Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly
Whether it’s the one dude beside you always trying to get a glance at your screen like he’s trying to catch you doing shady stuff, or the lady on the phone apologizing to a client for failing to meet a deadline, a coworking space has a certain ambiance that distinguishes it from a regular workspace. A coworking space is basically a workspace used by different people with different jobs or from different companies.
This arrangement provides for shared office utilities like kitchens, coffee booths and many more. So, if you are going to sign up for coworking spaces, you might as well get used to the idea of not having a personal space because while you’re in the kitchen trying to make a private call, you could find out someone is just by the corner possibly listening in on your conversation the whole time.
Coworking spaces are usually booked by individuals who were hitherto, working from home, freelancers, telecommuters and sometimes startups who want to take advantage of relatively cheap workspaces. As of 2019, there are close to 19,000 coworking spaces worldwide. Therefore, as every day passes, more coworking spaces are springing up to cater to the needs of a growing number of digital nomads and young entrepreneurs.
Has this article made you feel like a coworking space is a perfect fit for you, minus the absence of personal space? I bet it did. However, like every other thing, coworking spaces come with their hitches. A coworking business seems to be the trendy venture right now, it appears as a potential cash cow that would give you your much-desired big break which is okay. However, what’s not okay is to establish coworking spaces devoid of basic things that will aid client productivity like office amenities thereby, subjecting customers to harsh working conditions.
Of course, it isn’t always the case that owners deliberately set out to put up horrible workspaces. Some inadequacies are just an oversight on the owner’s part. However, just as a surgeon’s fatal mistake cannot be excused on the basis of its inadvertence, coworking space owners cannot be totally excused on the same grounds. Before we delve into the 10 commandments of a good coworking space, let’s briefly discuss the most common mistakes coworking spaces make and how to fix them.
Common Mistakes of Coworking Spaces and How to Fix Them
1. Ignoring Clients’ Feedback
Many times, clients have basic needs such as consistent internet connections and owners who don’t listen to their clients’ needs or those that listen and do nothing about it end up shooting themselves in the legs. The majority of the occupants of coworking spaces are millennials who are known to evade discomfort by any possible means and so will not hesitate to start looking out for new coworking spaces when the current one doesn’t serve their needs. If you hear constant complaints about the sorry state of the kitchen or a roof leak at a particular corner, you should immediately begin to look for solutions.
2. Improper Allocation of Resources
Do not have misplaced priorities, wasting time and energy on less important stuff like trying to give your members daily inspiring speeches while failing to address issues that affect their productivity like faulty office equipment. Patricia McLellan rightly said, “almost half of your resources should go toward making sure your space is productive and comfortable because that is the number one thing all your members look for and won’t compromise on…”. Be sure to place a premium on your members’ comfort and put your money where your mouth is.
3. Not Having/Pursuing a Growth Plan
Coworking spaces stimulate cordial relationship among the members because of the communal environment it provides. This becomes a problem when the owner gets carried away and starts getting overly attached to members, failing to realize those members don’t plan to be there forever. In fact, they can’t wait to get out of there and move on to something bigger. As an owner, you must realize that business is bound to have turnovers, hence, you need to focus on getting new members.
Ten Commandments of Good Coworking Spaces
As earlier mentioned, digital nomads and young entrepreneurs usually face the dilemma of choosing the perfect coworking space. While looking for a suitable space, there are certain things you should look out for. The absence of these things denotes a red flag for the sake of your productivity and even the job itself. Here are ten commandments of good coworking spaces you should really pay attention to in your search:
1. Fast and Stable Internet Connection
One thing no one ever gets too much of is fast and stable internet. “The Wi-Fi at my house has a 50mb/sec speed, it`s too much, I gotta reduce it” was a statement made by no one! Therefore, in looking for a good coworking space, you should have at the top of your list, an insanely good internet connection, if a random teen in Nebraska or a retiree in New Orleans is enjoying excellent Wi-Fi, then you shouldn’t be getting or settling for anything less. “Excellent Wi-Fi is a must for a coworking space”, say that to yourself as you navigate your options.
