The 4 Features of a Successful Coworking Space
Due to the rise in popularity of coworking spaces over these past few years, there are now numerous locations to choose from. Studies show that there are currently around 600 coworking spaces in just the United States alone and nearly 200 new locations have opened in the last 2 years; however, many of them have closed their doors within their first year.
There are several factors that differentiate coworking spaces; style, atmosphere, whom they cater to, and features. Different people will have different desires and priorities. For some people the most important thing may be the ability to meet with clients on a regular basis, while some peoples biggest concern is networking. So I decided to go and do a little research in order to find out: what makes a coworking space successful?
4 Tips to make a coworking space successful
First off location. The location of your coworking space is incredibly important. This goes doubly for coworking spaces that wish to establish themselves in a city. A large portion of your member base will be freelancers and startups; individuals who often do not drive and rely on either bikes or public transit to get around. As such choosing a location that’s accessible, near to other businesses, and preferably within walking distance of restaurants and such will greatly help your coworking space attract individuals.
Another often overlooked aspect is the importance of community. Most people who come to work at a coworking space could just as well be working from home. Something then needs to set the experience apart from a home office or a coffee shop. What they are looking for is a place where they can work and be in contact with other people; to have a little chat during a short break, have a few drinks after the end of the day, exchange ideas and to learn from others. These aspects of community are incredibly important for those in the coworking world, and keep them coming back to the workplace. An example of a location which owes its success to their strong community spirit is New Work City: open since 2008. Since their creation the location has made a point of instituting a number of regular events, such as: WAMM (Welcome Aboard Member Meeting), an online discussion group, a profile directory, a work sprint, and collaborative motivation sessions. This is merely one example in hundreds, but extra features such as this really make the difference when distinguishing yourself from others.
3. PERKS AND FEATURES
Third, Perks and Features are an incredibly important element to draw individuals in and keep them there. As we’ve seen previously, most coworking spaces have the same basics services (membership plans, types of desks available, free coffee…). Due to this, this is one of the areas where you can really set yourself apart from the crowd. Unique services and additional perks help catch people’s eye and possibly can get you some good publicity. Coworking spaces have approached this from numerous fronts; places like NextSpace has partnered with local businesses such as Zipcar to offer discounts, along with regional restaurants and other services. Smaller locations often take a different route, such as providing class training, free workshops, and in at least one case I’ve seen – weekly massages from professional masseurs.
4. CULTURE AND ATMOSPHERE
While related to community, another important aspect to highlight is the Culture and Atmosphere of a coworking space. This may not have any effect on the productivity of the workers, however it is incredibly important.People often look to their surroundings for inspiration and direction, as such a lively interior helps keep people happy and interested. A lot of successful coworking spaces have their own quirks. The first one that comes to mind is Hera Hub: a coworking space only for women which includes feminine touches such as soft lighting, fountains, candles, relaxing music, inspirational quotes on the walls, and chair massages every Tuesday afternoon. On a related note the ambiance at Parisoma is definitely one-of-a-kind as well; there is a huge casing of a 737 jet airplane hanging from the second floor, a yellow architectural light in the meeting room which looks like it’s made from a garden hose and a vintage Bell Atlantic phone booth. While we can’t define what quirk your place should go for, something to make you stand out is important.