Being Flexible as a Coworking Space
Forbes reported in March 2016 that there were 7,000 coworking offices around the world with little signs of slowing down to meet the needs of the projected one million professional nomads by the end of 2017. Taking those numbers into account as you scan the landscape of your productively buzzing Atlanta coworking space, you may feel like you will need to do quite the balancing act to stay competitive and keeping your tenants happy.
Is Being Flexible the Right Strategy for Your Coworking Space?
Considering the clearly rapid and unyielding growth of the coworking phenomenon—which you just have to love—it makes sense that you continue to assess your coworking office’s effectiveness. Flexibility and adaptability may be the key to your success.
At SharedSpace in Atlanta, we continually try to find ways to stay flexible and incorporate more ways to keep our current tenants happy while drawing in new freelancers, solopreneurs, startups and small business owners.
Following are just a few of the flexible considerations some coworking spaces have made for their community. You may try to incorporate a few of these flexible features into your own collaborative space to see if they work with your business model and your goals to keep your own tenants satisfied.
- Offer Month-to-Month Leasing and Pro-Rated Move-Ins. Valuable community members may not need to visit your coworking space each month. They may need to travel for a month or two, which may cause them to leave your coworking space if you cannot make accommodations. Do your best to work with tenants to keep their business for the long-term by allowing month-to-month leasing. Offer 5-10 percent discounts for tenants willing to sign on for a year or longer while not imposing a fee for month-to-month leases, for example. Additionally, pro-rating fees for partial months of membership fosters good will with your members who decide to sign on with your shared space toward the end of the month.
- Grant 24/7 Facility Access. Allow 24/7 access for members who sign on for designated desks and private offices as an upgrade feature from hot desk tenants.
- Provide Relevant Supplies and Services. Providing supplies like whiteboards and projectors, as well as printing services, can mean the difference between prospective tenants signing with your coworking space and another shared space across town. Keep track of the most popular supplies and services, according to the market. It always helps to talk to your tenants to learn what supplies and services they would like for you to consider.
- Conference Room Hour Monitoring. It is important to avoid overlaps in your conference room scheduling. You may consider implementing an electronic sign-in or card swiping system to ensure seamless transitions if you have limited conference room space, or if you anticipate high conference room traffic.
- Allow Member Guests. Place any limits you deem necessary on this flexible feature, any new exposure is good exposure for your coworking office. Welcoming a member guest may eventually mean gaining a new tenant.
- Plan Member Events for Your Coworking Community. Periodic downtime or after-hours member events can help foster new social dynamics among your members. Take the initiative to plan events for your tenants while staying open to hearing your members’ ideas and recommendations to keep things fresh and relevant to their interests.
- Refresh Your Layout. If you look around and determine that your community is not effectively engaging, you may consider reconfiguring the floor plan. It may help to create a survey and distribute it to your community members to collect candid feedback to learn what might appeal to them.
Coworking Flexibility Is Likely to Work in Your Favor
Your prospective tenants are likely to respond better to the relatively new—and highly competitive—concept of coworking if you are willing to help make it easier for them. At SharedSpace, we continually monitor and listen to the needs of our tenants so we can make adaptations that suit the coworking atmosphere.
If you need more ideas on being flexible as an Atlanta coworking space, reach out to us so we can help.