5 Tips For Creating Your Own Coworking Community

creating coworking community shared workspace

With the rise of freelancing and remote work, more entrepreneurs, business owners, employees, and freelancers are joining coworking spaces to break out of their comfort zone, bring structure to their day, and avoid the isolation and loneliness sometimes associated with working from home. These spaces are also known for networking opportunities, enhancing productivity, and driving innovation. 

A coworking space is more than a shared work environment as it allows people to not only meet and work but also integrate a community of professionals with whom to share new ideas, generate synergies, and form lasting relationships. There was a time when working remotely was associated with loss of productivity, but with the advancement of telework and teleconferencing technology, many companies are now running their businesses out of coworking spaces. 

According to research, 33 percent of today’s workforce is made up of freelance or independent professionals; and as more and more people leave the traditional office environment for coworking spaces and home offices, that number is likely to rise to 40 percent in 2020. The demand for coworking spaces is set to increase. And if you’re thinking of creating your own coworking community, now’s a great time to take action. Here are five tips to help you start your own coworking space: 

Focus On Community And Office Culture 

With the exponential growth in remote work, there’s now a wide range of shared workspaces in cities around the world, each with its own unique culture and community. So, if you intend to create your own coworking space, make sure you take the time to research the market to understand its needs and likes. Also, keep in mind that many people are still not aware of or don’t understand what coworking is all about. As such, you may need to sell them the idea and help them understand the benefits. 

You don’t want to assume that people will just show up when you create your coworking space. Find out whether there’s a demand for one before signing the lease or making any major investment. You can gauge and promote interest by creating a group on social media and inviting as many friends and colleagues to join. 

Facebook and Meetup are great platforms to build an online community, which could help you drum interest and serve as a marketing avenue. You could also host events, such as film nights, brainstorming sessions, a book club, or a talk once your space is up and running to get it in the public eye. 

As mentioned, coworking spaces are all about building a strong community of co-workers. However, this is only possible when you take the time to understand the people who will integrate into your community; the type of businesses they run, their areas of expertise, how they prefer to work, and their working hours. These will help you establish the right office culture for your coworking community. 

Find The Right Location 

Creating a coworking space has traditionally meant finding a unique place within a city. However, as more and more people leave the cities for the more affordable suburbs, shared office spaces are becoming increasingly popular in the beaten track locations. This is a market you could easily tap into as remote workers and freelance professionals in this demographic are in need of coworking spaces to work from. 

Whether it’s in the city or suburbs, make sure your location is safe, convenient, and easy to find. Choose a strategic location near stores, cafes, restaurants, or any other commercial area. This will not only add value to your coworking space but also bring more life to the community. You also want your members to easily access other important necessities from your location. 

Focus On The Functionality Of Your Space 

Coworking spaces aim to be as dynamic as the professionals who use them to make work-life easier. Besides, they offer levels of flexibility and functionality that are rarely seen in traditionally-leased commercial offices. Unlike traditional offices, shared office spaces tend to be more contemporary and stylish with a little more flexibility. Not only does this improve morale and collaboration among team members but also creates a wildly creative environment that drives innovation. 

It’s important that you know your intent before starting a coworking space. Are you looking to maximize your income or to simply create an inspiration center in a bubbling creative environment? This is what will inform your investment and help determine your budget. For example, if you lived in a city like Houston, you’d want to research different options for office furniture to help curate the culture you’re trying to create. 

With that being said, the best way to foster collaboration in your coworking space is to have a blended layout that combines open spaces, common areas, and private offices. This will allow members to interact with each other in the common and open areas and only retreat to the private offices when they want to. They get to enjoy the best of both worlds. 

Don’t Forget Your Utilities And Services 

Coworking spaces promote wellness and work-life balance by providing a full range of amenities and utilities to not only stay productive but also destress during a day of work. It’s, therefore, important that you provide utilities and services such as high-speed internet, printing services, direct debit, napping rooms, mail reception services, exercise studios, wellness rooms, and cafeteria. You also need to think about access to meeting rooms and the overall design, from the power outlets to fixtures and furniture. Do not limit your imagination but make sure you stay within your budget. 

Consult Industry Experts 

Coworking is a community-focused industry that has been around for almost a decade now. And the good thing is that people in the industry are always willing to help each other out. First, your state and local chambers of commerce can be helpful when it comes to sharing information about grants and funding opportunities for startups and businesses. So, you might want to check them out. 

Secondly, if you feel stuck and are unsure how to start your own coworking community, consider consulting veteran founders serving a similar target market. They don’t have to be within your city. The idea is to seek advice and collaborate with other coworking spaces to get you started and going. And who knows, you could end up having partnerships that lead to great business opportunities.

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