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5 Tips for Creating Your Own Coworking Space

Coworking spaces have flourished across the globe, as entrepreneurs, freelancers, and companies of all sizes embrace this new type of working environment. These types of workspaces are known for driving collaboration, innovation, and productivity and for having a strong sense of community.

Many are now aware of the benefits of coworking spaces, and demand for them is set to increase in the upcoming years. And while large companies are taking over large cities like New York, London, Melbourne, and Hong Kong; there is a big opportunity for new players to enter the industry, especially at a local level.

When it comes to coworking, urban areas and tier 2 cities are underserved, creating a business opportunity for local professionals. Yet, there’s more to coworking than just bringing people together to work, and for a space to be successful, various things need to be thought-out and planned.

1. Know your community (market)

If you are hoping to open a coworking space in your town or neighborhood, make sure you understand the needs and likes of the market. Coworking spaces are all about community, and to nurture and build a strong community within your space, you need to have a good understanding of the people who will be a part of your community; what their lines of business are, what their working hours look like, and how they like to work.

2. Find the right location

The adage of “location, location, location” exists for a reason. A successful coworking space is located in a strategic area, one that people can easily reach either by bike, train, car, or public transportation. Aim to be located near other commercial areas, such as restaurants and stores, in order to bring more life to your overall neighborhood community; this will add value to your space and also to your members, who will have access to other necessities without having to commute more.

3. Focus on your services

Location is key, but so are your services. Coworking spaces aim to make a professional’s work life easier, by providing and taking care of all the little things. This means going beyond providing fast WIFI; think about the overall design, from furniture to power outlets, and also think about what additional perks and amenities your members need, anything from printing services, dry cleaning, catered meals, to access to meeting rooms and mail reception and handling services.

4. Design various membership plans

Based on your market research, consider offering different membership options for users. Some might just need a space a few days a month, others a few days a week, and others most days. Similarly, some people might just be looking for a meeting room a couple times a month, so consider offering your meeting rooms to members and non-members. Once you have the memberships established, find a pricing plan that is competitive in the local market and will also allow you to break even and grow.

5. Consult industry experts

Though it might still seem like a new concept, modern-day coworking has been around for about 13 years, and because it is a community-focused industry, people are willing to help one another out. If you have doubts about membership plans, the best layout and design, whether you should offer private offices or not, or which services should be complementary and which charged for, consider reaching out to other coworking founders or industry experts, as they are likely to share their knowledge with you and point you in the right direction.

In the end, you want to create a space that is tailored to your community, that inspires your members, and makes their work lives easier. Once you’re up and running, always check up on your members, ask them for feedback, and host special events for them; this will help you build and strengthen your workspace and local community.

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Coworking Is Not Just for Freelancers & Entrepreneurs Anymore; Big Business Too

The first modern-day coworking space opened back in 2005 in San Francisco. Shortly after, many other coworking spaces followed, opening to offer working space for freelancers and entrepreneurs who used to mostly work from home or coffee shops. Fast-forward 13 years and coworking is still around, although with a different value proposition and business model.

While it used to be that freelancers, entrepreneurs, and startups were the main users of these collaborative spaces; the trend has shifted to include medium-sized businesses and large corporations. Corporate coworking has been around for a few years now, though it wasn’t until recently that it became a widespread trend across the world for companies to incorporate coworking spaces into their real estate strategy.

There are several reasons why corporates started to embrace the coworking movement. One of the most attractive value propositions of coworking today is the flexibility that these spaces offer and their ability to connect people and bring them together. Yet, there’s more. One of the main reasons why large companies are partnering with coworking providers is to provide a workspace experience that contributes to employee wellness.

Wellness is more than eating healthy and having an active lifestyle–it’s about mental health, about productivity, and about experience. As the lines of work and life continue to blur, companies need to find creative ways in which to make the workspace a destination for their employees; a place where they want to be and they will be empowered to be and perform their best.

Coworking spaces offer several amenities that contribute to wellness in the workspace, and companies have taken different approaches to this. While some large enterprises have opened their own coworking spaces, others have partnered with existing operators in order to manage their space.

Wellness is one key value proposition, but so is innovation. Change comes fast and often in today’s tech-driven world, and companies need to be resilient and innovative to remain competitive in a global market. Innovation can be powered by ‘healthy collision’, when people are forced to interact with one another, sharing and challenging existing ideas. Coworking spaces, because they bring together individuals from various industries and lines of work, provide a perfect opportunity for company employees to mingle and ‘collide’ with one another.

This also serves another purpose: attracting and retaining talent–one of the most common challenges most companies face today. Providing an attractive workspace, combined with the opportunity to work with the best and brightest of different industries can be a great motivator for a person to join and stay with one company. On the corporate side, this type of arrangement will aid them in keeping an eye out on talent, startups that they might be interested in acquiring, and help their current team create creative products, services, or solutions.