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Ten Step Guide to the Perfect Coworking Space


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With almost 2,500 coworking spaces worldwide since DeskMag’s last coworking survey in February 2013, the quality of coworking spaces is imperative to fulfill their mission and ensure that they keep their doors open.

This guide highlights key takeaways from Steve Glaveski’s Ten Step Guide to Perfect Coworking.

Published in: Self Improvement
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Ten Step Guide to the Perfect Coworking Space

  1. 1. Ten Step Guide to the Perfect Coworking Space
  2. 2. Introduc)on   With  almost  2,500  coworking  spaces  worldwide  since  DeskMag’s  last   coworking  survey  in  February  2013,  the  quality  of  coworking  spaces  is   impera)ve  to  fulfill  their  mission  and  ensure  that  they  keep  their  doors  open.                   This  guide  highlights  key  takeaways  from  Steve  Glaveski’s  Ten  Step  Guide  to   Perfect  Coworking.                                                    Image:  DeskMag    
  3. 3. Step  One  –  Iden)fy  Your  Market   Who  are  you  targe@ng?   Your  market  dictates  everything  you  do.  Your  name,  logo,  website,  loca)on  and  fitout.   Basically,  everything  that  defines  your  brand.      
  4. 4. Iden)fy  Your  Market  (cont.)   Pick  a  niche   Choose  your  target  market  carefully  based  on  the  following  factors.       •  Industry   •  Business  maturity   •  Size  of  the  business   •  Loca)on   •  Age   •  Culture     •  Values     •  Demand  prospects         “While  it’s  good  to  push  some  people’s  boundaries,  it’s  also  true  that  we  have  very   individual  ways  of  working  and  we  should  feel  comfortable  to  gravitate  to  the   community  that  suits  us  best”  –  Lauren  Anderson,  Collabora)ve  Labs  
  5. 5. Iden)fy  Your  Market  (cont.)   Open  door  policy?     Decide  on  whether  you  will  run  an   open  door  policy  or  review   applica@ons.     Businesses  at  the  same  stage  of  the   business  maturity  lifecycle,  for   example,  will  be  going  through  similar   growing  pains,  and  have  a  lot  to  gain   through  sharing  insights  with  each   other  and  helping  each  other  along   the  way.       The  same  cannot  be  said  about   businesses  in  vastly  different  stages.  
  6. 6. Step  Two  –  Loca)on,  Loca)on   Where  are  you  seFng  up  shop?   As  with  buying  a  home,  loca@on  is  king  when  it  comes  to  coworking  spaces.         The  hustle  and  bustle  of  the  CBD  or  the  edginess  of  the  inner  city  suburbs?     Whatever  the  case,  ensure  that  the  loca)on  selected  is  the  best  fit  for  your  market.                                        Image:  St  Kilda  Hub      
  7. 7. Step  Two  –  Loca)on,  Loca)on  (cont.)   Surroundings  count!   Coworkers  want  more  than  just  a  place  to  work.     •  Public  transport   •  Car  parking   •  Cafes   •  Retail  stores   •  Restaurants   •  Bars      
  8. 8. Step  Two  –  Loca)on,  Loca)on  (cont.)   Read  the  fine  print   Ensure  you  have  the  right  to  alter  the  look  and  feel  of  the  venue  if  taking  out  a  lease     Park,  river  or  beach  views  are  a  bonus!    
  9. 9. Step  Three  –  Fitout   Clothes  maketh  the…space.   First  impressions  count,  get  the  right  look!    
