable management will help the coworking space maintain a neat and organized feel. Without proper cable management solutions, users will be susceptible to hazards like tripping and falling and damage to the cables and cords. Keeping your coworking space free from tangled wires is one of the simplest yet effective ways to avoid problems.
Since people are walking in and out with all kinds of expensive laptops to work, they may be exposed to theft attempts. Install and regularly monitor CCTV cameras in the coworking spaces to keep everyone safe and assured.
Secure your cloud services too. Do this by calling an IT guy to encrypt your WiFi network and require an ID and password to connect to WiFi. This way, you keep hackers and phishing attempts at bay. You could even hire security personnel to monitor your networks and immediately notify you of any issues they notice.
Creating a comfortable and ambient coworking office for people involves careful planning. You must also be on top of the organization and process improvement agenda to ensure your services are continuously improving. Prioritize employee well-being and invest in the essential aspects of nurturing customer loyalty and interdependence. A coworking space free from unnecessary interruptions, noises, and other frustrations allows people to be productive.