3 Ways The Best Coworking Spaces Make Their Desks More Valuable
Over the last year, I’ve given talks, taken part in discussions, blogged, tweeted, visited, obsessed, re-visited and researched all about what makes a shared workspace more valuable than just a raised plank with borrowed WiFi and coffee on tap.
So since most hubs are now a tad quieter for the festive season, it’s probably a good time to share 3 of the value-propositions some of the best shared and coworking spaces get right.
I obviously don’t have all the answers, and probably never will, but that’s the pleasure of working in a sector so closely tied to the most unpredictable and inspiring groups on the planet, leaders of young businesses.
Getting ‘Personal Value’ Right
A desk that’s not being used is worth nothing. It’s actually worse, it has negative worth, as there’s costs to actually having it there. A desk being used by someone who’s passionate about changing the world in some way… well that’s a different story.
When someone works from a anywhere that isn’t right for them though, this passion fades, killing off any potential synergy of this combination. Filling a desk, just for the sake of filling it, has this effect. People get bored, become uninspired and land up burning themselves out before they even get their ideas to fruition.
This doesn’t mean that your space is unfit for anyone anywhere (except those of you trying to fill windowless basements by offering free wifi, you know who you are), it just means this particular individual may be best suited for another desk/space elsewhere. Just like someone else is probably better suited in your collective, than where they are sitting unhappily.
Focus on finding the right people for your space, or work with a company who is on the same page as you about what community you’re building. *cough*
Getting ‘Community Value’ Right
When a desk is surrounded by great people, it becomes exponentially more valuable to whomever uses it. This runs true in great teams, coworking spaces and shared offices.
It’s also a driving force behind why coworking and shared spaces are growing in popularity. By really thinking about where people will work and how/when they’ll interact, a space can become more than just a workspace.
When you get this right, a community begins to form that inspires, motivates and supports your members in a way unimaginable to just a flat-out ‘pretty-office’ play.
Focus on making sure there are spaces and ways for your members to mix in a relaxed and natural way.
Getting ‘Financial Value’ Right
As sexy as coworking and flexible workspaces are right now, there’s a lot to be said about pricing. Prices per desk or office fluctuate by post-code and other competitors’ abilities to be loss-leaders long enough to push out smaller firms.
What this means is that hubs need to find other ways to generate revenue, usually looking towards sponsorships and referral programmes. This sucks time out of running the space, or ironically means a new role must be created to manage the relationships necessary to bring in additional revenue. Yea, you probably want someone great here, which means you’ll need to spend more money on them. See the problem?
A secondary issue we’ve seen here, is this alternative revenue is not proportional to the value created for all members, as the best solution is not always the folks with the deepest pockets.
Focus on securing partnerships that do the heavy lifting for you, allowing your hub to generate additional revenue, but still keeping your attention (and ethos) on creating value for your members.
Bonus: Add ‘Altruistic Value’ Where Possible
A lot can be said for the awesome spaces who subsidize rates and memberships for those less fortunate. Others put a lot of effort into creating opportunities for under-represented demographics within the entrepreneurial landscape.
A big part of what we do allows entrepreneurs within our network to support entrepreneurship in the ecosystems that need it most, without incurring extra expense. It’s something that’s important to us, and our partner hubs, and goes a long way to create a sustainable source of altruistic value all-year-round for everyone involved.
Focus on finding ways to give your members a way to give back, be it through mentoring youngsters or elderly folks on technology or business or through joining a programme like ours; or both.
Founded included.co to enrich and connect entrepreneurial communities everywhere.