  10. 10. Step  Three  –  Fitout  (cont.)   The  look  dictates  the  feel.   A  coworking  space’s  fitout  should  reflect  the  space’s  principles  and  values.       Fitout  influences:   •  The  work  environment   •  Member  aFtudes   •  Opportuni)es  for  conversa@on  and  collabora@on   •  Member  aNrac@on  and  reten@on        
  11. 11. Step  Three  –  Fitout  (cont.)   Mix  it  up!   •  Casual  hotdesks     •  Permanent  desks   •  Dedicated  open  plan  team  spaces   •  Private  team  spaces       •  Quiet  spaces     •  Mee)ng  and/or  conference   rooms   •  Breakout  areas   •  Open  collabora)ve  areas     Most  successful  coworking  spaces  have  a  mix  of  the  following:   Image:  
  12. 12. Step  Three  –  Fitout  (cont.)   Coworking  should  inspire.   Artwork  is  important  –  it  can  be  funky,  post-­‐modern,  conserva)ve…whatever.  It  all   depends  on  your  market.  In  all  cases  though,  it  should  inspire  and  not  distract.     Image:  
  13. 13. Step  Three  –  Fitout  (cont.)   Avoid  unnecessary  noise   Bad  acous)cs  can  make  a  coworking  space  sound  like  a  boiler  room  straight  out  of     The  Wolf  Of  Wall  Street.       Consider  the  following:   •  Sound  deadening  floor  coverings   •  Ceiling  treatments   •  Sound  clouds   •  Wall  panels   •  Individual  work  areas   •  Varying  ceiling  and  wall  surface  angles  
  14. 14. Step  Four  –  Branding   What’s  in  a  name…   Your  name,  logo,  marke)ng  materials  and  digital  iden)ty  say  a  lot  about  your   coworking  space  and  its  members.                 Shakespeare  taught  us  that  a  rose  by  any  other  name  would  smell  just  as  sweet.       While  that  may  be  true,  you  can’t  smell  the  rose  unless  you  venture  into  the  garden,   so  a  less  than  engaging  name  may  have  your  target  market  searching  elsewhere  and   never  gedng  close  enough  to  smell  the  proverbial  rose.      
  15. 15. Step  Four  –  Branding  (cont.)   Your  online  iden@ty   •  Your  website  is  most  prospec)ve  members  first  contact  with  your  coworking  space   •  If  it  sends  the  wrong  message  you’ll  lose  them  forever   •  On  social  media,  if  you’re  using  it  (which  you  should)  don’t  just  post,  be  sure  to   engage!      
  16. 16. Step  Four  –  Branding  (cont.)   Adver@sing  plaTorms   There  are  many  pure-­‐play  shared  office  space  plaforms  such  as  LiquidSpace  in  the   United  States,  HotDesk  in  Australia  and  Seats2Meet  in  Europe,  among  others.  While   not  absolutely  cri)cal,  having  the  plaform  align  with  your  brand  is  an  advantage.        
  17. 17. Step  Five  –  Community  and  Culture   Build  a  tribe!   The  difference  between  a  coworking  space  and  a  shared  office  space  is  community.       The  key  to  airac)ng  people  may  lie  in  branding,  but  the  key  to  reten@on  is  in   community.    
  18. 18. Step  Five  –  Community  snd  Culture  (cont.)   Tools  of  the  trade   It’s  all  about  inclusivity!     •  Photo  boards  comprised  of  space  members     •  Regular  newsleiers     •  Events  and  workshops   •  Special  member  only  offers   •  Spotlights  on  members  and  their  businesses   •  Engaging  with  members  on  social  media   •  Friday  night  drinks  and  pizza     •  Beer  fridges   •  The  occasional  lunch   •  Alterna)ve  currencies    
  19. 19. Step  Five  –  Community  snd  Culture  (cont.)   Community  management   If  economically  viable  and  if  you  don’t  have  the  )me  to  build  the  community  yourself,   consider  hiring  a  community  manager.  A  great  community  manager  will  be  worth   their  weight.        
  20. 20. Step  Six  –  Events  and  Educa)on   Educate  the  tribe   Events  are  a  great  way  to  earn  addi@onal  revenue  and  market  your  space  to   outsiders.          
  21. 21. Step  Six  –  Events  and  Educa)on  (cont.)   Be  strategic.   Align  the  nature  of  events  with  your  brand  and  target  market.       For  example,  if  your  coworking  space  focuses  on  public  prac)ce  professional  services   such  as  accountany,  law  and  company  planning,  hos)ng  talks  related  to  topics  such  as   ‘how  to  maximise  your  tax  return’  will  only  serve  to  build  your  brand  further  and   solidify  your  reputa)on  as  the  public  prac)ce  coworking  space.      
  22. 22. Step  Six  –  Events  and  Educa)on  (cont.)   Member  par@cipa@on   Let  members  aiend  for  free  as  a  membership  value-­‐add  and  encourage  them  to   organise  their  own  events.  The  resident  tax  consultant  will  not  only  boost  his  public   speaking  creden)als  by  holding  a  workshop,  but  could  also  generate  addi)onal  leads   and  customers.  Another  value  add.      
