Coworking spaces are becoming very popular now and the industry is growing exponentially every year. There are many different ways to draw in members, but there are also some common mistakes that coworking spaces make that can lower their rating or worse, cause them to fail. Below are the most frequent coworking space mistakes made and how you can avoid them.
1. Not having a plan for growth.
It’s normal that a coworking space creates bonds between their members because a lot of it is about building a community and having deep relationships and engagement from your members. The problem here is that coworking owners can become attached to members and fail to look ahead to the next sale and finding more members to fill the space. This business is natural to have a high turnover as members grow their own business and move on so it’s important for managers to focus on getting new leads.
2. Not understanding the turnover.
This point is similar to the last, in that coworking spaces need to realize that coworking is often an industry with high turnovers. As David Poole, a project manager at Academized and Boom Essays explains, “these shared spaces are ideal for members starting new companies and are growing and so after a few months or years they move out of the flexible shared space into more permanent offices. If the coworking manager doesn’t understand the high turnover and doesn’t have a strategy in place for handling it, they’re setting themselves up for failure.”
3. Not listening to feedback.
One major mistake made by coworking spaces is ignoring client feedback or simply not seeking it out. The members want to stay with the company and grow their businesses but they need certain basic needs, including fast and reliable internet, privacy areas that are soundproof for phone or video calls, private office space, and attentive staff. If you’re not engaged in listening to your clients’ needs and you’re not seen to be spending money on what matters to them, they will quickly notice and look elsewhere. If you hear from your members that the kitchen spaces are dirty or the bathrooms are lacking, look into hiring a cleaning team. If your internet is constantly spotty, look into different providers or replacing the hardware.
4. Focusing on trendiness instead of productivity.
It’s easy to let yourself be carried away by trends in the industry and seeing what other spaces are doing. The problem is that coworking spaces might try to be trendy to attract their members but this will usually lead to a lack of productivity. For example, buying fancy furniture that isn’t actually comfortable to sit on, or investing in cool gadgets like popcorn machines. It’s important to remember that your members aren’t you, and they won’t necessarily like what you life. If the purchases aren’t increasing the productivity or providing added value to your members, they probably are unnecessary and may be hurting your business. Instead, consider investing in practical things like a wellness centre, a 3D printer, or a child play area.
5. Improperly allocating resources.
Similarly to the previous point, it’s important to properly allocate your resources, both financially and in time and energy spent. Patricia McLellan, a business writer at UK Writings and Essayroo, says that “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 will look for and won’t compromise on. After that you can focus on professional and social networks, inspiring your members, and flexibility.”
6. Not providing access control.
It’s important to invest in an access control system to give your members keyless access to the space. This saves you from having to hire someone to be at the front desk 24/7 but still allowing full time access to the space for your members. It’s important to focus on this because every part of your space is at a premium and you need to make sure there are no free loaders taking advantage of lax security.
With coworking spaces becoming more and more popular, there are so many opportunities out there and as a coworking owner or manager, you need to be listening to the needs to the community to make sure your business is successful.
Ellie Coverdale, a technical and marketing writer for State of Writing and Paper Fellows, is involved in important tech research projects. She also researches and writes about advanced in remote work and flexible work arrangements. She teaches writing classes on the side at Australian Help.