There are currently 957,620 registered businesses with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), according to a February 2022 report by Market Research Philippines. It added that 99% of those companies fall under the small-to-medium enterprise classification.
It would be safe to assume that among them are a lot of startups and entrepreneurs trying to survive in their first few years in their respective industries.
It is no coincidence then that coworking locations or coworking spaces have been on a steady rise as they offer the ideal service for these startups: an office address with all the amenities of a traditional office, minus the costly overheads that are the usual bane of small companies.
Why Companies Use Coworking Spaces
For owners of these SMEs, coworking locations or coworking locations are much more desirable than setting up their own office and paying for everything, from the monthly rental as well as maintenance of the place to the utilities such as internet connection, water, and electricity.
And these are just the basic expenses that need to be settled regularly, even when the office is not being used, usually during weekends and holidays, and then of course during the height of the pandemic when people were forced to stay home.
You can imagine the strain this puts on any company’s budget, much more to those that are just starting.
With a coworking location, you can pay only for the days you would be using its facilities and services, and you get to have the features and amenities of a regular office at a way lower cost.
You can also choose from a number of packages that would suit your needs and budget.
And for freelancers, they get to have a proper office where they can meet clients to discuss business instead of in a coffee shop or at home. It’s one way for them to boost their credibility.
No wonder more and more property owners and entrepreneurs are getting into the coworking space business, something similar to the lechon manok, the pearl shake, and the milk tea boom that rocked the market.
20 Things Members Appreciate the Most in a Coworking Location
In the coworking space sector, clients are known as “members,” whether they are employees of specific companies or are individual freelancers. How a coworking location survives and thrives depends most on how it can satisfy its members’ needs.
Here are 20 features that make members of a coworking space genuinely happy:
- Fast and reliable internet connection – nowadays, most things happen online, so if a coworking location’s Wi-Fi isn’t up to standards, it’s enough reason for clients to pack up and go somewhere else.
- Delicious coffee – members will stay if they know they don’t need to go out or order by phone or online just to get great-tasting coffee that is, more importantly, free.
- Opportunity to connect – coworking space members can form meaningful connections that can lead to greater creativity and collaboration.
- A sense of home – a coworking location that is cozy and gives off a homey vibe will make members feel at ease and comfortable.
- Opportunity to develop skills – regular seminars and talks from guest speakers should be a staple in any coworking location to help members improve further on their knowledge, skills, and understanding.
- Opportunity to network – with different professionals from various industries housed under one roof, it’s the ideal breeding ground for networking.
- Comfortable furniture – sitting for around eight hours can be a literal pain in the behind if the chair is anything but comfy, so make sure it’s a priority. Add some nice couches and you are sure to keep members for a long time.
- Different work areas – as they say, variety is the spice of life. A coworking location that has different spots for working (traditional tables, couches, floor pillows, etc.) depending on the inclination of people will always be a more attractive proposition for those on the hunt for the ideal coworking space for them.
- Private zones – these are the designated spots in the coworking location where an individual can work on their own without getting distracted from all the other activities going around them.
- Clear guidelines on phone use – phone conversations can be overwhelming to those trying to do their work, so a coworking location that designates specific spots where phone calls can be made or taken will be appreciated tremendously.
- A well-maintained refrigerator – this may sound trivial, but people can get peeved over a fridge that stinks of expired food or half-eaten fish and other seafood.
- Quiet rooms – these can be used to make or take phone calls, conduct a business meeting in person or online, or do a podcast.
- Easy access – fobs or magnetic ID cards or even mobile apps will make it easier for members to enter the work area, even during off-hours or weekends and holidays. This is also an effective way to monitor who goes in or out of the coworking location for security purposes.
- Great location – so this should be a given. You simply don’t open a coworking space that is difficult to reach. If you put it in an easily accessible area, among nice spots for dining or hanging out, then expect people to flock to your place and stay.