  23. 23. Step  Six  –  Events  and  Educa)on  (cont.)   Networking  drinks   Whatever  the  event  and  whoever  the  organiser,  a  30  to  60  minute  block  of   networking  drinks,  generally  aler  the  presenta)on,  is  a  must.          
  24. 24. Step  Six  –  Events  and  Educa)on  (cont.)   Ongoing  educa@on  and  insights   Educa)on  also  extends  beyond  workshops  to  sharing  informa)ve  blog  posts  on  topics   such  as  efficiency,  collabora)on  and  remote  working  tools  via  your  website,  social   media  accounts  and  newsleiers.         A  library,  whether  digital  or  hardcopy,  of  books,  journals  and  general  value  adding   insights  is  also  very  useful.            
  25. 25. Step  Seven  –  Administra)on   Boring  but  important!   In  the  digital  age,  you  don’t  want  people  to  deal  with  hardcopy  paperwork,  manual   payments,  difficulty  gedng  in  and  out  of  the  venue  or  issues  connec)ng  to  the   wireless  internet.          
  26. 26. Step  Seven  –  Administra)on  (cont.)   Suppor@ng  technologies   While  technologies  in  this  space  are  not  mature  yet,  they  do  make  life  easier!     From  managing  user  registra)ons  and  access  to  coworking  spaces  and  wifi  services  to   facilita)ng  mee)ng  room  bookings,  invoice  genera)on,  direct  debit  of  member   payments  and  the  subsequent  provision  of  receipts,  tools  such  as  COBOT  and   Nexudus  can  help  make  your  job  easier.       Plus,  you’ll  save  some  trees  along  the  way!            
  27. 27. Step  Eight  –  Music     Everyone’s  a  DJ   Introduce  a  Bluetooth  ready  speaker  system,  invite  each  member  to  contribute  songs   to  a  Spo)fy  playlist  and  keep  the  volume  to  an  appropriate  level.      Background  music  may  not  be  suitable  for  every  space  so  think  about  your  members!                
  28. 28. Step  Nine  –  Ameni)es   A  home  away  from  home   As  alluded  to  in  previous  steps,  coworkers  will  expect  a  minimum  set  of  ameni)es  at   most  spaces.       •  Ergonomic  chairs  and  desks   •  Wireless  internet,  printer  and  copier  access   •  Basic  kitchen  facili)es   •  Coffee  machine   •  Showers   •  Lockers   •  Change  rooms   •  Lavatories   •  Nerf  guns  op)onal                  
  29. 29. Step  Ten  –  Pricing  and  Flexibility   Don’t  forget  why  you  exist   Coworking  is  meant  to  be  flexible...and  affordable.     Deskmag  found  that  the  most  important  factors  for  coworkers  are  convenience  and   affordability.       Don’t  lose  sight  of  this  fact  and  be  sure  to  create  a  number  of  packages  to  suit   different  member  needs.  From  casual  drop-­‐ins  to  1,  3  and  5  day  a  week  passes,  be   flexible.                        
  30. 30. Step  Ten  –  Pricing  and  Flexibility  (cont.)   Compare  the  market   Assess  what  other  spaces  are  charging,  and  based  on  your  target  market,  loca)on,   fitout,  community  and  overall  brand,  determine  a  reasonable  price  point  for  member   packages  as  well  as  short-­‐term  daily,  weekly  and  monthly  bookings.       Offer  24-­‐7  access  where  possible.                        
  31. 31. Step  Ten  –  Pricing  and  Flexibility  (cont.)   Be  crea@ve   Consider  whether  or  not  you  will  charge  for  mee)ng  room  use  and  whether  this  will   form  part  of  user  packages.       Find  that  the  space  is  most  quiet  on  Mondays  and  Fridays?  Consider  offering  a  cheap   drop-­‐in  pass  for  those  days.                      
  32. 32. About  the  Writer     Steve  Glaveski  is  the  founder  and  managing  director  of  HotDesk,  a  shared  office  space  and   coworking  plaform  focused  on  op)mising  distressed  office  and  improving  cashflow  for  both   landlords,  lessees  and  users  of  space  by  developing  collabora)ve  and  innova)ve  coworking   spaces.       Feel  free  to  contact  Steve  at  any  of  the  below.     Steve  Glaveski  |  Founder  and  Managing  Director   Hotdesk  -­‐  find  a  working  space.   T  @steveglaveski   E   W