Just as much as it can lead to a positive impact on your members, the design of a shared space can easily hinder productivity and success. Even if all the other pieces for a healthy, profitable space are in place – reliable internet, great technological infrastructure, high retention rate – a poorly designed coworking space can deter optimal functionality, create a poor environment that drains productivity, as well as lead to a perceived lack of personality. To help avoid several key shared workspace design fails, here are a few tips to consider.
Functionality Design Fails to Avoid
Coworking attempts to foster community and collaboration. Within these spaces, and shared workspaces in general, you must provide for three distinct areas: open space, dedicated desks, and private offices. With research and understanding of your market as well as your existing members, you can find the right ratio and density to provide for this. This balance, however, is not enough. Some common mistakes include:
- “Benching” the entire open area by having long desks for everyone to share. This creates a feeling of blandness in the office and hurts overall productivity. Workers also tend to have issues communicating with one another given the “fishbowl” kind of atmosphere.
- Not envisioning the flow of an open space. If you make the shared areas feel cramped, it can drastically impact the experience as well as member morale. This can also create connectivity issues with the Wi-Fi access points as well as fire safety concerns in the event of an evacuation.
- Not having access to hardwired internet for specific companies that need it for reliability, bandwidth, and security concerns. For more information on ensuring the best connectivity for your members please check out our ebook, Connecting Your Coworking: Cable vs. Wifi.
Studies have shown that people judge their physical environment within the first twenty seconds after using it.
Some of the factors that are immediately involved in this process include having a building that is good standing condition, ample parking for members, and tenant-designed improvements. These signs help establish the idea that your space is modernized from the very foundation, has great accessibility for members, and is a place that values the input of its members.
Another overlooked aspect that could lead to major design fails is in the infrastructure and layout. The space must be able to absorb sound and balance the energy. You will have members who prefer quiet, others who prefer listening to music, and others who work in teams. Therefore, design should be focused more on dispersing sound rather than absorbing it, as the latter will tend to bottle up noise and create loud and intrusive echoes.
You can tell from the get-go as to whether the space inspires you or not. For instance, in the example of benching, you’ll find that it adds a dullness factor that shows your space may not be willing to be different or unique.
Your space should reflect your values, the culture of your members, and all things that embrace the unique philosophy and mission of your brand. Studies show that failing to make an aesthetic connection with your members can lead to low morale and your members feeling less inspired.
Attempt to enlist the help of coworking design experts as well as local community members for a personal touch. Your space will stand out as inclusive as well as locally relevant. It’s important that prospects who tour your space aren’t left with the impression that this location isn’t evolving along with the modernness of coworking as a whole, or worse, that you as an operator won’t evolve in the future either. It’s important to show them what your space believes in and how much it values the input of your members. Highlight these influences in any tour.
Be yourself. One of the most rewarding aspects of the coworking boom is how different individual spaces can look and feel, yet still maintain high levels of effectiveness. Even within the same brand, multiple locations within the same city can take on uniqueness from one another. Show members and prospects that your space is the vision of many knowledgeable and creative minds. Provide members with a space that looks like something they’ll actually want to be a part of. Don’t let your design hinder the functionality of your members and, likewise, don’t let the environment dictate what you can and cannot provide for your members.
For more help on how Yardi Kube can optimize your workspace for the best results, please click the link below.