arrow&v

What is coworking?

Coworking is defined as the use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge.

 

The concept is largely supported by start-up entrepreneurs and those working freelance jobs. In the US, by 2020, more than 40% of the workforce will be freelancers, contractors and temp workers.

Why develop a coworking space?

Coworking spaces are more than just rooms full of desks, chairs, and a reliable internet connection. They have come to symbolize connectivity and efficiency while offering a cheaper alternative to stand-alone offices. People working in the environment feel they are part of a community and part of a social movement, and tend to thrive for several reasons. They see their work as being meaningful, and with a variety of businesses and companies in the coworking space, have little direct competition in their work environment. Access to co-working space is usually on a 24/7 basis, allowing for more job control.

How is a coworking space developed?

There are various factors to consider when deciding to develop a coworking space including:

 

  1. Market identification - Focus on a particular market segment based on factors such as industry, business maturity, the size of the business, location, age, culture, values, and demand prospects. Get to know the prospective audience well. Don't try to be everything to everyone.
     

  2. Funding - Ideally, sign up members (start with 10) to help provide initial financial support for the space.
     

  3. Location - The coworking space location should fit the market's needs and workstyle taking into consideration nearby competing spaces (or lack thereof), whether there is a high instance of people working from cafes, and whether people are prepared to provide financial support for the coworking space.
     

  4. Interior design - It is critical for the layout to reflect the space's core principles and target market's values. How the space is designed contributes to establishing the work environment, managing member moods and attitudes, and creating opportunities for conversation and collaboration. 
     

  5. Branding - The name, logo, marketing materials and digital identity say a lot about the coworking space community and its members. A high-quality website and social media accounts, showing pictures of the community in action, should reflect a positive brand.
     

  6. Community and culture - Fostering an inclusive community is important to retaining coworking members. Consider posting photo boards featuring space members, writing regular newsletters advising of new developments in the space, creating special member-only offers, and offering educational opportunities and remote working tools. Use social media to engage with members and as a platform to promote events and member businesses. If possible, hire an onsite manager to curate and grow the coworking space community.
     

  7. Events and education - Hosting events aligned with the coworking space brand serves as an income stream and a way to market the space to others in the community. 
     

  8. Seamless sign-up, access, and billing management - Utilize software designed to manage user registrations, access to the coworking space, online meeting room bookings, invoice generation, direct debit of member payments and the subsequent provision of receipts. 
     

  9. Music - Many coworking spaces often include background music, but ask members for input before assuming it is appropriate. If so, invite members to contribute songs to a playlist and keep the volume at an acceptable level.
     

  10. Amenities - At a minimum, coworking spaces should provide ergonomic chairs and desks, wireless internet, printer and copier access, basic kitchen facilities, a coffee machine, showers, lockers, changing rooms, and bathrooms.
     

  11. Pricing and flexibility - Coworking is meant to be flexible and the spaces affordable and convenient, so create a variety of pricing packages to suit different member needs. Consider pricing for casual drop-ins to one, three and seven day a week or monthly rates. Also offer 24/7 access where possible.

 

RESOURCES

Indiana Coworking Passport

The Refinery

Atrium

"The 10-Step Guide to a Successful Coworking Space"

"How to Fund Your Coworking Space"

© 2019 Newallen Alliance

  • Grey Facebook Icon

Follow our Rural Revival on Social Media

Contact Us