Consider we’re more than a year into quarantine and add the rollout of vaccines, and you can see why people are itching to escape the confines of their homes—especially if they’re restricted to smaller living quarters. While some companies have made the push to return to an office environment, a Gallup survey found that 56% of U.S. employees work remotely all or part of the time. And 23% of all workers would stay remote, if given the option. Offering a dedicated coworking space in your community allows a taste of social interaction and freedom, not only attracting and fostering resident loyalty but increasing revenue as well.
6 Essential Factors for a Community Coworking Space
If you are considering offering a coworking space in your community, here are six essential factors to keep in mind.
Private and Communal Areas
A functional coworking space should include both communal areas where residents can socialize and collaborate on ideas as well as private, quiet spaces. Many remote workers require defined spaces where they can make calls and work without distraction. Variety is important, so if your space allows, provide a meeting room and a lounge area with soft seating, cushions, coffee tables, and rugs where residents can either relax or catch up on emails. Don’t forget the all-important décor, such as artwork and greenery, to make sure the space is as warm and inviting as possible.
Any coworking area must have reliable, high-speed internet access. A report from the National Multifamily Housing Council and Kingsley Associates found that 69% of residents consider community Wi-Fi very important. Your coworking space is dedicated to offering residents a comfortable, alternative workspace, so getting the technology right is paramount. Include ample power sources and USB ports, as well as an office-grade printer/scanner combo.
The ultimate coworking space will feature a high degree of natural light. If you can include windows in the space design, residents will benefit from increased productivity and a better disposition. Also, add a mix of light sources, such as overhead and small-task lighting that can be adjusted. Even without the availability of natural light, if your lighting is excellent, the space will work.
No coworking space is complete without access to refreshments. This can be as simple as providing a coffee and tea area and a small refrigerator stocked with water and a variety of healthy snacks. Urge residents to help themselves but provide gentle reminders to keep things tidy and encourage them to clean up, so that everyone can enjoy the space equally.
The winning element of your community coworking space’s success? The right furniture. Provide a variety of working furniture including ergonomic chairs, round tables, and modular and sit-to-stand desks. Coworking spaces require furniture that is comfortable, functional, and attractive.
Rather than investing in the purchase of office furniture, consider renting. This will enable you to adjust your furniture needs as the coworking space evolves and eliminate a large cash outlay for quality items required to support your working residents.
A dedicated coworking space may not be feasible for every community property. The most basic needs—such as tables, chairs, and Wi-Fi—can still be set up in a common room, lounge, café, or even a basement area. The trend toward mixed-use in today’s community designs is becoming increasingly common, with a goal of accommodating a multitude of resident needs in a variety of spaces. Think creatively!
Developing a well-equipped, attractive coworking space within your community will not only be appreciated by residents—it can directly affect your bottom line, too. Offering memberships to non-residents can result in incremental revenues and increased lease-ups from members who decide your community is the place to live.