The right workplace amenities enhance the workplace experience, encouraging members to keep coming back.
Physical and mental wellness oriented amenities took the favorite prize this 2017
Industry veteran, Frank Cottle, shares why a truly professional staff is the best amenity any serviced workspace can have
What exactly about your coworking spaces makes members come back? In 2017, after speaking with workspace owners, operators, and community managers, Allwork.Space found out that the workplace experience was enhanced by amenities that nurtured individual’s mental and physical health.
In addition, industry veterans shared that amenities that improved productivity, fostered community and/or brought an element of fun were top picks for an optimal coworking experience. Here are the highlights.
1. Treats and eats. Shift Workspaces in Denver provides fresh and tasty treats made daily by their very own culinary concierge. At Bond Collective in Brooklyn, Fridays are for homemade chocolate chip cookies and catching up with coworkers in the kitchen. 7AY in Morocco hosts a weekly couscous/BBQ lunch.
Digital nomad and Allwork.Space contributor Robert Kropp appreciated the community building associated with the daily snack time at NGIN Workplace in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “Putting out food for members is 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,” he wrote.
Some snacks are healthier than others. Located in Fort Collins, Colorado, Coherekeeps a stocked PB&J bar, says Angel Kwiatkowski (to anyone outside the U.S., that’s a Peanut Butter and Jam sandwich bar), along with cookies, doughnuts and M&Ms.
2. Curated beverages. Strong-brewed, locally roasted coffee is a universal favorite in virtually all spaces. Some other spaces offer additional choices that members love, including Pluck Tea (The Village Hive in Ontario, Canada) and fresh juice blends (Primary, New York City). But the ultimate in awesomeness has to be the 4-flavor sparkling water machine at ECO-SYSTM Coworking in San Francisco. Former director of operations Meaghen Liebe provided us a photo and link to spread the love.
3. Desks that encourage movement. Members love the sit-to-stand desks atProximity Space Coworking in Colorado, reports Dennis Lankes. ECO-SYSTM’s treadmill desk is also a favorite at the San Francisco space.
4. Personal Care Services.Longing for somewhere to shower and change between meetings led former political consultant Audrey Gelman to co-found a women-only coworking space in New York City. Now expanding in major U.S. cities, The Wing offers the highly coveted shower along with blowouts on demand, lactation room, library, as well as standard work and meeting spaces.
Manicures and pedicures have been observed in coworking spaces, too.
5. Yoga Etc. Mindfulness practices are finding their way to coworking spaces as operators aim to create environments that help members find their “center” that will help them grow their business. At Primary,a wellness-focused coworking space in New York, members may partake of complimentary classes in fitness, yoga and meditation, as well as locker rooms, showers and even towel service without having to leave the workplace or pay out of pocket.
Morocco’s 7AYoffers classes for the body, mind and soul, including yoga, body balance classes, Spanish or Arabic lessons and Arabic calligraphy training sessions.
6. Climbing wall. For coworkers who seek to mix work with play, take active breaks, or want to challenge themselves physically as well as mentally, Brooklyn Boulders offers coworking space within its spacious climbing gyms in New York City, Boston and Chicago, each with varied levels.
7. Wellness rooms.A growing body of research has shown the benefits of a midday nap, and its benefits in bringing wellness and improved productivity to the workplace.
Members at Blankspaces in Los Angeles love the Zen meditation room that was converted from an empty office, according to owner Jerome Chang. Mark Valderrama notes the popularity of massage chairs and nap pods at Journey Coworking(formerly ATX Factory) in Austin.
Nap rooms are currently underway at the soon-to-open GoodWork in Dallas, reports cofounder Amy Margaret King.
8. Slipper station. What originated as a solution to minimize frequent mopping of wet floors on snowy Colorado days has emerged as a favorite member nicety, according to Angel Meakins Kwiatkowski, coworking consultant and founder of Cohere Coworking.
A shelf of slippers and rubber tray for wet boots deliver a homey sense of comfort on rainy and snowy days and a fun benefit that makes members feel special, says Kwiatkowski. “I’ve had several members say how much they like it. If they’re having a bad day when they come into Cohere they put on slippers and instantly feel better, more comfortable and happy with their lives. It makes their day better when the weather’s crappy.” Check out Angel’s how to video for specifics. Tip: Opt for gray over white space slippers available on Amazon in sets of 6 for about $30.
