Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to experience life and work through various (30) coworking spaces throughout North America. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned during my coworking expedition it’s that no two spaces are alike.
So, you might be wondering, what exactly makes each workspace distinct and different from the other?
I’m sorry to inform that I don’t have a right answer for this. What I can tell you, however, is that a lot of things, both big and small, play into creating a unique and unforgettable experience.
Let me give you some examples.
Let’s say, can a basic amenity, such as coffee, be done in such a way that it becomes a differentiator for the coworking space?
My answer is a resounding yes.
The Best Coffee in any Coworking Space I have Visited
I’ve had my fair share of coffee over the course of my lifetime and the course of my coworking expedition. When it comes to the latter, I found that my absolute #1 favorite coffee was found at The Pearl District location of Centrl Office in Portland, Oregon. Not only did they have multiple options, but the community managers always kept the carafes fresh and hot.
You might be tempted to offer the cheaper, average joe coffee, but I strongly suggest against it. It’s what, in the end, drove me to go back to the same space while I was in Oregon. If you ask me, I believe that premium coffee or tea (for those non-coffee drinkers) is noticed, appreciated, and increases morale, which makes people eager to come back.
Bringing Back Snack Time
NGIN Workplace in Cambridge, Massachusetts had daily ‘snack times’ when they put out food for members. It’s actually an excellent and very efficient way to bring people together at set times (let’s face it, who doesn’t love free food?) and doing it at designated times was a way better approach than having a lot of food out on a table at random times or all day.
Why did I love this and why did I keep going back? Well, found that I met and engaged with more people this way than during events, and I always felt refreshed and energized afterwards.
Moving away from food and drinks, here’s a big factor that can make or break your space (in my humble opinion).
Full disclosure here, I am somewhat of an anti-commute type of person. Which means that to me, location is key.
One space that got their location right is Think Tank in Portland, Maine. Located on main street, Think Tank is a few minutes’ walk to local restaurants, bars, and events–which as a digital nomad I greatly appreciated as it gave me a real taste of the city. Additionally, the energy inside was amazing, it was always buzzing, and curious souls always seemed to stop by the window and check out what was happening inside.
Arguably, also, the location of a coworking space is the first amenity people experience. After all, if a person can’t find or get to your coworking space, does the coffee really even matter?