coworking space essentials

Why Coworking Has a Lot to Do with Hospitality and 3 Essential Principles You Shouldn’t Miss

6 min read

When we talk about the main elements of coworking, there’s one other thing that’s crucial beyond the flexibility, the community, and the amenities: coworking is about constant communication with people.

And if communication with people is an essential part of your business, providing a product or service is not enough. Great customer experience becomes a key element of success and hospitality is what will help you nail that.

Although hospitality is often related mainly to hotels, resorts, and restaurants, it has a lot to do with coworking. Because both hospitality and coworking are about creating a great experience for people. It’s about making people feel happy and delighted while using your services.

Coworking is a lot more than offering a desk. It’s about providing a workplace which empowers people to unleash their potential, be as productive as possible and create valuable professional connections; it’s about how you make people feel at your space and knowing how to improve their member experience.

And there’s no rocket science here.

It’s a simple understanding of the fact that people need to be treated well. And it’s what hospitality, one of the main pillars of successful coworking spaces, is all about.

In this blog post, we’ve outlined 3 hospitality essentials in the context of coworking that will help you improve member experience. 

Start with a warm attitude and involve yourself

Communication with your visitors might begin far before they enter your physical space. They may call you on the phone or send you an e-mail to receive more information or ask anything related to your space or service.

A warm and welcoming attitude might set the scene in the right way for your relationship with them going forth. Regardless of the communication channel (in person, your Facebook page, e-mail…) or intention to become a member or not, make sure to be kind and welcoming.

You cannot make a first impression twice. Every person matters and by being involved in the situation you show them that you care. It’s about how you communicate, how you onboard new members in your space, how you treat them during their stay.

Of course, your actions would be different according to the circumstances. However, there are some essentials that are applicable in every case:

  • Make sure to greet visitors when they enter your space. Small things matter – a smile and a “Hello” can do a lot!
  • Be welcoming and kind via your digital channels as well – Facebook page, e-mail, chat, etc. Don’t be too long to message back. The faster your response time gets, the more you prove that you care.
  • Try to react to requests as soon as possible. Don’t leave people to wait too long. If you’re busy at the moment, try to find somebody else from the team who can help. If that’s not an option, give them an exact idea on when you’ll get back to them.
  • Give people enough information – whether they ask you about available desks, membership plans, working hours, etc. Be available if additional questions pop up and let people know how they can reach you.

When meeting new members, the following practices will make them feel special:

  • If you have a pre-arranged meeting, make sure to be there on time! Welcome them properly, offer a coffee/water. Show them their desk and the most important areas/spots in the space that the person will need.
  • If your new member is not from town, take a little time to send them information about local restaurants and places to visit.
  • Before you go about your other tasks, make sure they have everything they need. Also, check them during the day – just to see if everything’s fine or if they need something.
  • At the end of the day, ask them about their day at the space. Do they have any recommendations/questions/feedback? Would they need anything for tomorrow if they’re coming back?

Be easily approachable

Hospitality doesn’t end with greeting visitors on the entrance. It’s about everything that happens in your coworking space and how you behave. One of the fundamental aspects of a hospitable attitude is to be approachable.

Visitors and members of your coworking space should know how and where to find you and be able to reach you easily. Don’t be that magic unicorn everyone has heard of but no one has seen.

Make sure to have someone who meets visitors. Have a reception/welcome area close to the entrance that people will easily notice.

If hiring a dedicated person to be there at all times is not an option for you, think about how people can easily get in touch with you so you can assist them when needed.

Leaving a phone number on a visible place at reception or placing a ring bell are some possible solutions.


📍Bonus tip:

Let coworking members know what alternative communication channels they can use to reach you if they cannot talk to you in person. If you check Slack regularly but rarely open Facebook, for example, communicate that so members know where you’ll be most responsive.

Listen. Respond. React.

Not only should you make yourself approachable, but proactively communicate, listen, respond and react to what people share as ideas, feedback, requests, etc.

Be around your members and be all ears. Chat with them. Ask them questions. Be aware of how they feel at your coworking space.

Communication is key. It will give you a lot of insights on how things are going and how to improve member experience.

But have in mind listening is not enough – you should be responsive and proactive:

Leaving a message without reply or not taking any actions after someone has told you about a problem they’ve noticed in the space is a sure way to make people feel negative about your attitude and your coworking space.