9. Life-planning + Vision board making for 2018. Business Design Centre, London hosted a Yoga + Manifestation Day where members engaged in deep meditation, yoga, blissful relaxation, 2018 life planning and vision board making. “As it was a FULL SUPER MOON, everyone wrote a list of things they wanted to release from their lives,” reported facilitator Lady Jay Diamond, who collected the lists and took them home to burn.
10. Daylight. The morning sun is most appreciated by members at SocialSpace Coworking in the Philippines, according to Richard E. Pulumbarit. No surprise, given that daylight has been found to be the number one wanted natural feature in the workplace. Based on the research findings, it’s easy to see why.
11. Outdoor space. The large yard and tall trees at The Village Hive in Ontario, Canada are a favorite with members, according to owner/operator Charlotte Kirby. In addition to numerous wellness classes at Primary, a coworking space focused on workplace wellbeing in New York, each location is filled with greenery; moss walls, fresh flowers and live planters throughout.
Among the most unique outdoor spaces is the nomadic tent atop 7AY in Morocco, which we wrote about earlier this year. Originally intended for quiet workspace, the rooftop retreat has grown into one of the most popular meeting spaces in the facility, according to founder Ilham Halib. Members can also partake of the rooftop vegetable garden and expansive views of the valley and the Bou Regreg River.
12. Dog park. Pets in the workplace bring many benefits according to USC research, inspiring highly stressed workers to pause, step back and take a mental break from intensive work.
Pets at the workplace help make workers happier, lower stress levels, and create a comfortable, flexible environment. Additionally, they can create camaraderie within the workplace and trigger interactions and spontaneous collisions that lead to new connections.
In turn, pet-friendly coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular as we reportedrecently. SyncLife Coworking in Dallas goes a step further by providing a dog park on the grounds of the former church, according toDaryn DeZengotita of Table Coworking. Members enjoy the opportunity to take a short walk and enjoy some playtime distraction.
In addition to amenities that support member wellness, we also heard about services that support productivity and growing a business that were much-appreciated by members.
13. Spare monitors. Squinting into a 13.3-inch MacBook screen is not a problem at Creative Density, Denver where monitors are available for plug-in throughout the space. “They are by far the most popular amenity,” reported owner Craig Baute.
“They certainly stay busy atde Kamer,” a network of coworking spaces in the Netherlands, agreed founder and manager Jeannine van der Linden.
14. Photo lab. The Food Loft, Boston, designed for individuals and companies focused on the food sector, maintains its own professional photo lab along with its mentor network. “Members are interested in a professional setting with the proper resources to produce high-quality photos of their product,” reported Hannah Martin, Manager of Community Development. Bond Collectivein Brooklyn offers a photo lab to members as well.
15. Podcast studio.Co-Munity in San Diego dedicated one of its private offices to podcasting based on member requests. After operating out of Launch Workplaces in Maryland for several years, Charlie Birney is about to open Podcast Village, a coworking space in Georgetown with broadcast studios, control room area, voiceover booth, editing bay and greenroom.
16. Childcare. Work and Play in Maplewood, New Jersey provides workspace, playspace and space rental for birthday parties, according to owner Deborah Winikoff Engel. Linda Liu told us about Rockzipfel and Colibri Coworking in Hamburg, Germany which offer babysitting services along with various kids’ activities, ranging from toys and playrooms to music lessons.
At the end of the day, however, the single most important (and oft overlooked) amenity in any center whether serviced office or coworking is a really professional staff,related Frank Cottle, chairman and founder of Alliance Business Centers .
“We are in a service industry, not an office or workstation-only industry. The centers that have the longest customer/member life cycles (an indicator of superior community management) are the ones with the most caring, well trained, consistent, and professional staff,” added Cottle, a 40-year veteran of the shared office industry.
“A great team is better than any meditation room, ping-pong table, or the best custom blended coffee on earth,” he emphasized.
“Community starts with the center team itself…and grows from there.”
Carolyn Cirillo is Research Lead of the Applied Insights + Knowledge Studio for MillerKnoll’s Workplace Experience Team, where she studies macro trends, the future of work and the impact of inspiring workplaces on the user experience and organizational outcomes. A native of Los Angeles now living in Brooklyn, she is passionate about adaptive reuse, urban living and modern design.