Design tips for an effective co-working space
Are you looking to maximise profits in your co-working space? Read on to learn the top co-working space design tips to maximise profits. The first official coworking space opened in San Francisco in 2005. Since then, anyone who owns, operates, or works in one of these spaces has been trying to figure out how to maximise them for productivity and profit.According to Deskmag, 42% of coworking spaces make a profit. But that number jumps dramatically when a space adds members. 80% of coworking spaces with 200 members or more are profitable.For owners of coworking spaces, this begs a couple of questions. How do you get people into your space? And once you get them in, how do you keep them there as happy and productive members? Co-working space design may be part of the answer. It's no secret that an office's design correlates to the productivity of the workers in that office, and designing a coworking space is a lot different than designing a home office.So what are the elements of a highly productive and profitable coworking space? The 10 design tips that follow can point you in the right direction. Read on to find out how you can use design to set your coworking space apart.Co-Working Space Design for the Profit-Minded. There's no magic formula for designing the perfect coworking space. So much of this process is about experimentation. You put in place a variety of elements designed to give freedom and focus to your members. Then you pay attention to the results, and you make adjustments.But you have to begin somewhere, and we think these 10 tips are great starting points. Take a look, and don't be afraid to steal any ideas you think can work for your space.
1. Incorporate Lots of Nooks and Crannies. One of the benefits of a coworking space is the freedom from a traditional office. Your members don't have to stay in one place, so why not create a cornucopia of places to entice them?Different spaces create different vibes. You may want to design a row of private offices or meeting rooms for members who have more traditional needs. And you may want to create banks of computers for tech-heavy members who need them.But don't overlook the solitary workers who like to roam. They may not form the majority of your membership, but their ability to fit their work into small spaces can be essential for you maximising your space.Create nooks with nontraditional seating, like bean bags, chaise lounges, or Papasan chairs. Illuminate dark corners with little lamps. When one of these roaming members finds one of these spots, it can fire their creativity and free up space in the larger areas for other members
2. Go Clean, Sleek, and ModernYou're not going to find many ornate or baroque co-working spaces. This thoroughly modern phenomenon is all about functionality. But that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice beauty in your space.Here are the hallmarks of clean and modern design:Long, straight, unbroken linesNeutral and muted colours, including whites, greys, blacks, browns, and bluesShiny, high-quality, metallic fixtures, especially chrome. By including these elements in the design of your co-working space, you free the minds of your members from distraction. Instead of looking at a lot of other elements, their brains can settle down and focus on their work. And focus equals productivity.
3. Draw Inspiration From Unlikely Sources. It will be impossible to follow all of these suggestions at once since some of them conflict directly. We wouldn't say this tip is in direct conflict with the last one, but it does signify a change of aesthetic. Instead of removing all distractions, here we suggest you decorate tastefully based on the spaces that inspire you.These spaces don't have to be other offices. In fact, they shouldn't be. Some of the most inspiring spaces aren't designed explicitly for office work. These include pubs, breweries, coffee shops, music venues, restaurants, and even places of worship.Want a high ceiling like that quiet chapel you visited in college? Want to give your members the feeling that they are working casually at a hip little coffee shop? You can do just that by making note of the design elements these spaces have that inspire you.Talk to your designer about these elements, and see how you can incorporate them into a space that functions as you want it to.
4. Create Social Spaces. We mentioned meeting rooms earlier. That's only part of what we mean here.One of the benefits of working in a co-working space is the opportunity for cross-pollination. Ideas get combined and reconfigured. Companies form unlikely partnerships to bring some new product into the world that no one has seen before.To make these things happen, you need open spaces to catalyse social interactions. Break rooms and kitchens can work well, but we suggest going even further.Look for areas of your space that can function explicitly as "breakout spaces" to host brainstorming sessions and socialising, either spontaneous or planned. These spaces may seem amorphous, but they can do wonders for the productivity of your office as a whole.
5. Mix and Match. Here, we look at the big picture. Instead of suggesting a specific decoration style or type of space, this suggestion involves thinking about how the elements of your space fit together.It's unlikely you have just one purpose for your co-working space. If you did, it would just be a traditional office. With this in mind, it's important to build a multipurpose space that serves the multiple purposes of the members inside it.This means juxtaposing the breakout spaces we talked about above with traditional, private offices. It means considering where those nooks and crannies make the most sense. And it means thinking about the way spaces flow into and out of each other. You can use different design styles, as long as they are complementary.With some careful forethought, you can have a co-working space that fills up quickly by creating areas for professional of various types.