Regardless of how busy you are, take some time to respond to people. If you’re not able to provide an answer to their question or take action at the moment, let them know that you’ve accepted their request and you’ll notify them when there’s an update.

Keep people informed about work in progress. Sometimes solving a problem takes more time than expected – even though you don’t have a solution yet, let them know you’re working on it.

If they have a suggestion or an idea, listen to them. If it’s applicable, make it happen. If not – show you appreciate the suggestion and kindly explain why it won’t be possible to implement it. It’s essential to have real communication with your members and show them that you care.

As a conclusion: There’s no traffic jam on the extra mile

Coworking is about people. The better they feel at your coworking space, the more reasons they have to visit you again.

Small things matter. It’s what makes other people feel special and is a clear sign that you care.

It might be a welcome pack, a favor you do for them, or that you remembered their birthday and bought them a cupcake.

Providing basic services is one thing, but giving a little more on top of that is something not so many people do. And when done, it won’t be left unnoticed!

P.S. You might also want to check how you can benefit from technology like chats, social media, and coworking management software, to collect, access and spread information easier and faster, which will allow you to improve your customer service even more.


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second coworking location

Opening a Second Coworking Location: What to Consider and How to Deal with the Main Challenges

9 min read

There’s something even more thrilling than running your first coworking space and this is the moment when you start thinking about opening your second location.

But besides the excitement, there are also lots of concerns when you come to this stage of your business. Are you ready to expand? Does it make sense? How will you split your efforts between the two locations and still keep up with both?

And most of all – is it worth it?

Why open a second location?

If you’re still wondering whether or not this is a good step, here are a few reasons on why it might make sense:

Demand is rising. More and more professionals and companies are switching from traditional offices to coworking spaces. To meet the rising demand, you’ll need to provide more space once your first location reaches its full (or almost full) capacity.

Competition is rising. The tremendous interest in coworking leads to a huge rise in the number of coworking spaces slowly but surely making coworking the new normal, hence more and more competitors will rise up and fight for the attention of your members. Expanding your capacity and building on top of your product will help you to stay competitive.

Your members scale and their needs change. Depending on how you’ve structured your product, your current space might be focused mainly on flex and dedicated desks, with a limited number of offices (or none whatsoever). If desks are suitable for most starting companies, when they grow they’ll start looking for a separate office. If you can’t offer them what they need, they’ll have to leave you.

Before you make the decision to expand

Opening a second location is not a piece of cake. It needs a lot of effort, time and resources. It’s good to be sure you’re ready and really willing to expand.

Answering the following question can help you figure out if you’re ready to scale:

How is your current coworking space performing?

Analyzing your current situation is key. Is your space full? Are your resources being used at their maximum (or close to maximum) capacity – e.g. desks, offices, meeting rooms? Are your revenue streams stable (e.g. having longer-term memberships)?

If the answer is yes, think about the successful practices that led to this success and if (and how) you can replicate them. Investigate the ones that need improvement or totally failed and try to find the reasons on why they didn’t perform well.

The ability to understand why certain things in your current space were successful and others were not is key to expanding.

second coworking location

Can your current coworking space operate without you?

Once you expand you’ll no longer be able to be “on-site” and as available as before if any issues arise. On top of that, your second location will require your time and attention much more than your first, especially in the beginning. It’ll be a full-time job added to your current duties.

Ask yourself:

  • Is there something in your current coworking space which constantly requires your presence? Can you somehow change that?
  • Are you willing and is it possible to delegate tasks? Here’s a good guide on how you can delegate task successfully.
  • Do you have a clear plan on who will handle the new tasks? Do you have the right people in your team? If not, can you hire them? We’ve listed some hiring tips below.

*You’re not limited to these questions alone, but answering them will give you a better understanding of your ability to expand at the current moment.

Do you want to focus on providing the same coworking space as a product?

If your current space is focused mainly on desks and open spaces, do you want to replicate that in your second location? Or do you want to change your model and target a different kind of audience? Do you want it to be in the same town or not?

Here are 3 success stories of coworking spaces opening their second location providing food for thought in terms of location and business model.

Besides exploring real-life examples, examine the market, do research on what the other spaces close to your next location provide and try to find information on what the coworking audience needs. Is there a demand for a coworking space with more offices? Or your town is a crossing point of coworking nomads who prefer quick access to a hot desk and meeting rooms?

