4 Pillars of Successful Coworking Spaces

Being an entrepreneur and building a successful business is a very complicated job. Setting up a coworking space and making it successful is not an exception. There are too many unknowns, roadblocks, and issues along the way. After working with hundreds of spaces worldwide we’ve gathered a list of patterns that successful coworking spaces exhibit.

Before we get into the details, let’s examine what a coworking space actually is:

  1. It’s a Community of like-minded professionals;
  2. It’s a shared, public environment where the Hospitality matters;
  3. It’s also an office Facility;
  4. And last, but not least, it’s a Business.

This will be our first post as part of a 4 post series that will focus on the intricacies of building a successful coworking space.

1. Community

We all know that the most important element of every successful coworking space is the Community. Collaboration between like-minded professionals is the foundation of every coworking space. Sometimes, the community exists even before the physical space.

Building a vibrant community is probably the hardest part of making a great Coworking space. It’s a long path from zero to good to a great community but you have to take it. Building it requires a lot of effort, great team, and energy. You need to build, curate, stimulate and grow it. You have to be likable so that people want to work with you in your space. You also need evangelists. Your first members need to be pitching the space all around the town and selling it for you.

One of the key elements of creating a community is to establish a safe environment where people feel that they belong to something.

When you walk in the space and you can feel a positive vibe, that’s the community.

2. Hospitality

Coworking spaces are also in the hospitality business. The successful spaces understand it, accept it and capitalize on it.

Hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

The key element of providing good hospitality is your team. Hospitality is people’s business and the people are in the center of providing good service to others. The successful spaces (and any business) are great at hiring members of staff and keeping their company culture awesome.

Focus on hiring nice, friendly, and smart people with a sense of empathy. They will be the face of your coworking in front of members.

When you walk into a coworking space you should see and feel the smile and the warmth of genuinely nice people that work in the space. A smile can open many doors and this is absolutely valid for the coworking business.

CO+HOOTS

CO+HOOTS – Amazing team, great community and beautifully designed facility.

3. Facility

Successful spaces understand that they are in the Real estate business too. The quality of the space matters, as much as the other key elements.

  • Location – How will members commute to the workspace? Does it have public transport nearby? Does it have parking spots? Are there any nice cafes and restaurants nearby?
  • Layout – What’s the layout of your workspace? How much is your ‘net lettable area’? Is there any unused space left?
  • Fit-out & Design – Does the space convey your brand? Is it nice and cozy? Does it have enough light? Does it fit the needs of your community?
  • Maintainability – Have you chosen materials and furniture that are durable and easy to maintain?

Successful spaces are very good at making the best out of their available real estate. Some of the biggest coworking providers invest a lot in the planning phase to ensure the business and financial viability of the location. One of the biggest mistakes you can do is to construct many large common areas instead of reserving a bit more space for the desks and private offices.

When you evaluate the design put yourself in the shoes of your prospective members and just ask yourself one simple question – ‘Am I going to feel comfortable working on a desk in this place for the next 3 years?‘.

4. Business

Successful coworking spaces understand that at the end of the day they run a business. And if you want a healthy, sustainable business, you need to make it profitable and generate enough revenue to grow.

4.1 Revenue Channels

Successful spaces leverage different revenue streams and balance between risk and growth potential.

  • Private Space – usually the most reliable source of income. You should consider longer terms, instead of month-to-month so you can have more security.
  • Desk Memberships – the typical coworking memberships are a great revenue stream.
  • Services and Ancillary items – lockers, parking space and dedicated internet, for example, can bring more revenue.
  • Meeting and Event space – short-term hires can also bring good revenue in some areas.
  • Virtual Memberships – one of the best options to increase your revenue – allwork.space has a great article on the topic.

Tip: To reduce the risk, you may consider longer terms (1-year contracts) with 3 months notice periods for your private offices.

Data: The big coworking spaces have about 60-70% of their revenue from Private Offices, 20-30% from Desk Memberships, and about 10% from other services, such as meeting rooms, events, virtual memberships, etc.

4.2. Expenses

The successful flexible workspaces are also good at keeping their expenses low.