2. Quality and Ergonomic Seats
That a piece of furniture is ergonomic doesn’t mean it has to be less durable, they are not mutually exclusive. As trivial as this may seem to you, the quality of seats at a coworking space can affect your productivity. You would agree with me that sitting on a well-padded seat that can be slid under the desk guarantees a higher level of productivity than sitting on wooden benches or plastic chairs that would have you get up constantly trying to stretch and feel your own bones. You might want to think about that before choosing a coworking space.
3. Functional Office Equipment
A coworking space should not lack such equipment as printers, scanners, shredders and others. You don’t want the stress of having to go to the next building to get something printed, you definitely don’t. And remember, the equipment has to be functional, make sure they are functioning before taking that space.
4. Conducive Atmosphere
Coworking spaces are essentially shared and so, distraction cannot be eliminated, however you can look out for spaces with minimal and controlled distractions allowing you to concentrate and further enhance your productivity. You do not want your reason for failing to meet deadlines to be that you got caught up in a loud, jocular conversation with fellow office members.
5. Convenient Location
Finding the perfect coworking space location for yourself and your job can be as hard as saving money. You might want to take a number of things into consideration before making a choice. For instance, a freelancer who is still just trying to get on his feet might need to consider getting a space close to home. It would be absolutely unwise to spend 25% of your earnings on bus/train tickets, a wiser decision would have been to find a proximate location. Diverse things make a location convenient for different people, make sure you find what makes it convenient for you, it’s a consideration you’ll be glad to have taken.
6. Coziness and Warmth
Whatever it is you want to be doing at a coworking space, you will do yourself, your health and by extension, your family a lot of good by taking breaks as much as possible. There is the popular saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” more like “all work and no play makes Jack a sick boy”. So, in finding the perfect coworking space, look out for the little stuff that affords a place some warmth such as colorful and meaningful art on the walls and fascinating magazines you can read. These are proven break inducers.
Ensure that whatever coworking space you want to settle for places premium on cleanliness and hygiene. The cleanliness of such places as the toilets, kitchens and other communal facilities will not only affect your health but can also affect your productivity. Imagine being pressed and having to deal with a dirty toilet that won’t flush, trust me, it’s not a good experience. Look out for basic things that show how much a coworking space is dedicated to proper hygiene. These things may include functional taps, clean dish scrubbers at the kitchens, sufficient paper towels, enough toilets so that people don’t have to wait, etc.
8. Conference Rooms
Very importantly, you should make inquiries as to the availability of meeting rooms while looking for the right coworking space. Imagine being a young entrepreneur and having finally landed an investor for your startup, you have to take the investor to another building across the street to discuss terms. That doesn’t leave a good impression, so choose the coworking spaces with meeting rooms onsite.
9. Safety and Security Measures
This is a no-brainer; nobody wants to leave their thumb drive at the desk and not meet it there after a lunch break. In choosing the right coworking space, ensure the safety of the space, you can do a background check, it’s worth it. A good coworking space should have security measures in place, especially if it is open 24/7 and should be able to guarantee the safety of its members’ belongings to a large extent.
10. A Community
As much as you are getting a coworking space to just do your own thing, look out for spaces that encourage communal living which involves advantageous networking, sharing ideas and knowledge or even setting up a merger. A coworking space with a community can literally change your life. A coworking space that prioritizes community organizes hang-outs, webinars, dinners and every other thing that would encourage interactions that form lasting and life-changing relationships. An aspect of this is also the promotion of gender equality and respect for every person regardless of their background, race or sexuality.
It’s no longer news that coworking spaces are here to stay and we must ensure they are not just ‘meeting spots,’ but conducive mini tech hubs. Although the commandments above are for individuals to satisfy their quest for a perfect coworking space, these commandments can also help owners create a standard coworking space.
Author: Tiffany Harper is a talented writer from New York, an extremely active woman, and a real leader. She began her career as a journalist and later proceeded as an educational writer and editor. Now she works as an expert writer with Australia assignment help, who analyses their content plan for social media, mostly in the motivation and digital marketing area. Sometimes she provides some thesis help and blog consultations to professional essay writers. Please do not hesitate to contact her on Twitter.by