by Roxette Miranda, Workspace Specialist for WUN who works in the Miami Office. WUN is an industry leader in providing a complete package for software, data, internet, voice, as well as 24/7 door access for Coworking and shared spaces. Currently, she works with several locations and has a passion to keep to her Latin American roots by collaborating with spaces there as well as all over the world. This year she was on the host committee for GWA.
Roxette makes sure that anyone new to Coworking are welcomed in a way that has become customary in her culture.
I had the pleasure of speaking with two notable figures of the ABCN and shared workspace community: Willie Gutierrez, Premier Business Centers, and Karen A. Condi, Office Suite Strategies–a company with experience in consulting services for opening, acquiring, developing, and managing serviced workspaces throughout the United States.
Both Gutierrez and Condi have ample (and proven) experience when it comes to best practices and strategies for workspace growth and sustainability. During our conversation we addressed issues such as space buildout, investment strategies, and how current members can help you drive new memberships.
Below you will find 3 key operational strategies to focus on. For a full-detailed version of our conversation, download WUN’s ebook, Overcoming Operational Challenges in Coworking.
1. Learn the “Flow” Of Your Office Space
Beyond understanding the percentage of private vs. open space, it’s important to envision how you want your space to interact with your members.
“Density is key,” says Condi. While having the right balance of open, private, and breakout space is a great start, the next step is to understand where your members move around the most. Overlooking this aspect could lead to poor workspace design with decorations that intrude and make the space feel cramped. Additionally, if any particular area of your space is too crowded or overused, it can also affect your Wi-Fi signal and overall connectivity.
Finding the right balance and layout for your space will greatly contribute to the overall ‘feel and flow’ of your workspace; and it will drive members to naturally engage and interact with one another.
2. Give Your Community Manager a Chance
Community managers are key players in the success of a shared workspace. Most of the time, they are the ‘face’ of the brand, the ones that coordinate the rest of the staff, and the ones that are constantly engaging and taking care of your members.
Gutierrez believes that “community managers can make or break the business.” The right community manager will increase the number of memberships, decrease the churn rate, and increase profitability and revenue. Keep in mind that not everyone is cut out to be a community manager; it is a demanding role that requires individuals to wear various hats: hospitality, concierge, friend, consultant, marketer, and host.
3. Beyond The Startup Market
Although millennials continue to drive new trends in the workplace, Condi believes that shared workspace operators should look beyond freelancers and the startup market in order to grow their business. Although your workspace should be “designed and molded for today’s generation, it is important that you maintain a professional atmosphere that also speaks to and allures established companies and large corporations.”
On the topic of acquiring more members and catering to different markets, Gutierrez emphasized the importance of word of mouth recommendations. Deskmag’s 2017 annual global coworking survey found that word of mouth is the predominant method of attracting and closing in new members.
“They (members) can be your curators.” says Condi, “People view personal reviews as personal recommendations.”
In the end, it all comes down to understanding your target market. Only by doing so will you be able to create a workspace and environment that truly caters to their needs and allows them to work efficiently.