This will give you valuable insights on what location you should search for, how to fit it out, how to plan and distribute the space between open space and offices, how to plan meeting rooms, what services to provide, etc.


📍Extra note: How do you assure your first location’s members won’t abandon it because of your second one?

That’s something you cannot fully control. The main factor for members in choosing a coworking space is the location and the amenities. So if your new coworking space fits your members’ needs better and reduces their commute time, they’ll most probably move. There’s not much you can do about this.

What you can do here to ensure your first space stays intact is to gradually improve and renovate where possible – from the fit-out to the amenities, the service management, etc.

second coworking location

Let’s consider you’ve already found the location, signed the lease, finished with the fit-out and you’re ready for the next step.

Here are some important aspects to consider, that should help you expand in the most efficient way possible.

Multilocation operations management

One of the main challenges is to replicate all the things you’re doing – the processes, the routines, etc.

Up until now, you’ve probably had all this in your head. Now you have to structure it somehow and make it accessible to the rest of your team. Sad but true – you can’t be in both locations at the same time so you’ll need someone to help you.

Getting all the operational procedures down on paper is a good first step. This will allow other people to take ownership of some of the countless responsibilities you have.

You’ll have your 2 locations operating separately, but having the same procedures and rules in both will allow you to operate more efficiently.


📍Bonus tip: Once you start writing down all the procedures, there’ll be a lot of information to be structured. It’ll be essential to stay organized and keep everything in order. Here’s a useful app: Notion, recommended by SharedSpace, a client of ours, who used it to manage tasks when they were opening up their second location.


Once you have all your processes written down, it’s important to have the right people to relay them to. Let’s look at the important things to consider when staffing your second location:

Staffing your second coworking location

Your team is incredibly important as it’s the core of a coworking space. It’s what enables you to offer the services you offer, to meet your members, to issue their invoices, to manage cash flows…in other words: to operate.

Your team is the voice of your coworking space, brand, and its reputation.

Here’s an inside look of HR best practices for hiring for coworking spaces.

staffing second coworking location

Hiring an Operations/General Manager (or giving this role to someone of your existing team) would be your best first step. You’ll need someone to help you with all day-to-day tasks, answer calls, meet suppliers 

and help you with managing subcontractors, visitors, etc.

Eventually, when you already have your first members, you might think of expanding your team with a Community Manager.

If you’re wondering if you should hire new people or relocate part of your team to the new location, there’s no rule of thumb. Still, consider the following 3 most used practices and evaluate which one will fit your situation:

1/ You relocate team members from your first location to your second

The main benefit here is that you’ll have someone who’s already familiar with your processes and will manage to deal with tasks quite easy and fast. Also, it will be someone trusted and experienced, knowing your space, operations, and community.

In addition, you can provide some of your employees from the first location with the opportunity to grow professionally by taking ownership of additional responsibilities.

second coworking location

2/ You hire new staff for your second location

This will bring people with new ideas and will give a fresh start of your second location. Of course, they’ll need time to get familiar with the processes in your coworking space, to adapt and learn, but if you and the rest of your team spend enough time and dedication in training them, things will fall in place eventually.

Of course, it’s good to find people who have experience in the coworking industry, but it’s not mandatory. Someone who simply has the passion for coworking and is highly motivated and eager to learn can be a great fit for your team!

Also, it’s good to consider not only the professional expertise of the people you hire but if they are a good cultural fit for your coworking space as well. Do they resonate with the company vision and mission? Do you share the same values?

Hiring people who correspond to your mindset will build a strong and well-performing team.

3/ You hire new staff and rotate your team members between the two locations

This well-established among coworking spaces practice applies mainly for operations/community staff.

New and old employees rotate on a regular basis between spaces, so they can learn from one another and be familiar with the processes, the members, and the challenges of both locations.

Rotation can be done on a weekly or even a daily basis – it depends on you.

Scaling your community when expanding

You know how to reinforce the consistency of your brand in both locations with the design, the concept, the customer service of your space – you replicate them and implement the same procedures and practices.

But when it comes to community, how do you replicate that?

The truth is community emerges naturally. It can be neither replicated or forced, but you can try and imbue each “new community” with your vision and the same values that are driving you as a business.

second coworking location

For example, if one of your core differentiators is to be helpful with the service you offer and encourage your community members to grow, support that in your second location as well.

Probably you’ll end up with 2 separate communities which will be slightly different, but what’s important here is that they’ll share the same values. And that’s what gives the consistency of your brand.