- Top-notch toiletries – good quality soap, paper towels, facial spray, shampoo, lotion, and others send the message that you care for your coworking space members, and they would surely appreciate that.
- Parking – it’s as precious as gold for employees and clients alike. So if you can provide one (and free of charge at that), then you would certainly earn the love.
- Printers that work (all the time) – office printers break down because they are used way too often. That’s why you need to have backups or technicians that can do the work in no time so that there will be no disruption in printing jobs.
- Full mail services – these should include a business address, mail scanning, collection, and delivery, and package acceptance. Convenience for your clients is what you are actually providing here.
- A means to unwind – work can be stressful and a headache so employees will appreciate anything that can give them a break and ease the tension. It could be a gym, a gaming room, or even a massage service.
- Food and drinks – these are extras but if a coworking space could provide them, then it’s head and shoulders above the competition.
Provide most or all of these coworking features and you can be sure of a nice and tidy return on your investment for years to come.
5 Ways To Make Your Coworking Location More Inclusive
Okay, so you have the best amenities a coworking space can offer, but if for some reason (consciously or subconsciously) it comes off as catering to just a specific group of people, then it might not take off just as you wanted it. Especially today when people of all colors and status know their rights, a business that is inclusive would gain more traction.
Here are five effective ideas on how you can make that happen for your coworking location:
- Keep in mind that companies will have employees of different backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, economic statuses, and mental makeup. While you cannot hope to satisfy every individual’s preference, you can make your coworking space as neutral as possible and be ready to offer certain “specialties” that cater to specific tastes.
- Set a diversity day where all members are given the chance to mingle and interact outside of a working atmosphere. You can also invite minority owners of businesses in your area, even if they are not members, to share their insights and experiences. The idea is for everyone to feel that what they say matters, no matter who they are.
- Conduct diversity-focused marketing. When promoting your coworking location (in online ads, printed promotional materials, etc.), make sure that it emphasizes inclusivity. Your message in words and pictures should focus on welcoming people from all different groups and that there is no room for discrimination in your coworking space. It will also be a signal for those who may not be tolerant of others that your space may not be for them, thereby avoiding possible friction or conflict later on.
- Make sure all the areas in your coworking location are accessible to everyone and that there are certain spots that would cater to specific needs (gender-neutral bathrooms, amenities for the physically challenged, etc.).
- Be ready to adjust. You certainly won’t be able to prepare for every type of person who becomes a member of your coworking space. But you can do the next best thing, which is to adapt to any situation. There will be times when there may be conflicting demands, so it becomes harder to adjust. In such a case, you need to come up with a compromise to make everyone feel that they’ve gotten what they wanted.
Being inclusive also means having reasonable rules and regulations in place that not only guarantee that the rights of every individual will be respected but also make the coworking location as peaceful and harmonious as possible.
5 Innovative Coworking Location Designs To Enhance Productivity
Speaking of design, you can’t go wrong with a well-thought-out layout for your coworking space. Remember that it will house people from different companies, even freelancers and entrepreneurs who have gravitated to your place expecting a space where they can do productive work as well as a collaborative experience aside from the regular amenities of a traditional office.
Check out these creative space designs that will promote productivity and collaboration:
An open and welcoming space. It could be a big table that could accommodate several seats in a literally open space away from most workstations. Add some accents such as earth hues and green plants that make people want to stay there and help each other out.
Standalone private nook. What it does is provide a space where one to three people can hold a more private conversation when confidentiality is needed. By making sure it’s soundproof, it can be placed anywhere without the risk of the people talking inside being heard outside or of outside noise coming in and disturbing the discussions.
Let there be light. A dimly lit room, however opulent or comfortable it might be, will always be a negative when you need to be productive at work. It causes people to slack off or feel sleepy and bored. A brightly lit room does the opposite as it gives off a vibrant mood that encourages employees to be more productive and even cheerful as they work. That’s why whenever possible, locationss must have skylights on the roof to allow more light to come through.
