The Ultimate Guide to Coworking Phone Booths

Phone booths are an essential part of every coworking space. Here’s everything you need to know about phone booths in your space.
By Kelly K
May 15, 2022
Phone booths in coworking spaces

Designing the perfect coworking space is all about balancing your offerings.

It’s imperative to find the right mix of private offices, dedicated desks, and open space to drive revenue and entice your audience.

One offering that is growing in popularity? The phone booth. 

In this article, we’ll share with you everything you need to know about the coworking phone booth, including what it is and how to prevent the dreaded phone booth abuse.

What is a coworking phone booth?

A coworking phone booth is a dedicated space for individuals to take a call. 

There are no hard and fast rules for what is and isn’t considered a phone booth. However, the general guidelines for creating an effective phone space include:

  • Typically at least 10-15 sq ft
  • Comfortable to be in for longer periods of time
  • Sound-proof (or at least muted sound)
  • Includes a chair and/or a table

If you are just starting a coworking space, it is important that your space includes at least one dedicated phone area, if not more. We’ll go into the reasons why below.

Why are phone booths popular in coworking spaces?

There has always been a place for private phone rooms in shared spaces. However, their popularity has grown in recent years due to the rise of remote workers in coworking spaces.

Remote workers are flocking to coworking spaces in droves in search of a flexible office environment and a rich community of like-minded individuals. While they may not need a private office for the entire day, they certainly need a space to take a Zoom call or two.

Enter the phone booth.

Phone booths are the perfect place to take a call in confidence, without disrupting others in the space. And considering how disruptive noise in a workplace can be, it makes sense to have dedicated quiet spaces for people to take phone calls. 

This shift in the coworking demographic is leaving many operators with phone booths that fill up quickly. So if you’re just starting to design your space, consider having lots of areas for quiet phone calls right off the bat, depending on who it is you’re planning to serve.

Benefits of phone booths in coworking spaces

Benefits of Coworking Phone Booth

Every space operator understands the importance of meeting rooms. They provide a private space for people to take meetings and conduct important matters related to their jobs.

Phone booths do the same thing but on a smaller scale. Offering phone rooms to book in your space can help you:

  • Attract and retain members through a diversified offering
  • Support the mental health of those members needing a quiet space
  • Prevent frustration from other members being too noisy in the space
  • Drive additional revenue

Having a dedicated phone area or room can help you support the needs of your member base, contributing to overall well-being and satisfaction.

That’s why in the modern coworking environment, phone booths are non-negotiable.

Join our We Run Flex Community for Coworking and Flex Space Leaders 1

Types of phone booths

There are many different types of coworking phone booths, from converted closets to external office pods. We’ll break down each one below.

Converted den or closet

The traditional office phone booth typically resembles a converted den or micro office. It is about the size of a small closet and includes a glass door, a comfortable chair and perhaps a small table if space allows.

This is a good idea if:

  • Your space already has a closet or den that is being underutilized
  • You are just beginning your buildout and want to design these booths into your space

Because these types of phone booths are built into the structure of the space itself, it is unlikely you will be able to opt for this route if your space is already built out.

However, if you already have an underutilized closet or den, then it’s a great way to create additional profit (and value) in your space.

DIY phone booth

Many operators have opted to build their own phone booths using a wide variety of do-it-yourself tactics. These DIY phone booths are typically made using a combination of materials from a home supply store, and they are able to stand on their own in a variety of spaces.

This is a good idea if:

  • You are on a tight budget
  • You have a small space with limited room
  • You have the resources to create a phone booth in-house
  • Your space is already built out 

The DIY phone booth is the most affordable and practical solution for most operators. They allow for lots of creativity and flexibility in your space design. 

However, they can also be quite the project to take on. Consider your resources before committing to creating your own phone booth.

Phone booth “pod”

Coworking Phone Booth Pod

Phone booth pods are a trendy addition to the coworking design world. These types of booths have exploded in popularity in recent years because of their beautiful design and overall aesthetics.

These external pods are typically around 15 sq ft and include a chair, built-in desk, and glass door. They boast a large number of amenities including:

  • Sound insulation and soundproof
  • Power outlets and external port
  • Motion sensing
  • Strong ventilation system

They claim a 40% reduction in congested meeting room space and are a great, stylish option for anyone who is looking for an external phone booth with minimum space.

It is important to note however that these pods are an investment. They start around $ 5,000 USD on the lower end and increase sharply depending on the size and style of the pod. 

However, if you have the budget for it and you’re looking for ways to elevate your brand, then this may be a good option for you to consider.

How to prevent coworking phone booth abuse

One challenge that you may come up against is phone booth abuse. It is one of the most common complaints that we hear from coworking and flex space owners when it comes to managing access to their phone rooms.

Here are some of the best ways we’ve heard to mitigate the problem of abusing phone booths.

Make it a bookable resource

If you’re worried about people taking advantage of your phone rooms, then make it a bookable resource. This would require a member to book a time in the phone booth, just as they would with a meeting room or desk.

While it is nice to have phone booths available ad hoc, most operators find requiring members to book it can help make it easier to manage. Consider setting up an automated resource booking system to make this experience as seamless as possible, maybe one that has a QR code that you can place in the phone booth for users to be able to scan and quickly book.

Create a time limit

Phone booths are intended to be for quick calls or meetings throughout the day. Consider creating a time limit for your phone booths to encourage this behavior.

  • If the phone booth is first come first served, then have clear signs stating the maximum allowable time per person per day
  • If the phone booth can be booked automatically through a coworking app, then limit the length of time which someone can make a booking, and maybe also set how long they have to wait (i.e. 24 hours) before they can book it again

Having a time limit and clearly stating it from the beginning can help you to avoid awkward conversations with people overstaying their limit. This brings us to our next point.

Set expectations early

Create Coworking House Rules

It’s important to set expectations for your phone booths early from the beginning, regardless of how you choose to manage them.

Setting house rules around the use of popular resources during member onboarding can save you a lot of headaches in managing phone booth misuse.

You can also print and post friendly reminders around the space as to how people should be using the phone booth. This can help remind your long-standing members of the rules in your space.

Charge extra for going over time

Charging for overuse can be uncomfortable for some operators, especially if they have a community-first space. However, it is a firm but the fair rule that can serve as a gentle push to prevent people from misusing your space.

Overuse charges are best served when they are:

  • Communicated from the beginning
  • Included in the contract
  • Enforced consistently

That way, members will be less likely to feel as if they are being treated unfairly, as your house rules will clearly state what happens if people misuse your resources.

Manage access using a door access control system

Unlock Your Doors with Optix using Kisi Integration

Many operators find a lot of success in managing their space through an automated access control system like Kisi

This system can allow you to control who has access to which resource and when, so members are only given access to the space at their scheduled time.

If you are managing your space using coworking software like Optix, then you can integrate it with your door access control system and seamlessly control who can access your phone booth and when based on when they booked it.

Note that this solution only works for those booths that have your access control system installed on them. Learn more about Optix access control integrations here.

Phone booths are essential in every modern coworking space

Today, every coworking space requires a comfortable mix of open and quiet spaces in order to attract the ideal audience. Whether you’re new to coworking or are a seasoned pro, it’s highly recommended that you consider adding a phone booth (or two) to your arsenal of offerings.

In doing so, you can better serve your members and provide an outstanding user experience to those in your space. 

Learn more about Optix’s Resource Booking functionality and get a free demo today.