Of course, it’s good to follow some essential best practices when fostering your community but have in mind a lot of it comes from you as a founder and your team. If everybody is on the same page about your vision and values, things should start developing on their own.

In the beginning, with a single coworking space, it’s quite easy to maintain this – your team spends almost all their time together – you communicate constantly with each other, you share tasks and activities, you gather for a beer after work, and everyone is involved in almost everything.

To keep that when expanding, hire the people who resonate with your values. Try to encourage the connection between team members. Think about how to have them involved in the processes that run in both spaces. Meet regularly – for sharing company updates and discussing important stuff, but for informal team gatherings as well.

Conclusion

Opening a second coworking location is a huge step. It’s a full-time job requiring a lot of dedication. During this journey, you’ll need focus on evaluating your first location’s performance, defining procedures, hiring the right people and ensuring your community stays authentic.

As long as you and your team have the right focus and well-established processes, and you share and spread the same values, things will start developing smoothly and allow you to grow successfully.

P.S.If you’ve enjoyed reading through this post content, don’t miss to sign up for our newsletter (subscribe button at the bottom of this page), so you can stay up to date with our coworking tips and insights! 

improve-meeting-rooms-usage

How to Track and Improve Meeting Rooms Usage in Coworking Spaces

6 min read

Meeting rooms are a handy amenity that can help you attract prospects to your space or increase your alternative revenue stream while offering a valuable resource to people from within your community.

You’ve succeeded in the challenge of planning your meeting rooms and have already chosen the right ones for your coworking space.

Now the question is: Are you making the most out of your meeting rooms? How do you measure their usage? Can you increase bookings somehow?

Finding answers to these questions will give you valuable insights on how well your meeting rooms are performing, so you can use this information to evaluate and improve their usage.

There’s a number of key metrics you can monitor to measure meeting rooms usage including how often they’re booked, for how long, which meeting rooms are used the most, average bookings per day, week or month, peak or quiet hours, etc.

The steps you can take to improve the areas which underperform depends on your business model – do members pay additionally for using meeting rooms or they are included in the plans you offer?

Improving usage of paid meeting rooms

Paid meeting rooms are usually popular in Serviced Offices (Executive Suites) and in some Coworking spaces. Two main factors lead to this:

  1. This happens in places where a lot of business meetings happen. Usually, members meet clients, partners, future investors and making the right impression is really important.
  2. Business meetings happen sporadically. Paying for a meeting room when the necessity comes fits your member’s needs (and wallets!) better than adding to their plans meeting rooms credits which, sometimes, they might not need.

Here’s what you can do to improve the usage of paid meeting rooms:

Attract external audiences

improve-meeting-room-usage

A successful approach to improve usage is to market your meeting rooms to the public. There are plenty of reasons why meeting rooms in coworking spaces are better than in hotels so there’s a natural interest towards them. 

One idea is to take advantage of marketplaces where you can list your meeting rooms. Of course, you would also like to optimize your website for search engines and fill it up with enough information and great photos to present your service properly.

Providing an option for online booking that shows live availability is another way you can attract more customers.

Read more about how to market meeting rooms: 6 Tips on How To Market Your Coworking Space Meeting Rooms.

Identify underutilized time slots and offer promotions

Time slots in the range of 2-5 pm are in most cases fully booked. It’s the time when most meetings happen – both internally and with external partners/clients.

Of course, every flex space is different, so you should find out what the trend is in your space. An analysis of usage will again require a dedicated solution, but it will be invaluable to have this data so you can know where to focus your efforts:

track-meeting-rooms-usage

Once you identify the periods which are underutilized in your coworking space, you can think about offering discounts during those times.

Also, think about allowing bookings during non-business hours and setting lower price rates for them. After all, one of the coolest things about coworking is its flexibility, so giving your community members the opportunity the use your meeting rooms whenever they need, is an excellent thing to do.

Bundle free credits in recurring memberships

If your members have a membership plan, but they have to pay additionally for meeting rooms, there’s a real chance they’ll sometimes avoid it and go to the near cafe or use the open area in case they have an informal meetup.

However, if you bundle free credits for meeting rooms in their membership plan, they’ll be more willing to book and use a meeting room, as they won’t need to pay additionally for it.

At the end of the day, they do pay for it, but it’s the psychological aspect that’s important here.

