Starting a coworking space isn’t as simple as opening up an office and telling everyone to get work.
The function of a coworking space, at its core, is to bring out everyone’s best side. You want to make sure your employees are feeling confident that their needs are being met. As a business, you’re eager to cut on costs without sacrificing quality.
With the pandemic putting traditional work environments into a tailspin, you’re not in a position to fly by the seat of your pants. Here’s why you need a business plan checklist for your coworking space.
What Does Coworking Look Like in the Pandemic?
What felt normal in 2019 was thrown completely out the window in 2020. Instead of hoping 2021 and onward will blow over, take a look at the facts.
The coworking industry’s growth rate was projected to drop by over a billion between 2019 and 2020. It’s expected to pick up again in 2023, but that’s only if the pandemic consistently slows down. That means little to no social distancing measures and improved public perception of shared spaces.
People today are rightfully concerned about the health risks of sharing a space. They’re also heavily favoring remote work options and hybrid work models. Having a coworking business plan checklist is more than basic preparation: a plan hones in on common pitfalls that could undermine all your hard work.
“The idea behind coworking is to provide a proper office space to those whose business models aren’t optimal for renting out an entire floor of office space. It also provides affordable office space for freelancers and digital nomads who would otherwise work from home, a place where many struggle with productivity or isolation.”
First Step: Ask Why You Want a Coworking Space
Before you start a coworking space, ask yourself: what benefits does it provide the business? If you can’t answer this step, you won’t be able to implement the next step.
Do you have employees who are struggling with the remote work model? Is your business locally-based and in dire need of an easier commute? There’s no need to fit a square peg into a round hole here: if a coworking space isn’t needed, don’t do it.
If you do need the benefit of face-to-face communication and close proximity, then it’s time to take your coworking space to the next level. Pinpoint common issues with traditional office environments and find alternatives to make all parties happier.
Speaking of which…
Second Step: Find Alternatives to Classic Office Spaces
Social distancing. Hybrid work. Telecommuting. While these elements seem overwhelming, they’re actually prime opportunities to get the most out of your work environment.
Businesses today are worried about the costs of maintaining offices that are barely in use anymore. New York City, for example, saw office vacancy rates increasing by more than 11%. Serviced office spaces are one such alternative to the traditional office you should consider moving forward.
Some of the benefits serviced office spaces provide include (but aren’t limited to):
Several Lease Options for Businesses
When you need to pivot your business on a dime, traditional year-long leases don’t cut it. Serviced office spaces ensure you only stay as long as you need to: no more and no less.
Flexible Locations Across the Country
What if you need to work with clients in one city, but then find another city is more suitable the following year? Serviced office spaces allow you to move back-and-forth, a priceless trait in a dynamic world.
Less Oversight on Construction and Maintenance
Running a business is hard work. Anything that can take the stress off is automatically invaluable. Serviced office spaces are automatically furnished, clean, and ready-to-go.
Third Step: Prepare for COVID-19 Safety Guidelines
There’s a lot of understandably wishful thinking about the pandemic. It’s important to stay grounded in what’s happening now, rather than what you want to see in six months.
Your coworking space plan needs to be clean and well-maintained to keep your workers safe. This can look like:
- Hiring cleaning crew on a daily basis
- Implementing mask usage indoors and outdoors
- Installing hand-washing or sanitizing stations
- Seeking out more intensive ventilation systems in each room
- Offering hybrid work models
“Never have we needed out of the box, innovative thinking in such urgency as we do today. Everything suddenly changed and has left us fighting for the survival of our companies and bottom lines. Some changes are frustrating to deal with, and many are impossible; however, there is an opportunity for massive improvement.”
Step Four: Refresh Your Business Goals
While you shouldn’t get too attached to long-term goals these days, it’s still essential to have a vision. A strong vision provides the foundation for your business and keeps your eyes on the prize.
What might’ve been viable in 2019 may no longer fly this year. When’s the last time you adjusted your SMART goals and key performance indicators? Are there any niches that might benefit from your business now that you haven’t considered before?
“Even prior to the pandemic, employers were considering relocating their offices outside of the crowded cities to more suburban areas. Why? Employees would get a shorter commute and a better work-life balance, all while still being within easy reach of urban commerce and culture.”
Related: 10 Benefits of Living Close to Work
Step Five: Be Proactive and Make The Plunge
Don’t fall into the trap of overplanning to the point where you don’t act. The sooner you start getting comfortable with more flexible and safe coworking spaces, the sooner you can reap the benefits.
Now’s a great time to let your creativity fly. Employers are faced with the opportunity to create the most productive, well-maintained, and flexible working locations yet. Employees are increasingly prioritizing work-life balance and won’t be easily impressed by ‘the way things have always been done’.