  • Rent – start by negotiating better terms with your landlord.
  • Staff – having just enough employees is important to keep your spending in balance.
  • Software & Services – paying too much for software and services can have a negative impact on your bottom line too.
  • Processing Fees – payment processing fees can have a significant impact on your expenses. You can consider using cheaper options, use direct debit (or ACH) or pass the fees to the members via payment providers such as PlacePay.

4.3 Operations

Running your business smoothly with minimum involvement by your staff is key.

  • Automation – you should try to automate as many processes as possible. A good software solution can certainly help here.
  • Payments & Security – you may consider charging 2 months in advance for private offices in order to reduce your risk.
  • Maintenance – you should consider the maintenance when you’re building, renovating or improving your space – build it in a way that will be durable and will reduce the support costs.

4.4. Investment

Successful spaces are also good at raising funds and promoting the Coworking idea to investors. Having venture capital is beneficial for your business as it reduces the risk on the entrepreneur side and allows you to be more aggressive with your growth plans.

Always take advantage of the software that you use. It can help you to provide meaningful data when you present to your investors. The software is a key element of any business. You can’t raise capital if you run your business on spreadsheets and Zapier only. It is not scalable for a number of reasons.

Building a great business is complicated and hard, but beautiful and rewarding, especially if you are smart about it. Consider all the different aspects of how to nurture an awesome community, provide great service and high-class facility and you will improve your chances of building a successful coworking space business.

Corporate Turns Coworking – Campus X & OfficeRnD

OfficeRnD was born in late 2014 when we, together with another Miro, started working on a software for space management. Both of us were managing software teams at Telerik, one of the leading software companies for developer tools. We were facing an interesting challenge ‘How to make sure our teams are productive and our teammates are happy and healthy in an office that’s constantly changing due to the dynamic nature of the software business.’

As software engineers, of course, we were sure the solution must be Software. Let’s develop a platform that streamlines the management of the office space – improve the occupancy and utilization while maintaining well-balanced, well-planned thus healthy, collaborative and productive office environment.

We were still trying to conceptualize our idea when Telerik was acquired by Progress Software. It was a big success for an amazing startup. These events served us as a further motivation to leave the security of our well-paid jobs and start our own venture.

The World of Coworking

Early on, PiLabs, the first #proptech accelerator in Europe invited us to join their program in London. The office was based in the beautiful coworking space called SecondHome in Shoreditch. It quickly became our ‘first home’ as we were coding 16h / day. That’s how we discovered the amazing world of Coworking. A shared workspace with extreme focus on community and collaboration, good sense of hospitality and beautiful, productive layout and design. That was it!

SecondHome and the Coworking spaces we’ve seen were exactly what we thought the office should be:

  • Collaborative offices with great communities
  • Green, healthy and stimulating environments
  • Dynamic, flexible and evolving spaces

The World of Coworking Software

Only 3 months after we started we decided to focus entirely on making the best software for coworking spaces. Although we started with the ‘space’ module and built beautiful interactive floor plans, we quickly developed a billing module, accounting integrations and started working on our first version of the community portal.

To be honest, most of our early-stage investors weren’t very excited about the coworking industry. It was small, very niche market that on the surface seemed like a really tiny opportunity for a tech startup. One of the Telerik founders, also our very first investor, was joking with us about how we managed to pick such a small industry.

Campus X

Fast forward two years and there was an interesting plot twist in our story. While OfficeRnD was growing fast and adding more and more awesome coworking customers, the Telerik founders decided to take on their next challenge – building the largest incubator for tech
companies and talent in South-East Europe, Campus X.

Thanks to their vision and understanding of the startup community Campus X is turning into one of the most vibrant flexible workspace/tech hubs in the regions. After the final phase of the project, the campus will span across approximately 18 000 sq.m. of office space, hosting more than 1000 members.

Interestingly enough, Campus X premises in fact span across the same office buildings we wanted to build space management software for 3 years ago in the then ‘corporate’ environment. They are now converted to beautiful flexible workspaces that serve as a home base for Campus X’s amazing community. Turns out that in the end, we did build software for the buildings we envisioned 4 years ago, however not in the corporate environment we originally thought.