Think about (discounted) prepaid credit bundles

Offer bundles of credits and give them at a lower price if people prepay for them.

It’s a win-win situation – your members receive a discount, you get a commitment for another 5 hours, for example.

improve-meeting-rooms-usage-bundles

Add discounts based on booking length

A great thing to do is to lower the price rate for longer bookings. An example structure would be to provide members with discounts for half-day bookings, full-day bookings, etc.

Of course, such flexibility will add some additional complexity to your everyday operations. You can eliminate such complexity with the help of Meeting Room Management solutions such as OfficeRnD.

improve-meeting-rooms-usage-discounts

Improving the usage of free meeting rooms

Free meeting rooms for coworking members are widely popular in coworking spaces for various reasons.

It might be that your space is located in the suburbs of bigger and smaller cities and is not exposed to huge business traffic, so your members would usually have regular internal meetings (and making them paid will just be an inconvenience for them).

Or you might be focusing on memberships and increasing the amount of time a team or a member stays with you, and bundling in a free meeting room is a key differentiator.

But when members do not pay additionally for using a meeting room, there’s often a difference between what’s been booked and what’s been actually used.

How’s “booked” different from “used”?

improve-meeting-room-usageSometimes people book a meeting room but eventually don’t show up. Such ghost bookings can be very expensive for your coworking space. Another scenario you would like to avoid is rooms that aren’t used at their full capacity or are used for a shorter period than was actually booked.

Once you build a certain customer base, monitoring that on your own will be too much overhead, so you might think about turning to technology for help.

Make sure that the solution you pick has an easy to handle process both for you and your members – for example, allowing them to self-service themselves and control their bookings. Here are some ideas you could consider:

Member check-in to confirm a booking

This can be achieved with a tablet or a dashboard located at the entrance of a meeting room. If no one checks in 15 minutes, the app will automatically remove the booking from the system, so other members can use the room.

Notifications and reminders

Use some kind of push notifications/reminder to the mobile app, which pings members before the meeting. Sometimes people forget to remove a booking when their meeting has been canceled. Sending them a push notification right before the booking with an easy way to cancel it is a possible approach.

Take advantage of IoT

Installing beacons in your meeting rooms which track movement, for example, is a good way to track what’s the actual usage of your meeting rooms (not only if people come, but how long they actually stay there).

Again the same logic can apply here if you connect such beacons with your booking software – it can automatically delete a booking if no one shows up in 15 minutes.

Conclusion

Meeting rooms are one of the most important assets of your coworking space, regardless if you require people to pay for them or you offer them for free. But to make the most of them, effort should be invested in maximizing their usage.

It’s important to have the right data. This will give you valuable insights into how well your meeting rooms are currently performing, which will help you understand where to focus efforts to improve their usage, member satisfaction and eventually – your revenue.

marketing coworking space meeting rooms

6 Tips on How To Market Your Coworking Space Meeting Rooms

7 min read

Meeting rooms in your coworking space are not only a necessity but also the second largest revenue stream after rent!

After you’ve planned how much and what types to have in your space, it’s important to know that, if well marketed, meeting rooms can increase your coworking space’s income.

marketing coworking space meeting rooms income streams

Credits: Cushman & Wakefield’s Coworking 2018 report

To successfully market your coworking space’s meeting rooms it’s crucial to invest efforts in several areas – from digital marketing to presentation, to maintenance, to promotion…the list goes on.

In this blog post, we’ll cover 6 points that will help you attract more customers to your meeting rooms.

But first, there’s an important distinction we want to make: your promotional efforts should be different if you’re focusing on people which are part of your community, or people outside of it.

Marketing meeting rooms to your coworking members require fewer efforts as you’ve basically succeeded in the main challenge – you’ve brought these people to your space and they are already using them.

Tracking and improving the usage of meeting rooms in your coworking space is a good way to encourage bookings and improve members satisfaction. You can add meeting room credits to membership plans, or offer discounts on conference rooms to virtual members. Also, it’s important to remove any friction from the process of booking, accessing and utilizing.

Marketing to the public is a challenge and it requires plenty of efforts. Here are our top 6 tips:

1/ Take advantage of marketplaces

Marketplaces like DaVinci, Liquid Space, and Meetingrooms allow you to reach more people than by relying solely on your own channels.

These websites generate tons of traffic on a daily basis so they can connect you with lots of potential customers.