Mobile cubicles. These are usually made of tempered glass and can be assembled and disassembled with ease at any area in the coworking space where they are needed. They can be made to house just one or two individuals for a more private collaboration or expanded to accommodate more people.
Storage options. A godsend for members as this means that they won’t need to bring home office equipment such as laptops but with the assurance that they will be safe and secure. Lockers that can be rented daily or longer can serve this purpose.
The more conventional way, of course, are the file cabinets that can be set up in a dedicated space so that they don’t get in the way of the daily activities within the coworking location. Such storage spaces can also hold a company’s supplies such as notepads, pens, staplers, paper clips, etc. Yes, even today when almost anything is conducted online, there is still a need for these conventional office supplies.
15 Coworking Space Events To Build a Sense of Community
Now that you have gotten members to your coworking location, the next step is to make sure that they enjoy the experience and stay long or become regular clients. For this, you would need to have regular events that would add value to their membership as they would feel that they are getting more benefits out of the community.
Some coworking events that you might want to hold regularly at your coworking space:
- Demo Hours – entrepreneurs and startups can display their latest project/product/services and get instant feedback from the whole community on their strengths and weaknesses.
- Skills and Knowledge Improvement Classes – they may be professionals, but they’d surely appreciate continuous education that would improve their skills and make them better.
- Community Discussions – schedule each company to head a panel discussion about specific topics (e.g. “How to Drive Sales Up,” How to Network,” etc.) that would benefit the majority if not all of your members.
- Informal Meetings Over Coffee – done per company, it would help team members to keep their focus on their tasks and align them with their organization’s objectives. What makes it better is the delicious coffee and perhaps, some crunchy and tasty croissants.
- Weekly Breakfast and Tech Talk – you can bring in an invited expert to talk about the latest in technology that could help whatever project your members are walking on. Best of all, provide them with a delicious and filling breakfast that would make them crave more of this event.
- Weekly After-Hours – of course, nothing beats happy hours to celebrate the close of the workweek. Members can mingle outside of work and further build camaraderie.
- Investors Day – you can have venture capitalists as guests while members of your community talk about their projects. It’s the ideal event for startups to meet their would-be investors.
- Food Truck Day – have a food truck within your coworking premises to provide lunch for your members. Not only will this offer a variety of food treats to your clients, but it will also help the food truck operators.
- Weekly Lunch In – for this day, members are encouraged to stay in for lunch and view some presentations about the most important issues that could affect their businesses. There could be a Q&A afterward where everyone can ask and answer questions from each other. Another great way for collaboration.
- Monthly Gaming Nights – one of the things that you should ask your members to provide in their data sheet is the type of games they like playing, whether they are board games, video games, or sports like bowling, basketball, or badminton. Then you can hold a gaming night once a month and encourage even those who don’t play the game to join in on the fun.
For Prospective Members
- Show and Tell – you can have prospective members come and watch current members do their stuff on a workday and ask questions later at the first opportunity. This gives them a good idea of what they can expect and the benefits they can get if they become members.
- After-Hours – have them join at least one of the weekly after-hour get-togethers of members so that they can see that it’s not all work for the community but that there is always time for fun.
- Free Training Courses – organize classes that would benefit non-members and encourage them to become members.
- Open House – once a month, you can open up your coworking location to the outside world to showcase your services and amenities. You can also offer a glimpse of your members in action (when they are working) so that non-members can get a feel of what it’s like to be working in such an atmosphere.
- Launch Events – sponsor independent musicians, writers, and other creatives in launching their products. You can have your space as the venue for their launch party. It’s one great way to promote your place and generate attention.
Coworking locations are in high demand, so property owners and managers will do well to address this and provide what the modern workforce needs. These are just some of the tips coworking space owners can follow to make their property more attractive to their target market.
If you are interested in creating your own coworking space, you can partner with us to maximize your property’s full potential.