Today, Campus X workspaces management is powered by the OfficeRnD software platform. Automating the operations allowed them to focus on the important bits, such as growing the community and making their facilities great and hospitable. OfficeRnD is helping them with a number of elements, such as:

  • Automated billing;
  • Easy to use contracts & memberships management;
  • Integrated door access;
  • Connected community through a beautiful web portal and mobile app;
  • Easy to use bookings, and;
  • Interactive space management (yes, this is where we started)

This is just the beginning for us. We’re ready to do so much more for the world of Coworking and Flexible workspaces.

If you want to join the coworking industry, check out our careers page or drop us a line at info@officernd.com. We are growing and looking for JavaScript Developers and Quality Assurance Engineer for our beautiful office in Campus X, Sofia, Bulgaria.

Coworking Space Website

A getting started guide for choosing the right platform for your coworking space website.

The coworking world is complicated. Among the community, facilities, sales, and operations, you need to deal with software challenges too. Building your web presence (and mobile) should be and probably is your number one priority when it comes to software.

We talk to a lot of coworking spaces, and we observe a lot of great websites and some that are not so great. Here are our observations and recommendations for setting up your Website and how you can integrate it with your chosen management system.

Marketing Website

The first and most important part of your web presence is building a beautiful marketing website. The purpose of the Marketing website is to convince new members that your space is great and it will solve their office problems. It has to increase the top of the sales funnel by bringing more leads and people knocking on your door.

You need great content and visuals that are laid out well in a logical way that conveys your message. Easier said than done.

Here are the key objectives you may consider when building your marketing website:

  • It has to be modern, beautiful and sleek.
  • It has to be easy to write and edit content.
  • It has to be extensible with themes, plugins, and widgets.
  • It has to be standard and well adopted so any web developer can support it.
  • Google must love it. SEO is key.

Based on these, there are several important points which you may consider when you choose a web platform for your website:

  • Popular Website builders are ok (such as Wix).
  • Standard CMS (Content Management System) is always better (such as WordPress and Squarespace).
  • Custom (not-standard) CMS has many flaws such as not easy to maintain, lack of extensibility and lack of general knowledge.
  • Custom built websites ‘from scratch’ is not a good option as well. It costs a lot to built a website from scratch, it is hard to maintain, it’s not extensible, SEO is hard to achieve, and has so many other problems.
  • Coworking Management platforms (or any other management platform) that offer built-in websites are the worst. The resulting website is not standard, not extensible, not easy to maintain, customize, the SEO won’t be good enough and also, it will always be outdated and not according to the latest UI/UX standards.

See the comparison table for more information:

 ModernContent MngmtExtensibleStandardSEO
Website BuildersMaybe
CMS
Custom CMSMaybeMaybeMaybe
Custom WebsiteMaybe
Management PlatformMaybe

Clearly, the best option for building a marketing website is to choose a standard CMS system, such as WordPress.

officernd

For example, our marketing website is based on a standard CMS.

Members Portal

The second most important part of your web presence is the internal, members facing web application a.k.a. members web portal.

The key objectives of the members portal are:

  • Great UI – It has to be modern, beautiful and sleek.
  • Great UX – It has to be easy to use.
  • White-labeled – It has highlight your brand and not the vendor brand.
  • Useful/Feature-rich – It is your ‘product’ after all.
  • Connected – It has to be connected to the management platform.
  • Internal – SEO is not needed.

You can think of your members portal as an important part of your offering, your product.

If you take close look at most of the modern tech companies, you will notice a pattern of how their web presence is structured:

Home domain – yourbrand.com – Your Marketing Website

The main/marketing website is the home domain – officernd.com, stripe.com, intercom.com, gocardless.com, or any other tech company. The marketing website is always built using a standard CMS. It is owned and maintained by the marketing team and the main objectives are Design, Content, SEO and the ability to extend and change frequently.

Subdomain – members.yourbrand.com – Your Web Product

The members portal, being your web product is best to live under a subdomain. For the tech companies, that’s usually app.officernd.com, dashboard.stripe.com, app.intercom.com, manage.gocardless.com, etc. Some of the most important reasons why doing it this way is the so-called ‘Separation of concerns’, as known in the tech world. The product (it’s also called web application and not a website) has its own life. It has its own user interface and its own user experience. It serves a different purpose and it’s owned by a different team – the product team. You don’t want to be caught in a situation where your marketing website is down because the product team is deploying a new version. Or even worse, you need to deploy the product, because the marketing team needs to update a piece of content. There are a million reasons to keep these separate and the most important one is they serve different purposes.

portal

An example internal/members portal (web application).

