The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot in our working lives. One of the most significant changes people saw was the sudden onslaught of work-from-home situations cobbled together by large corporations. Suddenly, companies that never would have considered permitting employees to work from full-time were being forced to do it to protect those same employees (and their bottom line). Now, two years into the pandemic, companies are being forced to accept that their employees are just as productive—and sometimes more productive — working from locations other than a corporate office. With increased flexibility with where employees can work, more and more people have started to consider co-working spaces.
What are co-working spaces?
Co-working spaces are, generally speaking, a neutral space for people from different companies or self-employed people to work independently on different projects — while still having access to the amenities of regular office spaces. A key differentiator between a rented office and co-working spaces is their flexibility. Clients are not required to sign a long-term lease in a co-working space, making them ideal for startups, self-employed people, and people who need access to standard office amenities when working from home.
How to develop a co-working space
If you’re looking at the increasingly flexible nature of our working environments and want to establish your own co-working space, then you’ll need to consider some things first. Here are five questions to ask yourself when developing your future co-working space.
What’s the market like?
Just like any business, you’ll need to consider the market you’re launching your co-working space in. Take into account your location, the price of real estate, the concept’s appeal with your target clientele, and what competition is out there. Assessing the market before you start spending all your money on launching a co-working space is essential to making sure you’re building the right space for your location and that you will succeed.
How will you manage bookings?
Co-working spaces are, at their core, shared office space. However, you won’t succeed with the sharing element if you aren’t properly managing your bookings. To do this, we recommend purchasing the best co-working software you can afford to create a seamless, user-friendly experience that logs and tracks all your bookings. The fastest way to lose customers is to have them show up for their booking, only to find they don’t have one!
What kind of space can you afford?
When you’re ready to start shopping for real estate to house your business, you’ll need to consider the type of space you need, its size, its amenities, the cost of the rent, and how accessible it is to your potential clients. You’ll also want to consider the types of spaces available, including open-concept spaces, industry-specific spaces, and private offices. All these options should be weighed against your business plan.
What amenities will your space need?
Clients booking with your co-working space are expecting to have the same amenities available to them as any traditional office—and then some. To be successful, consider all the software, hardware, and “softer” amenities that will make your space successful. Everything from top-of-the-line WiFi to secure shredders, printers, kitchen spaces, and conference rooms should all be taken into consideration. See what some competitors are doing and what’s successful for them, or run surveys to see what potential clients want.
How will you publicize your space?
A dream co-working space is a fantastic goal, but it won’t go far if no one knows about it! Look into marketing and advertising budgets and establish a solid brand. Consider working with brokers or implementing a referral program—do what it takes to get your clients in the door!