- When first starting your coworking business, you should focus on introducing technology that supports the most time-intensive or complex tasks
- The essential tech pieces for new coworking operators are accounting software, a payment gateway, coworking management software, and a door access control system
- You’ll also want to consider adding WiFi management, print management, electronic document signing, and conference room technology to your tech stack
The modern coworking space needs technology.
Operating a coworking space requires you to manage a lot of moving parts, from payments and bookings to marketing to prospective members.
All of this can be made easier with the help of a well thought out tech stack.
In this blog, we’ll outline exactly which coworking technology you need in your space to ensure you deliver the best possible member experience without drowning in manual work.
How to Choose the Right Technology for your Coworking Space
Time is extremely valuable for new operators and managers.
When first starting your coworking business, you should focus on introducing technology that supports the most time-intensive or complex tasks.
Typically, we see new spaces focusing their technology investments on:
- Member management
- Invoicing and payments
At this early stage, you should seek out solutions that can scale with your business while remaining cautious of over-engineering your system.
Overcomplicating your technology ecosystem can lead to overspending.
Essential Technology For New Coworking Spaces
Once you identify your most time-intensive tasks, you’ll be able to choose technology for your coworking space that optimizes your operations and efficiently delivers the best possible experience for your members.
Here are the four tech systems we recommend if you’re just starting a coworking space.
1. Accounting Software 📈
Data collection and number crunching can be tedious task.
Accounting software is an online, cloud-based program that helps small businesses automate complex financial responsibilities.
This can include:
- Logging expenses
- Tracking cash flow
- Creating invoices
- Managing bills and payroll
- Forecasting finances
- Calculating taxes
As you review your options, make sure you take into account your space’s specific needs.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to what your space needs most.
Optix coworking software integrates directly with Xero and Quickbooks. Find all of our integrations here.
2. Payment Gateway 💰
If you want to accept credit card and bank account payments, then you need a payment gateway.
A payment gateway takes payment information from your members, facilitates transactions and disperses the money to your bank account.
Here are four things to think about as you consider your options:
- Some gateways provide both physical Point-of-Sale devices and online payments collection (known as virtual terminals). Consider which you will need/want in your space
- Some gateways offer the benefit of developer tools, so you can customize them to your needs. Consider how much you need to customize your gateway
- Consider how your payment gateway will integrate with your coworking management software
- Consider the fees associated with each payment gateway and how that will affect your business
3. Coworking Management Software 📲
Implementing a powerful coworking management software in your space is not just recommended, it’s necessary.
Member management software, also known as coworking software, can help you manage your day-to-day operations, measure the use of your space, and grow your business over time.
This include taking care of things like:
- Resource bookings
- Invoicing and payments
- Issue reporting
- Community management
Coworking software helps you and your team automate the mundane day-to-day tasks of running a coworking business and helps you engage your community.
That way, you’ll have more time to focus on nurturing your community and ensuring you’re providing a top-notch experience for your customers.
Learn more about Optix coworking management software and how it can transform your space.
4. Door Access Control 🔓
Most coworking space members value flexibility and may work on atypical schedules.
Using a door access control system in your coworking space can:
- Improve security
- Automate check-ins
- Enhance the user experience
- Open your space up for 24/7 access
As the administrator of the space, you can easily configure who has access when and to which doors, as well as monitor overall activity.
Your coworking management software may also integrate with an access control system, creating a perfectly streamlined experience for your members.
Optix has a direct integration with Kisi that allows members to open doors with a white-labeled coworking app. Check out this article to learn more.
Technology for Coworking Spaces to Improve Efficiency
As your community grows, you may want to consider implementing technology to support other aspects of your operations.
At this stage, we recommend talking to your staff to identify their key pain points and understand which tasks are the most time intensive (and costly!). Then administer a coworking member survey to see if there are parts of the member experience that could be improved.
These are the four key areas where we see coworking spaces making technology investments.