Connecting the Website with the Portal

Of course, these two worlds need to be connected and speak to each other. Few points that usually connect them in the Coworking world are:

  • Links on the Marketing website pointing to the Portal:
    • Login – login for existing members.
    • Signup – purchase a product and become a member.
    • Calendar – book a conference room and become a drop-in user.
  • Pages showing data from the Management platform:
    • Events page – showing your great events.
    • Members wall – showing your awesome community.
  • Forms on your Website:
    • Enquiry form – creates an opportunity in the management platform.
    • Booking form – any other form that may create different entities in the management platform.

signup

Building a web presence for your workspace business is a complicated job. Not for us. We’re a tech company. We love complicated stuff. We love building a great user interface and user experience.

Choose your Website and Coworking Management platforms wisely and keep these separate.

Get in touch at info@officernd.com or miro@officernd.com if you need help or advise with any of these.

Payment Gateways for Coworking – Cardconnect

Guest blog post by Tom Cooley from GoCardconnect.

Since it’s inception, OfficeR&D has always worked with coworking spaces to offer the best coworking space management platform available. Offering a variety of payment processing options such as Stripe, Cardconnect and more, allow for more flexibility and control over your Coworking space.

Following is a detailed overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the two famous vendors in the US.

Stripe is a Brand Name

Due to Stripe’s commitment to streamlining the payments integration to third party applications, Stripe continues to make significant strides into third-party software applications. Coupled with their “Pay as you go” model, Stripe is also a great choice for new businesses and merchants that are unable to obtain traditional accounts due to time in business, credit underwriting or the sale of products that most processors view as “High-Risk”. For Stripe users, obtaining an account is easy and there are no fees unless you use the service.

Understanding that most of the OfficeR&D customers are “traditional” merchants with the same needs that most businesses have, including choice, representation and omni-commerce functionality (card present and card not present transactions), choosing an alternative to Stripe was important.

Enter Cardconnect

At the core of the Cardconnect platform is card data security. As one of only a few payment processors to achieve P2PE (Point to Point Encryption) and Tokenization certification from the PCI Board, the Cardconnect platform reduces the scope of PCI compliance significantly by completely removing card data from your operating system. Their API, and the way OfficeR&D build the payment interface makes validating your PCI compliance extremely simple.

Pricing

One of the most notable features for Cardconnect is the ability to offer Interchange pricing to each of their clients. Rather than the flat rate model offered by Stripe, Cardconnect passes through the exact cost of each transaction, as defined by the card brands (Visa/MasterCard/Discover/AMEX). This means card-not-present business debit cards with the Visa/MC logo are billed at the Interchange rate of 0.05% + $0.22 per transaction. After adding Assessments and processing fees, the total cost is 0.38% + $0.32 per transaction.

Compare this to 2.9% + $0.30 on $10,000 in processing volume, and the cost differential is significant ($10,000 X {(2.9% + $0.30) – (0.38% + $0.32)} ) = $10,000 X 2.52% = $252

For every $10,000 in Business debit cards processed, Stripe is an additional $252 more expensive than Cardconnect!

Interchange Optimization

There are over 200 different Interchange categories based on the type of credit card, how it was processed, what data was passed with the card, and how old the authorization is. Interchange Optimization, one aspect of the Cardconnect product that is so valuable is a feature that recognizes the type of card based on the first 4 digits and provides specific card data needed for that transaction to receive the lowest Interchange cost. For example, a Business card requires a tax amount. If nothing is included with the authorization, a tax amount of $0 is added to the transaction, and the Interchange cost goes down. Interchange Optimization is responsible for a decrease in fees from 0.05% to 1.05%.

Account Updater

With the rise in data breaches, it is becoming more common for us as consumers to reach out to all the places that bill our card on a monthly basis and update the credit card. Account updater eliminates that by contracting with the card brands to automatically retrieve updated credit cards when cards on file are changed for any reason. This means, no more declines due to lost, expired or stolen credit cards. Some exceptions may apply. For customers that have many recurring charges, this is often the time that they purge any rarely used subscriptions, resulting in a loss of revenue for your business.