6. Place Break Areas Wisely. This suggestion is an extension of the last. If your co-working space doesn't include kitchens, break areas, and even a lounge or two, it's not going to last long.These areas are essential because they break up a space. They give members places to recharge. And they can even serve multiple purposes as alternate spaces for work, which is one of the benefits of modern office design.Know the amenities you want to have available to your members. Is coffee a focus? Do you want to include lots of refrigerator space for those who pack their lunches? Or do you simply want large areas with comfortable seats that can encourage members to stretch out on their breaks?These are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself when considering how to structure the break areas in your space.
7. Choose Tasteful ArtArt can tell a person a lot about a space. Unfortunately, this often works against the owner of a building when the art they choose for the walls is generic and bland. This communicates disinterest to members and employees, and in turn, they become unmotivated to return to the space.On the flip side, there is such a thing as going overboard when it comes to art. But one person's "overboard" may be another person's just right. As with many of these tips, this is not a one-size-fits-all suggestion.So how do you choose the art you want decorating your coworking space? To start, do you have strong preferences yourself? Do you have a taste for the art you would like to be surrounded by when you enter the space?If the answer to these questions is "no," you can consult the members you want to attract. Perhaps you have a few key influencers whose opinions and tastes you trust in these matters. Perhaps you want to go even broader and crowd source suggestions for the office's art.Here's another unique idea if you're looking to steer clear of the generic. Hire a local artist you trust and whose work you like to collaborate with you on the space. Tell them the spaces that can serve as their canvas, and allow their creativity to run wild. This creativity will bleed through into the work your members do, and soon, you'll find yourself with a coworking space that buzzes with ideas and productivity.
8. Don't Forget AcousticsConsult any guide to working successfully in a coworking space, and inevitably, you'll see the strong recommendation to obtain sturdy and powerful headphones. Headphones can be an effective way to create individual space in an open plan office.But here's where you can set yourself apart. You can preempt these concerns by making sure your designers take the acoustics of the space into account specifically, whether you're renovating your space or designing one from scratch.An efficient coworking space is not too loud, but it isn't composed only of library-quiet places either. It has a few areas for socialisation, as we've discussed, and it has some work areas that hum along like the sound of a beehive of productivity in the background. Design your space by specifically taking all of these factors into account. Know how to separate the louder zones of your space from the quieter ones. Know which relatively noisy areas can be mitigated with doors and corners and which may require a few soundproof construction materials.By constructing a space that acoustically fits the needs of its members, you can keep people from using headphones unless they just prefer to do so.
9. Make Use of Natural Light. Few elements of an office impact a worker's psychology more than its lights.Coworking spaces are an attractive option for today's workers because they provide an alternative to the harsh, neon tube lighting and lack of windows of so many offices. You should know this and capitalise on it by providing as much access to natural light as you can. We hesitate to say any of these tips are hard and fast rules, but if any one of them is, it's this one.Access to windows isn't only about light either. It's about keeping your members close to nature. This may seem trivial, but there is evidence that suggests proximity to natural elements increases productivity by 15%.Why settle for a few measly office plants when you can create a campus that gives members direct contact with the outside world?
10. Add Some Quirk. Here is where we directly contradict our suggestion to go clean and modern. Your mileage with this last tip will vary based on your taste.If one of the most important values of your coworking space is creativity, choosing an offbeat, quirky design aesthetic can provide just the spark that your space needs. Bright colours, funky patterns, and even textural elements can fire the imaginations of your members as well as any art. There are many opportunities to add personality to the decoration of your space. Consider painting the steps. Think about fixtures and smaller areas like the restrooms. These tiny touches can give your coworking space the flair you want without sacrificing the productivity that can make your space profitable.Turning Personality Into ProfitThere are nearly as many ways to design a coworking space as there are coworking spaces. And there's no right way to put co-working space design principles into practice. These 10 tips are merely suggestions.What's important is that you define your priorities in a coworking space. These values that come directly from your personality will attract members who share them. Once you energise these members, you'll be a magnet for more members. And a growing membership translates quickly into profit.
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