11 Must-have Amenities in Your Shared Workspace
Earlier this year, Share Your Office published a post detailing the must-have meeting room amenities in a coworking space. Now we’re looking at the must-have amenities in your larger shared workspace. Here are 11 of our favorites.
1. Fast, Reliable Wifi
Fast, reliable wifi is the number one must-have in a shared workspace. People may put up with imperfect chairs, they may tolerate mediocre coffee and they can put headphones on if someone’s being too loud in the open space, but bad wifi is a deal breaker. Invest in quality IT to ensure your members have a fast, reliable connection. Nothing will send a member to another space faster than a dropped internet connection when they need it most.
2. Comfortable Chairs
Members are going to spend a lot of time sitting in your chairs. Make sure they’re comfortable, adjustable and ergonomically sound. Provide some variety in the seating options so members can choose what works best for them.
3. Variety of Work Areas
One of the biggest perks of shared workspaces is that members have lots of flexibility. Some days they may need a quiet area to work, and others they may want to sit at a community table with other members. Provide work area options, including single desks, shared tables, a workbar and standing desks. Depending on your location and clientele, you may even consider getting a treadmill desk.
4. Phone Booths or Call Areas
Phone booths and designated areas to make calls serve two purposes: they give members a place to make a private call, without having to broadcast their business into the open space, and they save members working in the open space from having to listen to one-sided calls being broadcast into the space.
5. Meeting Rooms
Not every shared workspace member needs meeting room access, but for those who do, they are a must-have. Meeting rooms can be used for presentations and events, but they’re also used for client meetings, group brainstorms, interviews, and longer calls than a phone booth allows or is comfortable for.
6. Dedicated Desks
Many shared workspace members work from a laptop computer that travels with them. But some members need more at their workstation, including large monitors, multiple monitors, locked storage for gadgets and resources, etc. Dedicated desks work well for these people as they can leave their work setup in-place and return to it—still set up—at any time.
7. Engaged Community Manager
Your community manager is the heart of your shared workspace. They answer the phone, greet people coming into the space, give tours to potential members, plan events and field questions all day. The best community managers also know what their members are working on, what kind of work or partnerships they may be looking for and anything they’re struggling with. They introduce new members to the community, they connect people and they have conversations with members about how the space is working for them.
8. High-quality Printer/Scanner/Copier
Shared workspaces need a high-quality printer/scanner/copier. Get one with good support because, with as much use as the machine gets, there will be issues and you’ll need to get them resolved as quickly and painlessly as possible for you and your members.
Every shared workspace should offer free coffee and tea. It’s a small thing, but endless coffee is a significant perk (and selling point) of coworking. Ideally, there’s also a kitchen in the workspace so members can bring lunch and store it in the fridge, make meals and eat together in the space.
10. Mail Service
A key feature of a shared workspace is having a professional address. Some shared workspaces have an actual mailbox, while others have a locking file cabinet or other sorting and mail storage area.
There are lots of project management and mind-mapping tools available online, but nothing beats a good whiteboard session, where people brainstorm, map, outline and strategize next steps and projects. Protip: have at least one whiteboard on wheels so people can roll it to wherever they’re working.
What would you add to this list? What are some other must-have amenities in a shared workspace?
Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on coworking, community and the future of work. Publications include Shareable, Yes! Magazine and Lifehacker. She’s the author of Coworking Out Loud, an ebook guide to content marketing for coworking spaces. She sends weekly tips and resources to coworking space operators.