Omni-Commerce functionality

Cardconnect is a traditional payment processor and can offer a multitude of payment options. Does your coworking space have retail, special event, fundraiser or any other function where you’re taking payments directly from cardholders? With CardPointe, offer Mobile, Desktop, and terminal solutions and enable card acceptance in any place and form, your customers would like to pay. The best part, all card data rolls into a single reporting portal, where transactions can be sorted based on authorization method, cardholder name, last four of a credit card, and a myriad of additional fields that are customizable for each merchant.

Personal attention

Do you have questions about processing credit cards, availability of deposits, methods for reducing costs or would just like to speak with someone regarding your specific payment processing needs? Then Cardconnect is the perfect fit. They take a concierge approach to payment processing and are available at your convenience.

Our goal at OfficeR&D is to address the needs of all of our clients. We wanted to offer a standardize payment solution that many people were already familiar with, plus a solution that allows for significantly lower costs, additional features and a personal touch.

For a limited time, Cardconnect is offering $5,000 in free processing for all new OfficeR&D accounts. Click here to learn more about the Cardconnect solution.

Guest blog post by Tom Cooley from GoCardconnect.

Our Community is What Really Matters to Us

Building community is the top priority for the operators of the Workspace of the Future – a.k.a. Coworking 2.0.

Following is a guest post from Miryana Stancheva, the Community Manager at Work & Share.

The end of November was a big one for Work & Share! We went on a mission at the Coworking Europe Conference in Brussels which brings together more than 400 people from more than 50 countries each year – founders, community managers, researchers, entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, and thinkers. For 3 days this event creates a community of like-minded people who all together work on shaping the future of work.

During the conference, we met old and new friends from all over Europe and beyond. We heard many stories about the directions the coworking concept is moving, so now we are doing our best to integrate our impressions from the conference in the future development of Work & Share.

As a newly-formed core team, we are very cautious about what kind of influence we would have on our future community. Our wish is to be their “role model”. What does that mean exactly? you would ask.

Here is our explanation

Starting building a community from scratch means you have nothing but yourself and your colleagues. Your team is the heart of the coworking and you are the ones who are setting up the values, the culture and the types of interactions you would like to develop in your coworking community. The team dynamics you sustain in your team will influence the dynamics you’d observe in the community in the future. If there are unsolved or unspoken problems, conflicts and discrepancies in your team it is most likely the community to resonate with your team and to result in an unsustainable, defensive and mistrustful bunch of people who don’t feel interconnected.

Being conscious about those potential risks in the world of coworking we decided to address them to more experienced coworking professionals and to hear their opinion according to their, already existing, communities. So, during the second day of the Coworking Europe Conference, called an “unconference day”, we initiated and moderated a group discussion about the role which the coworking core team plays in the process of building and developing a community. Around 20 people (coworking founders and community managers) joined us and shared their first-hand experience.

2016-12-19 13.17.11
Smiles on the faces of our amazing attendees after the fruitful discussion, moderated by the community manager of Work & Share – Miryana Stancheva.
We raised a couple of questions to our panel attendees and the answers resulted in two directions – difficulties they’ve faced within their teams, on one hand, and on the other – difficulties that have occurred between their team and their community.

Panel discussion wrap up

We can summarize that in a core coworking team it is important to have at least a simple flat structure with clearly divided roles, where trust, acceptance and transparent communication are main values, integrated by each and every team member. That would ease the working process and reduce the misunderstandings within the team.

When it’s up to interactions between the team and the community, many of the attendees pointed out they feel constantly interrupted by members’ requests and questions which cause a slowdown in their everyday routines and becomes a potential factor for developing a burnout syndrome in the future. As the main reason for that, they highlighted the role confusion (lack of information about, for example, who is the event master or who is the social media person) so they proposed a couple of solutions:

  • firstly, to make it clear to the community who is doing what – what the core team structure is;
  • secondly, to involve some of the community members in the operational processes of the space and make them feel engaged;
  • thirdly, to keep the members informed about what is going on in the core team;
  • fourthly, to clarify the expectations which the new members have since the very beginning;
  • and last but not least, to keep and sustain the honesty, transparency, and openness between all the parties of the coworking process.

