3 Essentials Every Coworking Space Should Have
As the workforce becomes increasingly distributed, companies across the country are recognizing the need for flexible office space strategies like coworking.
A coworking space gives employees the opportunity to connect with other professionals and enjoy in-person collaboration while still supporting the flexibility of remote work.
From an employer’s standpoint, a coworking space can be a cost-effective way to reduce an organization’s real estate footprint. However, not all coworking spaces will be ideal for the work your company does. And because of COVID-19, the bar for coworking spaces has been set even higher.
Whether you are an employer considering your options or the manager of a coworking space, you should know what all the best coworking spaces have in common.
What elements does every coworking space need?
1. A purposeful, modern office design
At a time when employees can work anywhere they have an internet connection, a coworking space today needs to provide more than desks. It should be a work environment that supports connection, productivity, and employee health and safety.
Workplace leaders should not overlook the sense of connection a coworking space provides.
Twenty percent of employees said loneliness was their biggest struggle with working remotely, according to Buffer’s most recent State of Remote Work survey.
To foster a sense of community, a coworking space should have plenty of collaborative spaces and few barriers. That doesn’t mean it should be an entirely open office, but one designed for activity-based working.
There should be a combination of formal meeting rooms, casual huddle areas, and quiet spaces for individual work.
The placement of these areas is also important. Collaborative areas and quiet areas should have some distance between them, and, ideally, some buffers to reduce office noise.
One often overlooked but critical attribute is abundant access to natural light. Exposure to natural light has a profound impact on employee productivity, mood, and wellness.
The best coworking spaces maximize the distribution of natural light. This includes having plenty of windows, using glass walls wherever possible, and using translucent materials in areas that require more privacy.
A coworking space should also offer members access to outdoor workspaces that have comfortable furniture, a strong WiFi signal, and climate control elements such as canopies, fans, and portable heaters.
2. Commitment to safety and security
When it comes to safety, the responsibilities of coworking space managers are two-fold. The first is protecting occupants from unwelcome visitors.
If a coworking space uses paper sign-in sheets for visitor registration, it shows a lack of commitment to safety.
A visitor management system offers a more effective way to maintain a safe and secure work environment.
Upon a guest’s arrival and check-in, you can use the software to print temporary security badges that include an expiration date and a photo of the visitor. Visitor management software also offers the ability to check visitors against your security watchlist.
This technology also provides a digital record of all visitors, which you can easily search in the event of a security incident or a potential COVID-19 exposure.
Minimizing risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace is another important responsibility all coworking managers have these days. This includes:
- Improving building ventilation, air filtration, and circulation
- Using furniture and building materials that are easily sanitized
- Installing stations with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes
- Having a rigorous process for cleaning and sanitizing the workplace, including shared surfaces
Space management software allows coworking space owners to visualize each part of their building and create different floor plans and seating scenarios. This technology enables them to determine how to arrange the space to ensure there is proper spatial distancing between work areas. It also allows them to reduce office capacity when necessary.
When integrated with IoT sensors, space management software becomes an even more powerful tool. Sensors passively collect occupancy and space utilization data that provides coworking space managers full visibility into how their workplace is being used.
With this technology, they can execute intelligent, demand-based cleaning that is more effective and efficient than using the same daily schedule.
3. User-friendly technology
While the design and functionality of a coworking space is paramount, it’s also important for members to be able to interact with the space. To be as productive as possible, they need to be able to quickly find what they need.
That includes finding people, reserving rooms, receiving mail and important announcements, and requesting service.
Mobile apps and digital signage can help members stay connected by giving them a simple way to navigate their environment and access important information.
These technologies should be integrated with service request software so occupants have the option to easily submit, monitor, and update service tickets. This includes requests for maintenance in addition to requests for specific assets or equipment.
Members should also have the ability to track packages, view the estimated delivery date, and receive a notification when the package has been received.
Above all else, a coworking space should have heart and a sense of community. It should offer occupants a feeling of belonging and show commitment to their well-being.
Amenities like meditation rooms and a variety of healthy snacks are always a nice perk, too.
The best coworking spaces are so inviting that members will eagerly leave the comfort of their own homes to go to them.