VARIABLES TO CONSIDER BEFORE CREATING A COWORKING BUSINESS PLAN
For companies who manage and own traditional office space, adding a coworking environment to their project is an opportunity to take advantage of a fast-growing unique segment of office leasing and create expansion opportunities into your traditional office space.
If you are thinking of adding a coworking environment to your property, here are some key elements to consider:
SELECTING THE RIGHT COWORKING CONCEPT & OPERATOR IS ESSENTIAL
Understanding the different coworking options is critical to your success. Understanding your goals for your coworking environment are also important. But the most critical aspect for adding a successful coworking environment to your project is selecting the right operator.
COWORKING ENVIRONMENTS ARE NOT ALL THE SAME
Coworking can vary based on whether your project is urban or suburban. Access to amenities for members is vital for members and whether landlords must create those amenities or members can readily access amenities is an important consideration and can significantly affect construction cost.
Will your environment be 100% coworking, an open plan, or will it also provide private office options? Will conference and meeting rooms just be available to the coworking community or to the entire building?
SELECTING THE OPERATOR – TENANT OR PARTNER
Selecting an operator is critical to your success. As the building owner are you looking for just a tenant who will master lease the space and create a coworking environment, a manager to run a coworking environment you create and own, or are you looking for a joint venture partner to share the risk and reward with. Some of the answers to these questions will likely be based on the goals you determine for your coworking environment.
SPACE DESIGN FOCUSED ON FLEXIBILITY & COLLABORATION
Glass walls allow for employees to work without feeling that sense of isolation that can come with closed off conference rooms and offices. This type of design feature also allows for more natural light to stream into the office, which can help employees stay alert and appreciate nature. According recent study by Wix and Officevibe, 70% of people working in a coworking environment reported they felt healthier than they did working in a traditional office environment. The study showed employees who felt healthier and happier, felt an increase in their collaboration and productivity.
With the proper design and lay out a coworking environment a coworking space can draw people together and naturally create collaborative opportunities.
PROVIDING FIRST CLASS TECHNOLOGY
For any business, presentations and meetings are big part of making connections. Your coworking space should be equipped with best in class technology that allows members to host conference calls with video capability and the option to display slideshows during meetings. Establishing a system in which members can reserve the conference rooms will reduce potential friction and allow the operator to track usage particularly if the space is available for rent to non-members.
Building owners should also strongly consider utilizing one of the many applications for handling back operation operations designed for flex space and coworking environments.
CREATING COMMUNITY THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE BUILDING
A coworking environment should establish a community. Many building owners have taken adding a coworking environment as an opportunity to create a community throughout the entire building. Your coworking space can feature collaborative tools like Slack, a communication software that allows people to instant message members while not clogging up business email accounts. These types of channels can also make members and tenants aware of building activities which help bring together tenants and members in the project.
COWORKING ENVIRONMENTS VALUE TO THE PROPERTY
The office market is competitive, and you must be on the leading edge to maintain and create value by transforming space into a modern coworking environment. Many commercial real estate investment brokers believe you can increase the value of the property and attract more sophisticated tenants and potential purchasers by doing so. According to a recent JLL report, the flexible/coworking sector has emerged as the key growth driver within the office market and has been growing at an average annual rate of 23 percent annually since 2010.