Since we already have all these insights, it will definitely make us more prepared for the upcoming challenges, will help us being more sensitive about potential concussions in our team and community and will aid us to cope with the difficulties in a constructive way.

By sharing with you the process that we are going through while becoming a coworking space and building a community, we would like to affirm once again how vital the openness and transparency are not only for us but also for every other coworking space.
Photo credits: Coworking Europe; Miryana Stancheva

Coworking 2.0 – the Workspace Evolution

The Coworking movement has come a long way for the past several years. It all started as these small hubs and hacker spaces for freelancers and small, low-budget startups. Until recently when it started to evolve into something much, much bigger. Coworking will become the way of working for most if not all small and mid-sized businesses.

In order to attract such a big mass of different members and companies, the coworking spaces are going through a natural evolution. Coworking 2.0 offers a wide variety of services, has a good location, high-end facilities, well-designed brand, solid infrastructure and amazing members of staff. It’s fully automated and has great, well connected offline, online and mobile community.

Coworking 2.0 is the next generation of office space, codenamed Spaas (Space As A Service – pronounced SPACE).

Space as a Service

Coming from the software industry, I’ve been part of a similar change many years ago. The transition from traditional software model to SaaS (Software as a Service) model in the cloud had a massive impact on the software industry. The SaaS solutions have so many benefits. Companies were able to:

  • Purchase better software quicker and easier;
  • Choose from bigger variety of online solutions;
  • Have an easy entrance, onboarding and cancellation options;
  • Reduce the upfront cost and investment;
  • Pay for what they use and only if and when they use it;
  • Have less to no maintenance;
  • Have better support, always use the latest version and so much more.

As a result, businesses using SaaS products became more agile, adaptive and capable of providing better services.

The software industry, on the other hand, exploded. The SaaS model quickly became the software standard. The quality of the available solutions improved significantly too. The software companies started to have faster release cycles, better reach, easier access to customers and feedback which of course, resulted in much better products and happier customers. It’s a win-win situation for both software vendors and software users.

A similar change is already happening in the Office industry.

Small and mid-size companies are realizing that coworking / flexible workspaces are much better option for their office. The same reasons apply here too:

  • Find better office space quicker and easier;
  • Have easy entrance, onboarding, cancellation policy – a.k.a flexible terms;
  • Have no to less upfront cost and investment;
  • Pay for what they use and when they use it;
  • Less to no maintenance;
  • Choose from a variety of spaces, communities and locations.

This is what I call Space as a Service (SpaaS) or Workspace as a Service (WaaS).

Coworking 2.0 will become the standard in the office industry and traditional offices will be the exception.

Benefits of SpaaS

There are so many additional services and benefits of OaaS that come along with the physical office space. Let me name a few:

  • Use of shared amenities – meeting rooms, cafes, lounges and other resources;
  • Choose the right community for your type of business;
  • Choose the right location, change easily if doesn’t work well;
  • Choose the right atmosphere, design, look and feel.

The Evolution of Coworking

The Coworking of 2017 is different from the Coworking of 2010. The end-user is different and the spaces are different.

Location

Coworking spaces often used to be in dodgy, underdeveloped areas and buildings. This is changing faster than you can imagine. The new wave of Coworking spaces chooses prime, first-class locations and buildings. They have great transport and parking options, great infrastructure and most importantly they are based in the best parts of the city.

Let’s have a look at the building of Us&Co, one of the latest spaces in central London. They are based in one of the best areas in the City – 7 Harp Lane EC3R 6DP – with perfect transport links. It’s a great, bright building with amazing views of the river Themes and the City of London.

Us&Co 9th Floor

Us&Co cafe on the rooftop.

Facilities

New coworking spaces invest a lot in fit-out, design, and great facilities. If you want to attract a certain type of customers, i.e. grown ups and mid-size companies, you need good facilities. Things like proper air-cond, high-end chairs and desks, nice lounge and common areas and professional maintenance are becoming a norm.

