In this blog post, we’ll focus on 2 main components that will help you nail the right mix of meeting rooms for your coworking space: your location and your audience.
Having these in mind will increase the chance of making an educated decision when choosing what kind of rooms and how much of them to set in your space.
As a significant revenue stream and a necessity for every coworker, meeting places need proper planning and management aligned with the needs of your coworking space.
Let’s take a look at how location and audience impact your choice:
The role your location plays in planning meeting rooms
As with any other real estate business, location is of high importance as it defines what kind of people you have access to that will (potentially) become part of your coworking community.
And that’s valid not only for long-term members that rent a desk or an office but also for the people who come to your space ad-hoc (i.e. drop-ins).
We’ve identified two distinctive scenarios in terms of your coworking location – you are either near (or in the heart) of a huge business traffic, or not.
How a high amount of business traffic affects meeting rooms planning
If you’re in the heart of a business district, your member base probably consists of companies that need a premium business location. The usual reason for paying a higher price to be there is to regularly meet with people outside of their business.
In other words, they have to make themselves accessible and make the right impression and they’ll need appropriate places to make this happen.
On the other hand, as a crosspoint of many meetings and work travels, your visitors may often be drop-ins. The chance these people will need a quiet place to sit for a few hours or a meeting room to meet with a business associate is huge.
To cover the needs of both your regular members and drop-ins, a higher number of meeting rooms might be required. And most likely the majority of meetings will be with clients of your members, which affects the proportion of “informal” and “formal” meeting places in your coworking space.
How a lower amount of business traffic affects your meeting room planning
If you’re not located near huge business traffic, it’s more likely the majority of your members will stay long-term in your space and you’ll have fewer drop-ins.
Your members will still have meetings with clients, but it’s safe to assume that most meetings will be between teammates and coworkers.
You’ll still need formal meeting rooms. However, you’ll need to have enough informal meeting rooms, open leisure spaces, and joint areas, where teams can have a productive discussion and where community collaboration can happen.
The role your coworking audience plays in planning meeting rooms
If you’ve nailed down the first point from the 3 essentials of every successful coworking community, you probably have a good understanding of your target audience and have attracted like-minded companies and members in your space.
Their business or their team functions define what’s included in their daily workflow (calls, meetings, etc), or what kind of events they want to host (presentations, training, etc).
Let’s take a look at 2 examples that can influence how your meeting rooms should be planned:
Service-oriented companies and/or freelancers usually spend a huge amount of time on calls or meeting clients and partners. It’s safe to say that you’ll need a lot of phone booths in place to accommodate the higher number of calls. Also, meeting rooms would probably have to be equipped with coffee and water for eventual client meetings.
Product-oriented teams are mostly focused on building a product, not selling it. Those guys would usually have regular internal team meetings and will need private hang-out places to catch up with colleagues over a cup of coffee. They will also need a whiteboard/multimedia to write notes and present ideas visually.
The type of your audience and its daily work routine are important factors to be considered. They will give you the direction in which you need to focus on when choosing the meeting rooms in your coworking space.
Choosing the right type of meeting rooms
In the term “meeting rooms” we include everything from hangout places where your members can meet, chill and chat, to phone booths, to big conference rooms. Based on the meeting intention, we’ve divided meeting rooms into the following types:
Informal meeting rooms and spaces
These are hangout places, phone booths, and smaller meeting rooms that host just a few people and are generally not meant for long discussions. They usually don’t have much natural light, are not that spacious but still provide the essentials for a short meeting or a call.
You have to book some of them, others are ruled by first come, first served. People usually use them for informal or semi-formal meetings or calls.
It’s where your coworkers can chat with each other, or host job interviews. The small meeting rooms are normally equipped with a whiteboard and basic multimedia (TV), so you can make presentations and draft quick ideas with the team.
This type of “meeting rooms” don’t need to be located near the entrance, but should be easily accessible for your coworking members (from all floors, offices and open areas).
To decide how much space to dedicate to such places, or how to combine them, think about your members’ needs first. A few questions that can help you with that:
- Do your members make a lot of calls on a daily basis? If they do, you’ll need more small rooms and phone-booths.
- Do your members need discussions to happen in private? If yes, well closed-up meeting rooms will be better.
- Do coworkers make plenty of informal discussions? If yes, focus on leisure and hangout places.
Formal meeting rooms
These meeting rooms are usually more spacious, have more natural light and are more representative. They are used for formal meetings with potential clients and business partners.
Meeting rooms from that type should be equipped with whiteboards and multimedia, as presentations often happen there. Additional services like coffee and water should also be an option.
Another thing to have in mind – this type of meeting rooms should be easily accessible, so it’s best to locate them near the entrance of the building, preferably on the ground or first floor.
These are high-luxury meeting rooms with a lot of amenities and services included directly in the price. They are suitable for formal meeting with partners, clients, investors.
The price is high, but these are the rooms where you would like to meet a high profile client or your potential investor. They are classy and are more typical for business centers, rather than coworking spaces.
Adding a boardroom might make sense if your coworking space is located in a global business city or district, where a lot of entrepreneurs, investors, and high profile business people meet.
Event spaces and Training rooms
These rooms often host public events, which attracts not only your members but people outside of your space as well. They are a good “tool” you can use to welcome external audiences and promote your space.
It’s best if they are designed in a flexible way – you should be able to move furniture easily and have some kind of free space where you can serve catering or that can be utilized for anything else related to the event.
A word of caution – event spaces and training rooms are not your typical meeting space. They take a lot of space and a lot of effort goes into utilizing them, so choosing to create one should be aligned with your strategy.
The location of your coworking space and your audience have a big impact on how your meeting rooms are utilized. Considering their influence early in the processes can help you achieve higher utilization, improve your revenue streams and improve members satisfaction.
What’s your approach when planning for the optimal meeting room mix? Let us know in the comments!