They have filters like location, capacity, amenities, etc, so people can get results that match their needs.

The presentation here’s important. Make sure you’ve included enough information so people can understand what you offer, and photos, so you can stand out among all others on the list.

2/ Optimize your website for search engines AND people!

marketing coworking website

The majority of people will initially reach you via your website.

So, how do you make sure it’s easily discoverable?

In its core, this consists of optimizing your website so it appears when people search for specific keywords and phrases (e.g. “meeting rooms”). Here are a few tips:

Follow the general SEO practices

Working on your page content, page speed, URLs, meta descriptions, etc is the foundation. Here’s a good article giving a brief explanation (and a nice video included) on the SEO essentials it’s good to focus on.

📍 Bonus tip: Focusing on local SEO is an awesome idea, as web searches for meeting rooms in almost all cases include a specific location like “meeting rooms in London”.

We’re not diving into this specifically in this post, but here’s a good guide on what local SEO is and how to take advantage of it.

Use content to boost your SEO

There are several reasons to invest time in creating a content strategy like reaching your target groups and driving traffic to your website.

Blogs are just one of the tools that can do that job. Tips, how-tos and any other information that’s useful for the people you want to attract to your space have a great impact not only on optimizing for search engines but on your overall brand reputation.

Make your website mobile friendly

marketing coworking website

We spend a significant time on our mobile devices, so the chances people will visit your website from their smartphone are high. Mobile friendly websites are ranked higher by Google and provide visitors with a better experience while browsing.

Besides for search engines, optimize for people!

Include on your website all the information a potential customer would need to make a decision. After all, if they don’t know what you sell, they’ll won’t buy.

Make sure to include location, rates, meeting facilities, room capacity, even parking/public transport instructions! If you offer additional services or amenities, make sure to point that out.

3/ Make meeting rooms easily bookable through your website

Your potential customers will probably have the following digital journey:

Search in Google → Come to your website → Receive enough information → Make a decision to book a meeting room

Eliminating any friction in the booking process is key to increase chances people will eventually book. Make booking easy, intuitive and quick!

It’s a good idea to make bookings possible at any time. Sometimes people need to book a meeting room urgently or it’s late in the evening and they need a room for the next morning.

A good way to achieve this is to expose the live availability of your meeting rooms to the public and allow people to directly make a booking.

You can do that with a number of scheduling tools, including OfficRnD’s meeting rooms management component (example screenshot below).

coworking meeting rooms booking software

4/ Present your meeting rooms interactively

The famous quote “A picture is worth a thousand words” totally applies here!

The idea here is to give a detailed presentation of your meeting rooms, so people can get a better and more complete feeling of them while browsing your online images.

Make sure you have great, high-quality photos. Hiring a professional photographer is a good idea. He/she will know how to capture the space from the right angle, with the proper lighting.

The more interactive you go, the better. Think about making 360°photos, videos or virtual tours. They require more money and efforts, but they are totally worth it because they present your meeting rooms in necessary detail.

📍Bonus tip: Including people in the photos/videos will create a better, more human feeling when your website visitors browse your gallery.

5/ Treat meeting rooms as a separate service

marketing coworking space meeting rooms

Provide exceptional service

Everything from cleanliness, to amenities, to properly working multimedia/ventilation! You don’t want to ruin a business meeting because of a lost HDMI cable or broken AC during a heatwave.

Listen to people and respond to their needs.

Maybe a need for soft drinks has popped up in the last minute. Or they’ll need an additional flipchart. Let people know they can reach out to you if they need something.

Even if they need a service that you don’t usually provide, it’s still worth it to go the extra mile. Probably it’ll be much easier for you than for them to organize their catering (as you probably know good suppliers from different events you’ve hosted). People will appreciate that gesture.

Take it personally.

Make sure to welcome your external guests when they arrive or pre-arrange access if they’re using your space after hours.

They don’t know your space so make sure they know which areas they have access to, and how to find things like the kitchen or bathrooms.

It’s also handy to be clear they know if they do or don’t have access to the community tea/coffee/snacks.

📍Bonus tip: Get to know the people who are coming to your meeting rooms. A quick chat with them about who they are and what they do is always a good way to learn how you can help each other in the future.

6/ Public events, promotions and pro-bono

marketing coworking space meeting rooms

The more people come to your meeting rooms, the bigger the chance they’ll think of you when their next meeting/event is coming up. Hosting public events can help you a lot!

