As we two-step toward something approaching normal life in your coworking space, let’s take a minute to re-center on your members—and what they want.
As a longtime coworking member of numerous spaces, I have some thoughts on the topic.
Not all members are coworking ambassadors like me, not all of them care as much about community and connection as I do, and not all of them are joiners like me. But we do overlap on a lot of things.
As you prepare for the workspace wave, here are 25+ things members want from your coworking space.
1. Reliable wifi: Slow, spotty wifi in a coworking space is a total fail. It will cause people to leave faster than you can get your homepage to load.
2. Good coffee: Invest in some locally roasted, really good coffee. It makes a huge difference and is more of a selling point than you might think.
3. Nail the creamer game: I know, it’s a pain (and expense) to have all the creamers your members want, but if they have to leave to get coffee, they’re probably not going to stick around for long.
Pro Tip: Don’t run out of creamer. No member wants to start their Monday morning with coffee made with their third choice of creamer. There’s no reason to run out and your members—whether they say anything or not—are super annoyed when you do.
4. Connection: We’ve all just spent a year and a half isolated and we can’t wait to get back into shared spaces where connection is an all-day-every-day thing. Facilitate connection in your space whenever and wherever possible.
5. Belonging: Members want to have a sense of belonging in a coworking space. We want to feel and know that this is our space. We spend five days a week hanging out in our home space. Make sure it feels like a home away from home.
6. Professional development: Coworking spaces are full of freelancers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, remote workers, startups. Those of us who strike out on our own are always on the lookout to level up our skills, knowledge and understanding. How can you facilitate deeper professional development among your members?
7. Professional connections: One of my favorite things about coworking is the variety of professionals it attracts. Having a photographer, attorney, designer, financial advisor and programmer all working at a table is a catalyst for gamechanging professional connections.
8. Comfortable chairs: We’re going to be in these chairs for many, many hours each week. Make sure our backs and necks are happy and healthy with ergonomically correct chairs.
9. Variety of work areas: You need traditional desks, shared community tables, soft seating such as couches and comfy chairs, standing desks, treadmill and bike desks and any number of other workstations. Members love options.
10. Quiet zones: Sometimes we need to go heads-down. Make sure you have designated quiet zones that allow for deep work.
11. Clear norms around phone use: Whether you allow phone calls in the community areas or not is your choice. However, it’s vitally important that you define and communicate those norms to your community. Sales or recruiting calls in a common space can be ambient noise in one type of space, and a dealbreaker in another. Know which one you are.
12. A clean fridge: Clean your fridge out regularly. This one is super unsexy…but necessary. Don’t let your fridge get funky. Full stop.
13. Phone booths: Even if you allow calls in your common areas, you still need phone booths. Members occasionally need privacy and quiet that you just can’t find in open areas.
14. Sound proof booths or rooms: Your members really want to start a podcast, create videos, take calls and do interviews in your space. If you don’t have a soundproof booth or room they can do so in, you force them back home—or to another space.
15. Easy entrance: Don’t make getting into the space a barrier for your members. There are all kinds of apps, tools, fobs, swipes etc. you can use.
16. After hours access: My coworking time generally falls between the hours of 8am and 6pm, but people work all kinds of hours. Accommodate nontraditional schedules, weekend creators, sidegiggers and night owls with 24/7 access options.
17. Convenient location: You want to be near your ideal members. You also want to be in a convenient location for your members’ clients and collaborators.
18. Restroom amenities: good soap, paper towels, tampons and pads are a given. Take things to the next level by providing facial spray, mints, hair ties, dry shampoo, lotion etc. Does this seem overboard? It’s a brilliant way to differentiate, serve members and wow visitors.
19. Parking: No one wants to circle looking for a spot, or have to go feed a meter, or move their car every two hours.
20. Professional-yet-human vibe: Your members are going to spend a lot of time in your space. Hit a tone that is professional…and also human. The goal is to create a space people look forward to coming to each day.
21. No fuss printing: I get it, printers are the bane of your existence. And when they’re not working properly, they’re the bane of your members’ existence as well. And that’s not to mention updates, drivers, maintenance etc. There are a growing number of options for easy, no-fuss printing options. Find one that works for you.
22. Mail services: Providing your members with full mail services is a strong differentiator and a good way to help them level up with a business address, mail collection and delivery, package acceptance, mail scanning and more. We recommend our Coworking Convos supporter Anytime Mailbox. Tell them we sent you.
23. Non-alcoholic beverages: Some of your members are sober. Sparking water is great, but we really appreciate it when you put in the effort to provide something beyond Pellegrino.
24. Lightweight ways to connect: Not everyone can stay after hours for a happy hour, party or networking event. Create easy, lightweight ways for people to meet and make connections.
25. Support to grow and evolve: One of the hidden strengths of coworking is that, when done well, it creates a professional ecosystem and environment for members to grow and evolve—their business, their professional life, and their personal lives. It’s a lofty vision, but coworking has the potential to better our lives on every level. Make sure you’re supporting your members in every way possible toward this vision.
26. Flexibility: Life happens. All the time. Soccer games, doctor appointments, sick days, weddings, car repairs, mid-afternoon hikes. Flexibility is at the heart of the work from home and remote work trends. For some of us, flexibility is the biggest selling point for coworking. Make sure your space contributes to a flexible lifestyle, in ways small and large.
27. Purpose: People want purpose in their lives and work. No one wants to feel like they’re adrift in their life, chained to work that does nothing more than pay the bills. Coworking is a brilliant way to bring more purpose and intention to work. Most coworking spaces are full of people living a life of their design, digging deeper into their best self, and finding purpose in their days. Surface this in your messaging, community and self.
28. Community: I’ve saved my favorite for last. Most of your members want community—whether they consciously know it or not. We are wired for connection. Yes, your members need fast, reliable wifi and ergonomically correct chairs, but they can find these elsewhere—including their home. What they can’t find anywhere else is the community of mutually-supportive, generous, smart and savvy entrepreneurs, freelancers, business owners and remote workers who gravitate to coworking. A strong community is the intangible that money can’t buy and data can’t pin down. But it is the heart and soul of your work. Proceed accordingly.
What have I missed? Drop me a message on LinkedIn and let me know what I should add.
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