Although every coworking space is unique, the most successful spaces share a few common elements.
After speaking to hundreds of coworking owners and operators, we’ve seen what makes a good coworking space great, and we’re here to share this knowledge with you.
In this article, we’ll show you the ten essential elements of every successful coworking space. After learning what every top-tier coworking space should have, you’ll be able to take that knowledge and apply it to your own flexible workspace to transform your business.
What should a coworking space have?
Below are ten hard and soft qualities that we believe every coworking space should have, listed in the order of implementation.
💡 A great leader
Flexible workspace owners and operators are the connectors of the world.
They enjoy bringing people together and creating opportunities for people to connect with one another across a variety of settings. This propensity for connectivity often translates well into leadership skills.
One study from Harvard Business Review identified ten qualities that every leader should have, based on a survey administered to top leaders around the world. Those qualities were organized into the following themes:
- Demonstrates strong ethics and provides a sense of safety
- Empowers others to self-organize
- Fosters a sense of connection and belonging
- Shows openness to new ideas and fosters organizational learning
- Nurtures growth
Consider these qualities and how you can better channel them in your professional life. Remember, you create the culture of your coworking space – behind every great coworking space is a great leader.
💡 A clear mission
A strong leader needs something to rally their team behind. This is where a shared mission or set of values comes into play.
Some people hear the word “mission” and think it needs to be something grandiose or overly aspirational. However, a simple mission can be equally as impactful as something more complex.
Just take a look at the mission statement of some of the most recognizable brands in the world:
- Walmart: We save people money so they can live better
- Sony: To be a company that inspires and fulfills your creativity
- TED: To spread ideas
The scale of your mission statement doesn’t matter. What’s important is aligning on something that resonates with you, and then communicating it in a meaningful way with your members and market.
The mission of a coworking space may be to bring people together, support small business owners, or provide childcare to working parents.
Answering the question of why you’re starting a coworking space and who you’re hoping to serve can help you parse out a statement for your space.
💡 A key differentiator
A coworking space is a business, and every successful business has something that sets them apart.
Consumers are faced with a multitude of choices these days. It can be difficult for the average person to determine what makes your coworking space different from the seven others in your city.
That’s why you need a strong differentiator that can be communicated everywhere in your market. The strongest differentiators are those that go beyond just offering events or free coffee for members.
Instead, think about things like:
- Offering on-site childcare for working parents
- Creating a women’s-only space
- Donating a portion of your revenue to local charities
- Offering incubator services to tech start-ups
Align your key differentiator with your mission statement and who you’re hoping to serve.
💡 A strong brand
A clear mission and a key differentiator are two important components of a coworking brand.
Brand is defined as “an intangible marketing or business concept that helps people identify a company, product, or individual”. One way to think about it is brand is the feeling you have when you think of a company.
A common misunderstanding is that a brand is just aesthetic, like a logo or your website design. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Your brand is everything about your business, from the way you make your members feel to the events you host in your coworking space. Therefore, the key to strengthening your brand is to provide a consistent experience across all channels.
- Design: an impeccable design that reflects your mission and speaks to your target market
- Marketing: a marketing strategy that aligns with what you value
- Culture: a culture that is indicative of how you feel about your community
- Member experience: a member experience that places value on your community
By paying attention to these elements, you can begin to create a memorable coworking brand from the moment you open your doors.
💡 A delightful user experience
The modern workplace needs to be focused on the experience of the users.
The problem is, most workspace operators view experience as something to think about at the end, when in fact, the user experience is a journey.
You need to think about the user experience, or the experience that your members have in your space, from the very beginning.
- Start with the areas that are most important to your members: Think about what your members care most about, or the areas of your business that are most frequented by your members. This could be payments, check-ins, or onboarding.
- Determine how you can best serve them there: Brainstorm ways that you can provide your members with the absolute best experience in that specific area. What does a seamless check-in experience look like? How can you make payments easier?
- Use this as a jumping off point to the rest of your strategy: Create a plan to address these high-traffic touch points and create a wonderful experience from beginning to end.
A wonderful user experience is about creating something delightful, memorable, and impactful from beginning to end. Think about how to make every step of the user experience as wonderful as possible, and implement it to the best of your ability.
💡 A powerful technology stack
The modern coworking space needs technology. Every top coworking company, from the big names to the mom and pop shops, run their space with the help of technology.
Great technology opens up so many opportunities when it comes to running and growing your coworking business as well as helping you execute on the above point – creating that delightful user experience. It can help you:
- Manage your operations with minimal overhead
- Measure your space usage so you can make more informed decisions
- Grow your business with the help of automation
- Elevate the experience of your users
If you’re looking to scale your business one day without necessarily scaling your costs, then technology is an absolute necessity. The earlier you can get it implemented in your space, the sooner it can start providing value and the less you’ll have to worry about migrating your members to a new technology down the road.
Learn more about how we suggest setting up your coworking technology ecosystem in this helpful guide, or talk to a member of our team today.
💡 A truly flexible workspace
Creating a coworking space or flexible workplace is an art and a science. Something that every great coworking company has is true flexibility.
This means a space that:
- Is accessible 24/7
- Has membership options that fit the varied needs of members
- Is automated and digital
- Is set up with a variety of different seating options
Creating a flexible workspace means you are putting the needs of your members first. You are providing them with options and modifying your business to fit their needs.
People want a coworking space that will fit their lifestyle, rather than the other way around. An easy way to do this is to be flexible in the services you provide, the memberships you offer, and the way you enable people to access your space and services.
💡 A connected community
Attracting members to your coworking space is not enough – you need to be able to keep them, too. One strategy for retaining members is to create a true sense of community.
Time and time again, we see the most successful independent coworking spaces have a strong sense of community. They are tied together by common interests and they receive value from each other when they come together.
Cultivating community begins with many of the foundational elements we’ve already talked about like presenting a clear mission statement and creating a delightful experience for your members.
There are a few other tactics we commonly see operators use to create community:
- Hosting regular events
- Creating networking opportunities between members
- Using technology to take your community online
Community is central to the coworking experience, with many members choosing coworking spaces specifically for that sense of community. Keep this in mind when building a connected space.
💡 A plan to grow
The best business owners are always forward-thinking. They are able to do what they need to do now in order to set themselves up for long-term success.
All of the best coworking spaces that we’ve seen have a plan to grow. Whether that’s a concrete expansion plan or just a general idea of where they’re headed, they’re always thinking about where they want to be and what they need to get there one day.
Create the best experience that you can today, but don’t forget about the future. Have an understanding of how your business can expand one day and grow into something really special.
💡 A fantastic team
You can do everything listed above, but you can’t do it alone.
The best coworking spaces all have a fantastic team of people behind them. These people are passionate, dedicated, enthusiastic, and 100% committed to creating something truly special for the people that walk through their doors.
Creating a fantastic team begins with you. Here are some best practices for hiring your coworking staff:
- Write detailed and accurate job descriptions
- Post jobs on prominent platforms and promote them to attract the best talent
- Build a great candidate interview process
- Use technology to enhance the experience, but solidify it with face-to-face interactions
Hiring a wonderful team is an exciting first step in developing strong company culture. Check out this guide for more information on how to hire an amazing coworking community manager.
The best coworking spaces all have 10 things in common
Creating an unforgettable coworking experience comes down to setting the foundation in your space.
Things like fostering a connected community, creating a great user experience across every touchpoint, and building a recognizable brand all contribute significantly to creating a wonderful coworking space for your members.
Learn more about creating an impactful coworking space in our guides below –