Some new studies of people that worked from home (WFH) validated why coworking is back and more relevant than ever. Here’s what that means for...
5 steps to take before you open a new coworking space
There are a lot of considerations business owners face in creating a viable space for freelance and hybrid workers. Here’s a quick guide with key steps to get started!
In communities throughout the US and all around the world, more and more coworking spaces are opening their doors. With many companies sticking to remote work or shifting to hybrid work environments, as well as many workers moving out of cities in the pandemic, this growth is for good reason. According to CNBC, before 2020, coworking spaces were the fastest-growing type of office space in commercial real estate. While they currently make up less than 5% of the market, they’re expected to make up 30% by 2030.
At Coworks, we currently work with a variety of coworking and flex workspaces in regions all over the world, and we’ve seen common challenges arise for early-stage coworking spaces. From considering the right location to making partnerships in the community, to even finding funding and the right coworking software — there are a lot of considerations business owners face in creating a viable space for freelance and hybrid workers. With that in mind, here’s a quick guide with key steps to get started on your coworking space!
1. Explore local business hubs
If you’re thinking about creating a coworking space in your community, it’s important to consider some of the different business hubs in your community. At Coworks, we’re based in Raleigh, NC, which is a hub of a variety of tech and startup communities in the region. From the Research Triangle Park based closer to Durham to the tech startups that exist throughout Raleigh, to businesses in surrounding areas like Cary, Morrisville, Garner, and Carrboro — it’s important to consider how your coworking space can best serve the community. We recommend asking yourself questions like:
- What type of businesses do I want to serve?
- Am I more interested in serving startups or hybrid corporate workers?
- Do I want to offer conference room spaces?
- What type of amenities do I want for my tenants?
- What communities are least served by coworking spaces?
- Do I want to be closer to the suburbs or the city?
Once you consider these questions and have an idea of the shape of your coworking space, you can start exploring available properties in the region. Of course, this doesn’t have to be limited to just office spaces. We recommend looking at warehouses, older commercial properties, and other spaces in your community.
The idea of adaptive reuse, or refurbishing old, industrial buildings to create coworking spaces, is something we’ve covered in our blog before, but it can be a great opportunity to create a space with character. By taking spaces filled with the history of the community and refitting it for coworking, you can create an engaging space fully suited for the community your future tenants live and work in. By researching these spaces and evaluating your needs, you can make a new coworking space that can catch the eye of hybrid workers and startups in the region.
2. Connect with Local Economic Development initiatives
As you look at the needs for your coworking space, it’s also important to evaluate what resources local economic development departments can offer. This can help with funding and ensure that your coworking space can meet the specific needs of the community. These important agencies help businesses launch and grow in the region. By researching your local economic development department and incentives, you can strengthen your business while also learning how best to serve businesses.
We recommend researching your local chamber of commerce to find information about potential initiatives. Exploring initiatives can also help you get a distinct look at the type of businesses in your community. This will allow you to target these types of businesses and learn how to build services in their favor.
3. Reach out to your local coworking community
As a coworking business, it’s paramount that you reach out to local coworking alliances and communities to make sure you’re meeting your future tenants needs. We recommend looking for coworking and business alliances in your area to truly collaborate to make a business that fully serves startups, contractors, and local businesses seeking coworking spaces.
In addition, it’s also a good idea to reach out to local startup incubators and other local business organizations. Since the events of 2020, there have been more and more workers now with hybrid or fully remote setups, so there may be communities of workers beyond the local coworking alliance you might want to reach.
In particular, the City of Raleigh has a directory of several business alliances throughout Raleigh and surrounding areas. Beyond that, posting in local business Facebook groups or Subreddits can also help you get more of a temperature of the coworking community you want to work in. By doing this research, you’ll be able to not only learn more about the coworking culture, but find potential leads for tenants in the future.
4. Research coworking software
Beyond planning out the types of businesses you’ll serve and your specific venue needs, it’s important to have the software that can support all of your tenants. From booking rooms to handling check-ins and renting equipment, to streamlining staffing at your locations— you need software that can support it all. That’s why we recommend researching what software and what type of workflow you need to fully support your coworking space.
At Coworks, our software empowers coworking space owners and operators through automation, analytics, and communication to optimize their business and enhance the community experience. With specially designed software for flex workspace, our clients can handle member directories, billing, events, leads, booking, tour requests, multiple campuses, and more— all in one place. No matter what software you end up using or what integrations you add to software, by evaluating what it is you need, you can make sure your coworking space runs smoothly.
5. Stay on top of industry trends
Finally, as a future coworking space business owner, it’s recommended to keep an eye on industry trends by subscribing to top coworking blogs. At Coworks, we like keeping an eye on some local coworking blogs, as well as national publications. In addition, on our blog, we like to share some upcoming trends and the key insights we’ve learned working with coworking organizations every day.
Subscribing to these blogs will help you understand current coworking culture and also keep you abreast on the types of technologies to invest in. We also recommend subscribing to different coworking spaces and organizations on social media to get an idea of the industry. Local subreddits, Facebook groups, and other sites might also provide insight on some of the current trends and how people in your community currently work. Keeping an eye on all of these trends will only make you a savvier business owner and able to provide your coworking tenants with the best possible service.
Need help starting your coworking space?
Of course, this was just a quick overview of some of the key steps you should try before you start working on your coworking space. Whether you already have your own space or are planning to start one in your community, each of these steps are crucial to help you build and sustain a stronger business. That said, there’s only so much research you can do alone. For that reason, we recommend partnering with coworking experts and coworking technology to make sure you can provide the best possible services for your tenants.
If you’re interested in finding a technology partner for your space, we’d be happy to help! Our mission at Coworks is to empower coworking space owners and operators, through automation, analytics, and communication to optimize their business and enhance the community experience, so they see growth in their space.
We strive to make coworking more accessible and more efficient for all and to be the driving force and brand for the future of work. Coworks is not just a software platform, it is the engine behind a shift in the workplace, a shift in culture. We are building a community and redefining the workplace and employee of tomorrow with an attention to detail and a focus on innovation.