Office space planning is not just about having a cool design or reducing costs but more about productivity, culture, flexibility and most importantly the well-being and happiness of the occupiers. Coworking spaces are no exception. In fact, these priorities should be emphasized.
Below you can find 8 tips to improve your space and increase the productivity, culture, and well-being of your members. But before we jump to them, it’s essential to emphasize that defining your objectives will help you to figure out the right improvement approach. Let’s take a quick look at objectives:
Essentially, think what do you want to improve? What are your priorities and how are they aligned with the overall business strategy of your coworking space?
For the majority of coworking spaces these are the essential objectives we believe you need to pay attention to:
- Productivity and creativity: the most important one; your members want to be productive and work in a stimulating environment that let their creative juices flow;
- Interaction: access to a community of like-minded professionals is one of the most appreciated added values of coworking spaces; so stimulating interaction between members, and thinking about additional ways to support the community (e.g. events) is a must;
- Flexibility: on one hand it’s the flexibility of services (e.g. convenient rent conditions, flexible memberships), and on the other – the flexibility of the physical space (e.g. design, access, etc);
- Comfort, well-being, and biophilia: pay detailed attention to the comfort of your space. It matters a lot.
- Hospitality: although it’s usually associated with the hotel industry, hospitality matters a lot in coworking – it’s about creating a great experience for people; it’s about making people feel happy and delighted while using your services;
- Brand: it speaks about your space; it’s how people (think members, visitors, partners) perceive your business – it’s about your service, team, communication, interior design, you name it;
- Costs: costs play a huge part in your business, especially when you’re scaling; the more you try to optimize your costs, the more efficient you’ll be in managing, and as a consequence – in relocating your resources to improving your service, hiring new staff, implementing new technologies, etc.
You would like to choose one or a few objectives to concentrate on so you can keep your efforts focused and consistent. Once you’ve defined the objectives for your space, here are 8 tips that will help you improve your coworking space:
1. Layout your space with different zones
Zoning is a very important concept in space planning. You should try to provide as many areas as possible for different purposes, such as:
- Private/study booths. For example, when I speak to someone, I prefer to be in a private place. I can’t speak in the open space, mixing dozens of conversations.
- Open space. This is obvious for every coworking space and you probably have enough of it.
- Team rooms. It’s often a good idea to feature some team rooms as well.
- Meeting and brainstorming rooms and spots. You have to stimulate collaboration and interaction between members. To plan and choose the right meeting rooms for your coworking space you should consider things like your audience and location.
- Define enough break-out areas, cafeterias and places for rest.
If you want to unleash the creativity of your tenants, you have to provide them with different zones. A change of your working spot even for a while can unleash some very good ideas. I love to work in a different place at least one day a week.
2. Engage with your members
Last but not least is my favorite – collaboration. You should engage with your tenants. It means creating a cross-communication flow between you and them, and between coworkers.
- You should try to create a social culture. A good option is putting on micro-events for the members of the community.
- But you should also find a way to communicate with your members and get their feedback. After all, you want the coworking space to please your members and make them happy. As the space is your product you should find a convenient way to gather as much feedback as possible about your product and how to improve it.
3. Cut off administrative load with a coworking CRM
The more you cut off from the administrative workload, the more you’ll be able to focus on your members and on growing your business. Administrative tasks such as billing, meeting room bookings, and contracts can be automated by coworking apps that bring in one place the essential aspects of managing a coworking business and integrate with all critical systems such as access control, Wi-Fi, billing, accounting, and more.
Moreover, such coworking management software solutions allow you to keep track of key business metrics such as revenue, occupancy, and utilization so you can make better decisions about your business, reduce costs and improve your revenue.
4. Choose your desks and chairs wisely
This is quite obvious but still, a lot of places do it wrong. There are rules that you should comply with in order for your members to feel good. The height of desks and chairs should be according to standards. Having a desk that is too short is not a good idea even if it looks good. Desks with adjustable heights are a great option.
Standing Desks. Another good idea is standing desks. You may have some and provide them on a rotation basis. In any case, this will add a lot of credibility to your space. I love working on a standing desk once in a while.
5. Manage distractions
Noise. Coworking means an open plan and that’s part of what makes it so cool. We all know the advantages of an open office but it does have a few disadvantages too. The noise and distractions in an open space can be very annoying and unproductive. That’s why you should pay attention to the acoustics and the visual contact in the space. One way to improve this is via better flooring or ceiling. Since this one is not that easy to accomplish you may need to add some furniture too.
6. Get flowers. A lot of them.
Biophilia is proved to make us happier. We feel good when we see greenery and life around us. It’s part of our nature so you should pay attention to it. Taking care of flowers is not that expensive or time-consuming but they will add a lot of value to your space and your tenants will appreciate that. We are working in a coworking space that is full of flowers and internal gardens and we love it.
Second Home’s beautiful gardens
7. Provide healthy snacks
We all like to snack. It would be very good if you could provide good, healthy snacks for your tenants. I would love to buy some fruits, nuts, salads, smoothies or healthy sugar-free cookies. Your audience is people that care about their health so providing healthy snacks is essential. Also, having a place for a snack and good coffee is a nice way to stimulate creativity, interaction, and collaboration between members.
8. Put whiteboards or enable writing on walls
If you can’t make separate brainstorming booths or small rooms, you have to find a way to provide enough whiteboards. This is very important to stimulate not just the creativity of the tenants but also their productivity. I often think better when I’m in front of the whiteboard. It helps me structure my thoughts and define them visually.
One very good option is to use a special paint that allows writing directly on the walls. This will not just boost the brainstorming sessions but also give life to your place if you have creative people with painting skills. Other good options include cork boards or even synced TVs.
These are our 8, what are yours?