Co-working is a specific type of work that involves different companies and employees who all share the same space. Workers are often working for different companies and organizations, but each is searching for a place to get work done or a place where they can access specific tools for their job.
Co-working spaces have been growing in popularity, mainly as a result of businesses embracing a more relaxed office atmosphere and giving employees more power over where they work. The idea has been growing for a few years, now, with companies like Google taking the initial lead with their innovative workspaces that encouraged creativity and stress-free environments, as opposed to uniformity.
Nowadays, improved technology is allowing businesses to work with employees who never step foot into the office, and it’s giving workers the power to create their own schedules and avoid long commutes. This is where co-working spaces have become so useful.
To create an innovative co-working space, there are a few key elements that will make it an effective and efficient workspace for all those who join. Consider these tips for creating innovative co-working spaces:
Ensure There Is a Need
Before you start designing a co-working space, it’s critical that you ensure that area is in need of a space like this. It’s not necessarily a type of business that will intrigue and bring in people from all over the place; these kinds of spaces are built specifically in locations that are easy to reach, located in highly-populated areas, and in high demand.
A city that has hardly any start-ups or open-office spaces likely isn’t looking to send its employees to another location to work. Do your research ahead of time and be sure to find out if there are existing spaces that already fit the bill.
Decide on an End Goal
Is the purpose of your co-working space to make money? Or it is simply to offer a great workspace that will bring amazing people together for hardly any profit at all? For many co-working spaces, there are daily or monthly fees that are required to participate; these are often spaces that include high-tech equipment, meeting rooms, and other quality features.
However, other co-working spaces will charge very little to use the space, but their profits are usually used just to keep the space open. For many, it is more about the potential of these people meeting in their space than it is about making an income from it. Be sure you know your reason for creating a space like this before you start investing, purchasing, and charging.
Provide Utilities Before Furniture
Individuals who are looking for a space to work will likely be more willing to sit on the floor, so long as they have an internet connection and the tools they need. While having comfortable places to sit and tables to work on is important, providing your workspace with the necessary utilities trumps any kind of need for furniture.
Keep this in mind when you’re creating your innovative co-working space; items such as high-speed internet, scanners, ink cartridges, and printers will be much more valued by people who are using your space to work. Once you have all of the necessity utilities, then it will be time to think about a budget for your desks, tables, coffee machines, etc.
Offer Different Options
It has been argued that some of the open-concept office spaces are doing more harm than good when it comes to specific workers. For example, while sales workers will thrive in an open floorplan where team communication can flourish, another worker who is trying to focus on deciphering code may find this approach very distracting. Arguments stretch from an easier spread of common colds to an onslaught of distraction that puts efficiency in reverse.
When it comes to your co-working space, there will be all different kinds of needs of the people who join. While some will want that open concept idea in which to bounce ideas, others will be seeking silence and calm.
To make sure your space is effective for all needs, try to be very creative when it comes to utilizing the area for different requirements. Perhaps you’ll want to incorporate “quiet only” rooms, as well as specific rooms for meetings and open-concept spaces. The larger the space, the more you’ll be able to accommodate the needs of each worker in the space that suits them best.
Have Every Requirement Met
Those co-working spaces that do best are often ones that can offer lots of different services for their members. If you envision your co-working space growing in the future, you might consider adding in a community kitchen, vending machines, larger washrooms, and even an independent coffee shop.
Workers who know that all of their needs can be met in this one place won’t have to worry about making different stops throughout the day; your co-working space will essentially become their one-stop shop for getting work done, having their lunch, hosting a coffee meeting, and maybe even hitting the gym if you’ve got the space for it. The options are endless when it comes to these spaces, so long as you can continue to offer the best tools and a great space to get work done; after all, this is the initial goal for co-working spaces.
Location Is Everything
If your space is hard to find or inaccessible for some people, then you’re definitely going to be missing out on a lot of traffic. It’s very important that you choose a location where you know people will have no trouble finding you, especially if you want to cater to people who are passing through the area from out of town.
This is also why it’s important to have a space that is accessible by car or foot, and which has ample parking in the area for those people who are from out of town. Locations that are hard to reach or that lack parking availability will likely not cater to a large group of people.
Creating an innovative co-working space can be a lot of fun, and you can often incorporate your own kind of style and preferences when it’s time to bring the décor and style together. However, before you get too far along, be sure that the demand for your space is there and that you can provide all of the necessary utilities for workers to get up and running.