1. WiFi Management
In today’s digital-first world, providing fast, reliable, easy-to-access WiFi is non-negotiable.
WiFi management software helps ensure you deliver both by allowing you to control WiFi access while boosting your members’ browsing experience.
Beyond just providing WiFi connectivity, WiFi management software offers a multitude of value-added features including:
- Create custom-branded WiFi login pages to maximize brand recognition
- Control sessions, which allows you to set bandwidth and time limits for users
- Blacklisting, giving you the ability to ban any unwanted users from your network
- Automating check-ins by integrating with your coworking software
Using WiFi management in your space can improve your overall internet security and speed up your WiFi for those that matter – your actual members.
Optix has a direct integration with IronWiFi to help improve WiFi and internet security in your space. Check out this article to learn more.
2. Print Management
Offering members the ability to print is a crucial component of any coworking membership.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as just setting up printers. As your community grows, it gets more complicated to control who’s printing and how much.
As a result, your supply costs mount and the printer backlog increases, because someone’s printing 100-page documents single-sided for free.
- Manage your printers and control their usage
- Set quotas, rules and cost
- Set automated error alerts to admins when printing issues occur
- See usage reporting and environmental impact data
Some also allow printing from any device, including mobile, so you can make the process even easier for members.
It’s a given that your space will have printing capabilities. Print management software will help make sure everything is operating as efficiently as possible.
Learn more about how Optix integrates with print management system, ezeep, in this article.
3. Electronic Document Signing
A frictionless member sign-up and onboarding process is essential to support healthy conversion and retention rates. The easier it is for new members to sign up, the more likely it is they’ll do it.
Electronic signature software enables you to prepare contracts that prospects can sign online and send back.
No printing, photo-copying, scanning or in-person interaction required. As a result, they can make a decision to join and get set up, with very little effort on their part.
To help you start your search, here are a few of the top solutions out there:
- Adobe Sign
Similar to the other technologies we recommend, there are great bonus features to keep top of mind including customization, detailed analytics, and notifications when documents have been opened or signed.
Optix integrates with electronic document signing technology via Zapier. Learn more about our integrations here.
4. Conference Room Technology
Helping your members connect with clients and colleagues is another great way to add value.
Conference room technology, such as video calling and real-time collaboration tools, help you do this. Two that we often see in coworking spaces are:
- Google Jamboard: links users on an interactive, whiteboard-style canvas, so they can brainstorm and sketch out ideas together
- The Meeting Owl: video conferencing system that enables 360° video and audio, so that meeting participants can feel like they’re in the same room
The options out there are almost endless. The key to ensuring you choose the right ones is simple – ask your members what they need.
What are their biggest communication pain points working remotely? Are there any collaboration tools they’d like to have? Once you know that, you can introduce solutions that serve their needs.
Optix integrates with conference room technology via Zapier. Learn more about our integrations here.
Bringing all of your Coworking Technology Together
Once you have the right tools in place, next you need to ensure they’re properly integrated.
Integrating your tech stack will help you get a unified system tailored to meet the specific needs of your members, your team and your business as a whole.
Most integrations are easily built into the platforms that you’re using – it’s as easy as making a single click. If not, you can always develop custom integrations using a developer platform.
Optix’s developer platform capabilities enable coworking brands to create unique services and experiences to transform your coworking space using Optix developer tools and APIs.
This enables you to create your own functionality and house it within your Optix member’s app or administrator dashboard.
Getting Started With Your Coworking Technology
There’s no shortage of software and tools catering to coworking operators on the market – space management software, access control systems, CRMs, the list goes on.
The tricky part is choosing the right ones for your needs. Faced with so many options, it can be tempting to choose an all-in-one technology solution, but these types of solutions often come with significant drawbacks for your coworking space.
Not to mention, you likely won’t need all these systems the moment you open your doors.
Start with the basics and build upwards from there. Not sure where to start? Check out the features of the Optix coworking software.