What’s Wrong with Coworking Software

And what we’re doing about it.

Coworking Europe Conference 2017, Dublin – one of the unconference topics was ‘What’s wrong with the coworking software?’ – hosted by Hector Kolonas from included.co.

‘It’s over-complicated, not integrated and really not good enough.’ said the crowd.

It’s true and of course, there’s a range of reasons for it.

Software Needs Big Investment

Building software is the best but also, the worst thing you can do. It’s expensive. It’s very expensive. It’s more expensive than you can imagine. Why’s that? Because software engineers are very expensive. Then you need to document it, you need to support it, you need to ensure its high quality, you need to extend it. Yes, the more you add, the more your users will demand. Building software is a never-ending process. If it ends and you stop pouring money into it, then it’s dead.

Coworking as a business used to be small, niche market. Which resulted in been unattractive to software companies, investors, and tech startups. So the first coworking management tools had to deal with it by themselves with the resources they have.

On the other side, you have sophisticated users – the coworking manager. People, who are used to work with advanced, professional tools built by big software companies and startups, such as Slack, Xero, QuickBooks, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Intercom, and so on. The standard for Software is higher than ever. We all have big expectations and little patience and tolerance because we’re used to using great software. But behind these great software solutions, there are big companies with hundreds of engineers, support, QAs working on them and millions of dollars in investment.

That’s why we raised $1M. You can’t build great software with 2 engineers sitting in their coworking space.

Lack of Product and UX Vision

Some of the first coworking management solutions were built with a complete lack of product and user experience vision. In today’s world, UX is key. If the software looks bad, feels out-dated and is hard to use, there’s no way to be successful, of course. As mentioned, users have very high expectations for software and the user experience is one of the first bits that all of us see.

That’s why, we emphasize the user experience, both for managers and members. 
Software Development - How it works

Lack of Speed

Others are too slow. They have a vision and drive their product well, considering the user interface and the user experience but they have no speed. The coworking management solutions are very complicated platforms. It’s a business critical type of software – ERP as it’s known in the traditional business world, or PMS in the Hotels world. It is a HUGE piece of software. The amount of functionality, integrations, and reliability that’s required is massive. In order, to build a great coworking management software you need speed. You need speed and dedication from your product development team.

That’s why we invest all resources in Product Development. We release new functionality and updates weekly and the number of changes is great. Check out our Release history.

Lack of Good Support and Integrity

In order to provide a great software solution, you have to start with good support and a great team. You need people that actually care about others and care about the industry. People with high emotional intelligence who are willing to sacrifice their comfort for their customers. Something that is key and is the ethos of Coworking – members and customers comfort is first.

Building great software also requires integrity which is not present in some of the vendors. One of our competitors tried to hack us. Others are using nasty marketing techniques and paid Google ads containing ‘OfficeR&D’ to get you to their misleading comparison pages. Not sure if this will bring them any good opportunities. I’m only sure that investing in their product will bring more value to their customers.

Being nice usually helps. Having integrity also helps to build better software. We invest a lot in our team and the quality of support that we provide. 

We know what’s wrong with the Coworking software and we know how to solve it. We truly believe that investing more in our team and our product will take us a long way. We have a vision, we have a great team and amazing customers, we secured good investment, and we move fast. In a year or two, the coworking and flexible workspace management software will be different. We will make it different.

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.

Optimizing Workflow in the Office (Infographic)

This post was originally published on Online Course Report website.

We’ve all experienced the state of flow at one point or another. Time seems to stand still, and there’s only one thing in the entire world: your project. At other times you might have spent days trying to chug through what you’ve accomplished in one sitting. Your stomach growls and you realize it’s already lunch. But if you’re like most of the workforce, this state only occurs sporadically.

Luckily, we now have a solid body of research that details the do’s and don’ts of achieving flow. Check out some of the basics below…

optimizing-workflow-IG

Optimizing Workflow and Productivity in the Office

We’ve all been there. It’s a busy day at work: emails flying, bosses checking in, meetings to attend, phones ringing off the hook; on top of work-related instant messages, personal instant messages, personal text messages, tweets, Facebook updates, etc., etc.

The average worker experiences an interruption every 3 minutes. It typically takes 23 minutes to return the original task.That means you’re progressively falling more and more behind. Every day.

Time working/Time spent recovering from working/Total time:

  • 3 mins/23 mins/26 mins
  • 6 mins/46 mins/52 mins
  • 9 mins/1 hour 9 mins/1 hour 18 mins
  • 12 mins/1 hour 32 mins/1 hour 44 mins
  • 15 mins/1 hour 55 mins/2 hours 10 mins

Sound familiar? At this rate you’ll have spent less than 30 minutes on the project you’re trying to focus on by lunch. In fact, recent research suggests the average worker only works 3 days a week – or about 1.5 hours a day.

74% of businesses report taking at least one measure to minimize office distractions and optimize workflow. Let’s examine some effective strategies.

Cancel All Your Meetings

Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.” — Dr. John Kenneth GilbraithMany tend to agree.Percent who believe meetings are a time-waste:

  • 40% Employees
  • 30% Managers
  • 25-50% Executives
  • 70% of employees say meetings don’t help them complete work.
  • 67% of employees say they spend up to 4 hours per week preparing for status update meetings.
  • 45% of senior executives say their employees would be more productive without meetings.
  • But only 16% of companies report reducing workplace meetings. We’ve become excellent at pretending to get stuff done, and increasingly awful at actually doing so.