Think about what kind of event your target audience would be interested in and organize them.

Giving discounts to people/professional organizations or even offering a room for free sometimes is another good way to promote your meeting rooms or just a great way to help out a local organization.

Conclusion

Meeting rooms and event spaces are a great way to increase revenue and have new people coming into your space. Treat your conference rooms like the asset they are!

Have you tried any of the approaches mentioned above? Share with us in the comments!

meeting rooms

How to Plan Your Coworking Space Meeting Rooms

7 min read

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. Eventually, you’d also like to track and improve their usage so you can make the most out of them.

Let’s take a look at how location and audience impact your choice of meeting rooms:

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

business-traffic-meeting-rooms

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 they’ll need a quiet place to sit for a few hours or a meeting room to meet with a business associate is huge. It’s good to think on how to market your meeting rooms so you can attract those people.

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

coworking audience 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

Informal meeting room in a coworking space

Credits to Campus X – an awesome coworking space and tech incubator where part of the OfficeRnD team is located.

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

formal meeting rooms

Credits to Campus X – an awesome coworking space and tech incubator where part of the OfficeRnD team is located.

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.

Boardrooms

boardrooms

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.

Conclusion

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!

4 Pillars of Successful Coworking Spaces

6 min read

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.


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Corporate Turns Coworking – Campus X & OfficeRnD

4 min read

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

5 min read

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 coworking management software of choice.

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 improve your sales results by “converting” more of the people that noticed you to prospects that are knocking on your door for a tour.

You need great content and visuals that are laid out well in a logical way that conveys the benefits of joining your space. Easier said than done.

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

  • It should be modern, beautiful and sleek.
  • It should be easy for you to write and edit content.
  • It should be easily extendable with themes, plugins, and widgets.
  • It should be built with a standard technology/solution that is 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 CMSs (Content Management Systems) are always better (such as WordPress and Squarespace).
  • Custom (not-standard) CMSs have many flaws such as: hard to maintain, lack of extensibility and lack of general adoptions/knowledge.
  • Custom built websites ‘from scratch’ are also not a good option. 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 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, to 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 for a coworking space is to either choose a website builder such as Wix (if you don’t have basic technical knowledge) or choose a standard CMS system such as WordPress (if you have the technical knowledge to implement it).

officernd

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

Coworking 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 should be modern, beautiful and sleek.
  • Great UX – It should be easy to use.
  • White-labeled – It highlights your brand and not the vendor brand.
  • Useful/Feature-rich – It is “your product” after all.
  • Connected – It should be connected to your marketing website and coworking management software.
  • Internal – SEO is not needed.

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

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

Home-domain – yourbrand.com – Your Marketing Website

The main/marketing website is located at 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 emphasis is on Design, Content, SEO and the ability to extend it and change it frequently.

Sub-domain – 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 for doing this 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 that they serve different purposes.

portal

An example internal/members portal (web application).

Connecting your Marketing Website with your Members 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 in the Marketing website leading to the Members Portal:
    • Member login – existing members will (almost) always go through your Marketing Website to get to the Members Portal
    • Member signup – your Members Portal should have a public sign-up available to allow a frictionless (and automated) way for prospects members to become part of your community.
    • Meeting room calendar – another great way to capture leads and utilize your space better. Make sure your Members Portal can expose real-time availability of meeting rooms and allow “drop-ins” to book a meeting room with a few clicks.
  • Marketing Pages showing data from the Members Portal:
    • Events page – events are key to improving engagement in your community. Making them easy to spot and exposing them to people outside of your community can bring a ton of benefits.
    • Members wall – your community is one of your top differentiators as a coworking business. Having an up-to-date list of members on your marketing website will help with improving sales AND improving member visibility in general.
  • Bonus: Connecting your Marketing Website with your Coworking Management Software – adding an inquiry form to your marketing website (i.e. book a tour form) that is connected to your coworking software can help you save time when dealing with sales. Best case scenario, every time a form is filled in, an opportunity/deal will be created in your coworking management software, so you can keep track of them and follow up promptly.

Here’s a diagram that illustrates the connections described above:

signup

Conclusion

Building the web presence of your coworking space is not an easy task. But if you do it right and manage to connect all the moving parts, you’ll have the foundation that will allow you to focus on building a successful coworking community and growing your business.

Payment Gateways for Coworking – Cardconnect

4 min read

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

4 min read

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