Let’s have another look at Us&Co fit-out. The picture speaks for itself:

Us&Co Hotdesk Area

Brand

Good branding is not something new. But it’s something that is more and more important. Strong competition means that strong brands win and weak brands not. You should invest in good branding, design, web & mobile presence and the overall experience of the space. Everything should connect and should be up to the highest standards in Branding and Marketing. Here’s a good article on best Marketing techniques for coworking spaces.

Automation

The Coworking 2.0 has to be automated. You need to connect the dots and save money and time from staff so they can focus on building real community instead of dealing with invoices, keys, and spreadsheets.

  1. Onboarding – let your members purchase membership online
    1. Welcome email and the door access information is sent
    2. Invoice, Billing, and the Payments are connected
    3. They end up in your beautiful Members portal where they can follow the next steps to becoming a member
  2. Door accessWiFiPrintingBillingAccountingCalendarsSales – it all should be well integrated.

This is our strongest part and OfficeR&D can surely help you fully automate your Coworking 2.0 space.

Hardware & IT

The next generation coworking space needs to be fully equipped with the highest standard IT infrastructure or management software. You can’t afford poor connectivity even for a moment. The coworking members are so dependent on the internet that even a 5 min disruption may have a really bad effect on them. It’s easy to lose customers because of poor Internet or WiFi connectivity.

Community

Building vibrant community is probably the hardest part of making a great Coworking space. It’s a long path from zero to good to a great community but you have to take it. Building it requires a lot of effort, great team, and energy. You need to build it, curate it, stimulate it and grow it. You have to be likable so that people want to work with you in your space. You need a good brand – either personal or the brand of the company. You also need good evangelists. Your first members need to be pitching the space all around the town and selling space for you.

Last but not least, you need great members of staff. Your community manager(s) has to love their job. You need the right people in the right seats on the bus. Your members’ first, second and the third impression will come from the community manager. Coworking 2.0 spaces invest in the right staff and they will make a great first impression.

Community 2.0 is Connected. You need to provide the means for your members to find easily each other, learn more about each other, get in touch with each other. It has to be social. It has to be mobile.  Most of all, it has to be collaborative.


Coworking 2.0 is Space as a Service built on prime location and comes with high-end facilities, good infrastructure, fully automated processes, awesome members of staff and of course, vibrant, connected community.

October 2016 Release

We implemented a lot of new features in the last month, which are aligned with core values here at OfficeR&D.

  • Achieve operational excellence by automating more repetitive tasks;
  • Make data-driven decisions based on real, fresh data that is accessible and easy to read;
  • Create a more engaged community network.

In the last month, we improved our integration with Xero, added another awesome accounting integration – QuickBooks online, enhanced the members portal with an e-commerce module to enable your members to purchase products and more.

Admin Portalquickbooks

  • Quick Books Online – we’re very committed to providing completely automated solution for our customers. A big part of this is to have your accounting synchronised to your management system. So, we developed a full-fledged integration with QuickBooks Online. You can read more about it here.
  • Billing & Accounting Improvements
    • Tax Rates – you can define multiple Tax Rates, apply them to different products, customers and sync them with your accounting solution.
    • Discounts – a new, advanced way to create discounts, coupons and apply them to different customers and/or plans.
    • Pro Rata – control if you want to pro-rate the first or the second member invoice.
  • Integrations Improvements – we worked with our partners from KISI, GoCardless, Capsule, Stripe and Xero to improve our existing integrations. Read more here.
  • Meeting Room Bookings Improvements – we now support more sophisticated ways to define prices and rates:
    • Members vs. non-members;
    • Discounts based on membership plan;
    • Daily vs. hourly rates, etc.
    • Improved our booking system to be faster, more reliable and feature rich.
  • Performance & Security Improvements – we made some upgrades so OfficeR&D is quicker and more reliable.

Members Portal

  • E-Commerce– enable your members to purchase new membership plans, products, services and more. Collect the payments online or add them to the members’ next invoice.
  • New Design & Options
    • Members Dashboard – members can now enjoy a new Welcome dashboard where they can access various useful links and information
    • New Members Wall – we redesigned our members’ wall. It’s much faster, looks better, has more information and options.
  • Performance & Security Improvements – we also improved many internal bits & pieces to make the portal more robust, better looking and faster.

members-wall

 

Coworking, Community and Collaboration.