Get Rid of the “Multi-Task” Ethic

The science is out: there is no such thing as multi-tasking. The more apt term is task-switching, and it’s shockingly ineffective – to the tune of a 40% decline in productivity. Workers attempting to juggle set tasks with emails or phone calls literally become dumber, suffering a 10-point IQ drop. That’s the equivalent of missing an entire night’s sleep, and twice the effect of smoking marijuana. In fact, with the rate of errors you’ll make interrupting workflow, multi-tasking quickly becomes not just unproductive, but counterproductive.

Interruption Duration / Error Rate of Task:

  • 3 seconds / double
  • 4.5 seconds / triple

The good news is that, with a healthy dose of self-discipline and good habits, we can retrain ourselves to focus on the task at hand. Some Easy Methods:

  1. Turn off – or at least silence – your cell phone. Just do it.
  2. 2) Avoid chatty, back-and-forth internal emails. Use a work phone or visit in-person.
  3. 3) Make a simple, accomplishable to-do list. 3 items a day.
  4. 4) Prioritize on-the-go. If the task is non-emergency and not on your to-do list, make a note and return to it later.
  5. 5) Learn to say no – or at least not right now. If it can wait, make it wait.==Let Workers Determine their

Workspace

Never overlook the importance of the physical work environment. Whether your office is open space, cubicled, or a hybrid, what ultimately matters most is worker empowerment.

Worker-Empowered Offices Promote Personalized:

  • Work spaces
  • Office decor
  • Common areasScience Shows Worker-Empowered Offices Enhance:
  • Business Morale
  • Productivity
  • Well-Being

Once you’ve been given the keys to the office, consider these additional tips.

Productivity Increasers

  • Rounded furniture
  • Green, blue, and red colors
  • Natural light
  • Plants
  • Outdoor views
  • Healthy snacks
  • Personal photos or pictures
  • Ergonomic desk chair/standing desk

Finally: Take a Break!

Scheduled, disciplined breaks are different – and much more productive – than unscheduled interruptions and distractions. A 30-second mini-break can increase productivity 13%. A 15-second break from staring at your computer reduces fatigue by 50%. And if you can get away with it, a 40-minute nap increases alertness by 34%.

Breaks Help Us To:

  • Reduce boredom
  • Retain information
  • Re-evaluate goals
  • Improve self-control
  • Generate new ideas
  • Re-energize

Your workflow is ultimately just that – yours. Find what suits you, and stick with it until you discover something even better. For now, get back to work!

Workspace that works for you

The tech and creative industry is booming. In the last five years, the tech sector has experienced a surge in employment with 24,500 new jobs created in Central London, which holds huge implications for the capital’s office market. This development has led to an evolution in office management, as occupiers look to use their space in different ways to stimulate productivity, support staff wellbeing, and promote collaboration.

For the last 3 months we had the opportunity to meet with dozens of managers of flexible office spaces. Based on our experience, we truly believe that flexible offices are here to stay and grow.

Here are some of the key elements that tech and creative companies prioritize in their workspaces.

Flexibility

The volatile nature of the tech industry means that it can be difficult for companies to plan ahead, especially for start-ups and SMEs. As a result, occupiers will usually seek short-term leases with an early break clause. Space commitments can change drastically within a short space of time due to the rapid growth potential within the tech sector. Occupiers will seek spillover space where possible, in which they can expand into to avoid incurring the added cost of relocation.

eOffice

“Workspaces that work for you.” eOffice provides inspiring, flexible workspaces and services in 200 locations around the world.

Collaboration

Collaboration is at the heart of creative industries and central to their office culture. Particularly for start-ups and SMEs, collaboration between like-minded individuals and companies is a major driver for growth. As such, we have witnessed the emergence of coworking and incubator spaces such as TechHub, Bathtub 2 Boardroom, Edspace and Second Home.

Bathtub 2 Boardroom

Need a supportive home for your business? Welcome to the tub!

Quality

As property costs soar, employers are increasingly prioritising quality over quantity when it comes to the workplace. Rather than taking on the cost of relocating to larger offices, tech and creative companies look to use their existing space more efficiently. By seeking ‘spaceless growth’, they focus on enhancing the quality of the space they already occupy.

Headspace

“We provide a modern, flexible, design-led space for young and ambitious businesses”

Wellbeing

The wellbeing of employees is crucial to attracting and retaining the best talent, and increasing productivity at work. The most progressive workplaces offer a variety of both formal and informal settings. For instance, a mix of collaborative and quiet spaces cater to diverse types of work and personalities. These employers also consider employee satisfaction outside the immediate work environment, and offer access to refreshments, exercise, and relaxation to stimulate both physical and mental wellbeing.

i2Office

‘Tomorrows office today’

Brand identity

Many tech and creative companies use their workspace to communicate the values and culture of their brand. A unique space can both attract your next generation of employees and inspire your current ones. As offices increasingly serve as a focal point for face-to-face interaction between staff and clients, a distinctive workplace can help project a positive brand image.

Second Home is the place where entrepreneurs and creative businesses come together, in the pursuit of great work

Second Home is the place where entrepreneurs and creative businesses come together, in the pursuit of great work

The flexible, serviced offices provide all the benefits that the modern, dynamic companies are looking for. That’s why we believe they will grow and thrive even more in the near future.

Office Management 2.0

Change to the office requires change in the way we approach Office Management. OfficeR&D is a new platform that embraces these changes in office spaces. We help Managers of Flexible offices ‘Understand their space and make it better’.  We put the floorplan in the centre of office management and enable managers to build information layers on top of it.

We connect the space with the zones and moods, current availability, profitability, and the members of the office. That way the manager can make the space:

  • Flexible & Efficient
  • Collaborative Communicative
  • Productive & Creative

OfficeR&D Occupancy

Please let us know if you would like to see OfficeR&D in action by writing to us at info@officernd.com. Your feedback and comments are always more than welcome.