I really like people and I really like building community. I didn’t know this would put me on the path to my dream job, but, it did. In a way that I never expected.

After working as an Executive Assistant for seven years I was looking for a change but I didn’t know how to break out of the kind of work I was doing. I also had no clue what I would do next…until I interviewed for a position as a Community Manager at a coworking space in Los Angeles. I didn’t even really understand the concept of coworking, but, walking into the space for the first time was kind of like falling down the rabbit hole. What was this place? What were all these people doing? Is that a kitchen stocked with snacks and coffee? Why is everyone so happy? I didn’t really understand what this place was but I wanted in. Big time.

Long story short, I got the job and my journey into Coworking began…

It became clear early on that the community were going to become my colleagues, friends, and mentors. These relationships began to shape the way I thought about my work and my life. I was collaborating on projects that I was passionate about and working with people who had left the stable and mundane for the unknown. It was infectious and inspiring. A lightbulb went off; collaboration within a community is one of the building blocks of coworking, and it was awesome! I was hooked. Still am. 

Now, you don’t get coworking, community, and collaboration without a lot of work behind the scenes. There is a lot to think about  – payment processing, community management, space layout, location, community events, promotions, sales, partnerships. This list goes on…and on and on. It’s kinda messy but it’s also kinda awesome. I spent a lot of time putting really solid systems in place so I could streamline my work and keep it as simple as possible. This was imperative because if that was in place, then I could get back to the part of the job I loved; hangin’ with my community and focussing on the bigger picture.  

There are a lot of components in building a coworking space and worrying about the back-end should be the least of your worries. My advice to anyone managing a space or anyone starting out – get solid systems in place and get feedback from your trusted community members about what they think is working, they will be your best (and most honest) allies. 

“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
– Henry Ford

Automated door access using OfficeR&D and Kisi

KISI + OfficeR&D

At OfficeR&D, we work hard to simplify the workload of the community manager by including user management, meeting room bookings, payments (and much more!) into one platform. However, we noticed an increasing trend; managing physical access to office and shared spaces can be quite complex. We understand that each community is unique and how your space is used differs from person to person. Seeing a need for simplified door access, we did some research, listened to our customers and as a result, we are pleased to announce that we have partnered with the awesome keyless door entry system, Kisi!

Door Access with KISI

Kisi is an access control app for mobiles. It allows members to enter your space using their smartphone. No keys, no key cards, no problem! Even better, it has many features that will give you insights into who is using your space, and when.

How the integration works?

OfficeR&D allows you to easily grant or remove access from members depending on their membership plan. This means that when a person’s membership begins they will automatically get access to your space. The same happens when their membership ends; access will be automatically removed. No more keeping track of keycards, cool huh?

Ready to get up and running? See our handy help article here.

OfficeR&D and Included – making coworking more awesome

I’m very excited to announce our partnership with included.co, the ‘secret weapon’ service for members of coworking spaces and shared offices. Together, will merge new revenue streams with better space management for the whole coworking market.

New revenue streams for coworking spaces

Included.co links up their network of connected coworking and shared spaces (a.k.a collectives) to businesses that offer great discounts exclusively for members of included collectives. This creates new opportunities for all the 3 sides of the equation:

  • Collective members unlock great savings on useful products and services.
  • These businesses reach passionate businesses in these collectives.
  • Collective operators make more money by connecting with the service.
  • Collectives attract more members as the value of their desk space increases.

Their platform creates an amazing opportunity for every coworking and shared workspace out there to add even more value for their communities (and improve their bottom line too).

inlcluded.co

Better coworking space management

On the other hand we have OfficeR&D, the coworking management platform. Our partnership means we can offer our clients deep included.co integration. This will result in great revenue opportunities through the ‘included Agora widget’. It will be fully integrated into our Community Portal so that all coworking members will be able to access the great discounts available through included.co directly from within OfficeR&D.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In a nutshell, being included and using OfficeR&D means:

  • Workspace management? included!
  • Exclusive deal sourcing? Also included!
  • Additional revenue source? included too!

Now you can focus on keeping your community happier, healthier and more productive. Having the right tools in place means for you, the coworking manager, more time for your members and more revenue streams for your business.

Sign up now for OfficeR&D through included.co and get the big discount offered to all included collectives.